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[OPINION] - Legacies - How 'The Originals' Spin-off Can Succeed

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Please note that the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpoilerTV.

A little over a year ago we were forced to say goodbye to The Vampire Diaries. This year its spin-off, The Originals, will complete its run with the finale of its fifth season, set to air in August. Luckily for long-time fans of both shows, we don't have to cut ties with the world of vampires and werewolves quite yet. The aptly titled, Legacies, will premiere this fall and usher in a new era of supernatural creatures. The series will center around Hope Mikaelson, who now has the very important duty of carrying on the Mikaelson family drama for our entertainment.

The news of a second spin-off from the original show has been met with excitement, but there are a few skeptics who aren't sure this franchise has enough juice left to chug along for several more seasons. After all, they've been on the air for almost a decade now, is there any original stories left to tell? How can we ensure that Legacies won't become repetitive or rehash stale plotlines? I decided to compile a list of ideas that may help re-energize the franchise.

A Fresh Start

The Originals presented a fresh chapter in the Mikaelson's lives. However, it was far from an origin story for these characters we had come to know and love during their tenure on The Vampire Diaries. Claire Holt, Daniel Gillies, Phoebe Tonkin, and Joseph Morgan exited the progenitor series (where they were featured in frequent recurring or regular roles), in order to star on the spin-off. The Originals featured a change in location, plot and new peripheral characters, but the core family was one we already knew well. Legacies will not have that same luxury, at least not to the extent that The Originals did. Considering only two leads are people we're familiar with (and one, Hope, we've only gotten to know for a short time) a majority of the characters will need to be introduced and won't have an established bond with the audience. Currently, there is no confirmation on whether or not we'll see other established characters such as Bonnie Bennett (Kat Graham), Caroline Forbes (Candice King), or Jeremy Gilbert (Steven R. McQueen).

This is not necessarily a negative factor though, Legacies will start in a place similar to where Elena Gilbert's story originated almost a decade ago and we've seen how well that turned out. Plus, we have had two seasons to get to know Hope as a character - although it has mostly been in respect to her father, Klaus Mikaelson. It will be great to see how Hope develops outside of her dysfunctional familial relationships. Unlike the Mikaelson family — composed of thousand-year-old vampires with centuries of history to explore — Hope is still a young girl. We'll be able take Hope's journey alongside her, much like we did with Elena. In contrast to Elena's morality, Hope is a little morally grey, a trait she shares with her parents. Whose will she reflect more, Klaus or Hayley? I'd wager that she'll be a dangerous and compelling mixture of the two.

A Change Of Pace

The Vampire Diaries was, at its heart, a romance; The Originals, a family drama. Both shows had elements of action, horror and tragedy, but at the end of the day they were anchored by their core premises. Perhaps this third installment could integrate a lighter tone and be less heavy in terms of death and destruction, feature more levity and humor as opposed to the doom and gloom that so often followed our favorite characters in the past.

That doesn't mean Legacies needs to completely reject the tone set by its parent series, but this is the third outing, it wouldn't hurt to shake things up. These shows are proven successes and it will come with a built-in audience, so there is room for experimentation.

Hope is the first of her kind as a tri-hybrid (vampire, witch, and werewolf), there isn't any precedent for how her powers and should be written. The spin-off should focus more on her witch side and let the vampire and werewolf aspects of her nature play second fiddle for a change. The rich mythology, grown since season 1 of The Vampire Diaries, has created a certifiable playground for Plec to utilize. It would be nice to see the witches take the front lines for a change. Whenever witches have been featured in the franchise they are typically sidelined from the main action, performing spells to assist our lead characters rather than actually being in the central conflict, or they're the antagonists of the story.

Neither of the previous shows had a strong school focus (let's be honest, did anyone ever go to class during The Vampire Diaries after the first couple of seasons?) whereas Legacies main focus will be on school life, albeit supernatural school life, but school life nonetheless. We've only gotten a small taste of Hope's journey through academia in season five of The Originals before all hell broke loose and she was forced to return to New Orleans. I'm glad we're going to have the opportunity to return to Mystic Falls and see how the next generation is adapting, especially if we got to see them learning how to hone their skills (maybe a certain Gilbert hunter will reprise his role as an instructor). Not to mention that both The Originals and The Vampire Diaries had notoriously high death counts; it would be befitting to see a savvy group of teens learning from their parents mistakes and arming themselves before the danger strikes.

Establish Familiar Roots

Personally, I'm excited about seeing how the Salvatore Boarding School is going to factor into this show. It's almost like Legacies will be a supernatural version of Gossip Girl, which sounds fantastic if you ask me. Plus, it'll be a great way to pepper in easter eggs for long-time fans by having much of the show take place in the Salvatore house. Hopefully some characters from the past will pop in for guest arcs or in a recurring fashion but if not, it would be smart for Legacies to at least give fans a few winks and nods that suggest they haven't forgotten the shows history. It is likely that at least some of the characters will be the children of our favorites, having them make comments about their parents would be a welcome shout-out.

In the early seasons of The Vampire Diaries, hiding the existence of vampires, witches, and werewolves was a pivotal plot point. The Originals altered this; in New Orleans the vampires and witches were no secret and often operated out in the open. It remains to be seen which direction this outing will take but I think it should find a middle ground between the two. It wouldn't be a bad thing to emulate the season one strengths of The Vampire Diaries. The early seasons were critically praised for breakneck pacing and excellent, tight plotting. If Legacies can hone in on that but twist some of the familiar elements into something unique and fitting of the next generation of supernatural beings, it might end up becoming the CW's latest hit.

What would you like to see featured in Legacies? Is there any character from The Vampire Diaries or The Originals you really want to guest star? 

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