The Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted reopens its doors on Thursday (The CW, 9/8c) with the premiere of Legacies, the third installment in the Vampire Diaries franchise. It’s a return to familiar territory, but as the cast is quick to assure us, there’s plenty of fresh ground left to tread.
Legacies stars Danielle Rose Russell as Hope Mikaelson, the “tribrid” daughter of Klaus, The Vampire Diaries‘ Big Bad-turned-Big Dad, and Hayley, who sacrificed herself to save Hope’s life in the final season of The Originals. With nowhere to run, she returns to school in Mystic Falls, where a dark new mystery soon unfolds.
From a distinct shift in tone to a complete revamp (tee-hee) of its narrative structure, Legacies establishes itself as an entity separate from its predecessors, while still honoring the history upon which it was built. Below, the cast reveals more of what we can expect from the latest TVD offshoot:
1. It follows a monster-of-the-week formula. In addition to the overall story of Legacies‘ first season, each episode will have a standalone feel, which Matt Davis (aka Alaric) admits is a dramatic change of pace from the previous shows. “Sometimes it felt like The Vampire Diaries was one long episode, so we’re a lot more nimble now,” he tells TVLine. “And that becomes part of the bigger story: Why are these creatures coming to Mystic Falls? What do they want?”
2. We’ll also encounter new creatures. The aforementioned surplus of supernatural creatures flooding Mystic Falls won’t merely consist of the usual witches, werewolves and vampires, Davis confirms, saying, “We definitely break the mold and expand the universe quite significantly.”
3. There’s a lighter tone. As much as we appreciated the brooding darkness of The Vampire Diaries and the Shakespearean melodrama of The Originals, we’re intrigued by Davis’ tease that Legacies is “going to be more fun than the others. It doesn’t take things too seriously most of the time, but when it needs to, it does that very well. I suspect people are going to be delightfully surprised.”
4. Familiar faces will return, on and off screen. Two weeks after Vampire Diaries fave Matt Donovan (played by Zach Roerig) pops up in the Legacies premiere, we’ll be visited by another classic character, Steven R. McQueen’s Jeremy Gilbert. “When we last saw Jeremy, he was lending a helping hand at the boarding school,” executive producer Julie Plec reminds us. “Now he’s someone out in the field, someone Ric can rely on if things take a turn outside the walls of the school.” Paul Wesley, remembered fondly at TVD‘s Stefan, is directing Episode 11, and Plec says she’s cooking up a pitch to have him appear on camera: “I’m thinking about the Stefan Salvatore Memorial Archive, maybe a little video he left behind.”
5. Expect strong themes of inclusiveness. Legacies‘ premiere finds Alaric’s pansexual daughter Josie (played by Kaylee Bryant) feuding with her ex-girlfriend, then shifting gears and pining over the new boy in school. And it’s no big deal. “We’ve heard the coming out story,” Bryant tells TVLine. “It’s been told many times. But Josie grew up in a loving family, a loving community. When your father fights actual demons, he can’t demonize you for having a girlfriend.” Adds Plec, “There’s a fluidity and an openness to [teenagers] right now that I thought was just really beautiful and would be good to represent on the show.”
Will you be watching Legacies? Drop a comment with your thoughts below.