Confused after last night’s Vampire Diaries finale? Julie Plec has all the answers about Elena, Klaus and more! Finale spoilers ahead!

Speaking to TV Line, Julie Plec rehashes the game-changing episode which saw Alaric die, Klaus take over Tyler’s body, and in which Elena chose Stefan only to die – and then pull a Bella Swan and open her eyes in the final moments of the episode.

Plec is surprisingly candid about what that moment means, and saves us from some summer speculation when she clarifies that this is indeed the moment where Elena turns into a vampire:

[The characters are] going to try to pull out all the stops to try to prevent it when we come back, but I think the writing is on the wall as far as [Elena's] journey. [...] When [executive producer Kevin Williamson and I] signed on to this project, we did know that, at some point, we would be turning her. It really just was a matter of when. It’s definitely the next chapter in her story.

She also previews what we can expect to see Elena go through in season 4:

It changes everything for her. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be a struggle. It’s going to illuminate a lot of things about who she is, and it’s going to screw with her head and her emotions. It’s going to be tough. But the beauty of Elena is now we’ll get to see her try to rise above it and be a champion in spite of this. We’ll see how hard that is and how long it takes her to become a functioning vampire, if at all.

On the subject of season 4, Plec says that she is very excited about what doors this big development opens up:

Everything we’re talking about feels both familiar in all the right ways, of the early parts of the series, and also fresh. It feels so fresh. And yet, it’s the same people that we know and love. They’re just going through new experiences. There’s a lot we can do here. We’re really excited about it.

She also addresses Elena’s choice (Stefan) and whether remembering that she met Damon first might change her mind:

I don’t think anything is going to make her sit up and say, “Oh my God, I made the wrong decision!” and change her mind in episode 1 [of next season]. But in the ongoing journey of her point of view about how she feels about each of these brothers, it’s going to impact her feelings for Damon and her understanding of Damon.

Plec also reveals that we have not seen the last of Joseph Morgan, saying that his possession of Tyler is, “as temporary as when he was inside Alaric’s body. Desiccated Klaus is a little crispy right now, but he’s probably salvageable.”

And finally, it’s worth noting a turn of phrase that Plec used: “Both brothers continue to stand a fighting chance because we’re only halfway through the series.” This seems to indicate what we’ve already speculated, that she expects the show to go for six years.

Read the whole interview, where Julie Plec also reflects on killing off Alaric, at TV Line.