When The Vampire Diaries ended last season with a post-apocalytpic look at Mystic Falls, most assumed that was part of the major flash-forward that the show will introduce in Season 7. Well, we were wrong!

Instead, the heretics' takeover of the town happens almost immediately, which viewers will come to understand when we see that final scene replayed in real time during the season premiere. "The flash-forwards won't necessarily be about how we ended last season," executive producer Caroline Dries tells TVGuide.com. "[They're] introducing a mythology that will push us forward into Season 8."

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As for that new mythology, here's what we can tell you: Viewers will find out exactly how many years the show jumps ahead in the very opening scene. And those looks into the future will also give you a glimpse at a new Big Bad -- perhaps someone you already know -- that is very intent on finding the Salvatores.

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