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Warning: This post contains spoilers from the series finale of Legacies.
The Salvatore School lives on... even if Legacies doesn't.
In the Legacies series finale, Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) was able to find closure in a message from her father, Klaus (Joseph Morgan), and embark on a new chapter at the Salvatore School with Caroline (Candice King) serving as the interim headmaster. It was a hopeful final hour that offers closure for many of its characters, but it wasn't written to be the series finale.
EW spoke with executive producer Julie Plec, who co-wrote the episode with executive producer Brett Matthews, about how they pulled together a season finale that just so happened to work beautifully as a series finale.
On writing it as a season finale
Plec says she and Matthews wrote the episode before the show was officially canceled, though they had received a call a couple months prior letting them know that the network was up for sale, and therefore the show could be ending. Regardless, they were planning for the season 4 finale to feature a fair amount of closure. "We had already talked about bringing a big chapter to a close for the end of the season because it really was the end of Hope's arc of losing and regaining her humanity," Plec says. "We'd already talked about putting a good button on all of the stories and then maybe doing a time jump, so that made it easy to lean into the idea that it felt like a farewell, because it was bringing a lot of closure to a lot of people's storylines knowing that we'd either mess with the structure of time or do a time jump."
When they got the call that season 4 would officially be the show's end, they did have to cut a scene from the finale. "We'd had a scene that would've explained where we were going and what was going to happen that we cut once we learned we were canceled just to give it a nice sense of completion," Plec says, adding, "Somebody asked me the other day, 'How's the series finale?' I said, 'It's as good as a series finale can be when the intention wasn't to say goodbye.'"
All that being said, Plec does feel that the episode works as a series ender. "I actually sent an email to everybody at the network and studio when we were sending them a cut of the episode. I said, 'This might seem like it works as a really good series finale, but this is by no means our goodbye to the series, so don't get it in your heads that you shouldn't be fighting for this show,'" Plec says with a laugh. "But it felt good, it felt emotional, and there's all kinds of closure and hopeful futures for everybody. That's the nice thing. At least now we don't have to try to figure out how to top it."
Ben Adams/The CW Danielle Rose Russell on 'Legacies'
Klaus is back...
One of the more emotional moments in the finale comes when Hope gets to watch a message from her father. "We thought we'd never be able to deliver on that Klaus moment with Hope because he's dead," Plec says. "And we didn't want to just have the Necromancer bring him through and make it feel like it could happen that easily."
Upon realizing that Hope's entire journey has been about her dad — losing him and wondering if he's found peace — Plec sent Joseph Morgan, who played Klaus on both The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, an email. "I said, 'I know you've quite publicly said that you have no interest in doing this but here's why I think it's meaningful and special to the story.' He has such integrity for that character. He thought about it and was super gracious and said, 'I always thought I'd put that chapter behind me but hearing you talk about what it would mean for Hope and for the history of that relationship, I can see why you think it's the right moment so I'm willing to do it.'"
In the end, Klaus returned, and Morgan has no regrets. Plec says, "We sent him the script and he sent the most lovely email talking about: 'I'm so proud to be able to be here for this, it's the perfect closure for this character and this father-daughter relationship.'"
...And so is Caroline
Klaus isn't the only familiar face in the finale. Finally, after seasons of talking about Caroline, and even a voiceover moment, she returns to the Salvatore School and takes over as interim headmaster when Ric (Matthew Davis) steps down. "Candice always said that in the moment when it mattered the most, at the right time, that she would come back as Caroline," Plec says. "So Brett called her and said it's possible this is the end and she said, 'I'll be there.'"
And she wouldn't be alone. "Then she said, 'My 6-year-old daughter would like to be in the scene,'" Plec says. "So [her daughter] Florence is featured in that end scene."
For the most part, Plec says she's happy with where everyone's stories end. But there is one story she's still thinking about: "Ben [Zane Phillips] and Jed [Ben Levin]. That was so new this year and it was so good. They were just getting started and now the story's over. That's one of the heartbreaks," Plec says. "They were just warming up."