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Legacies: Everything You Need to Know About The Vampire Diaries and The Originals Before You Watch

So here's the skinny on doppelgangers...

Lindsay MacDonald

Way back in 2009, a little show called The Vampire Diariespremiered and made us realize veggie vampires who sparkle are kind of lame when you compare them to bloodthirsty monsters who can seduce the pants right off of you. Don't even get us started on what the The Originals did when it was spun off a few years later.

But now that the latest spin-off in the popular CW franchise, Legacies, is about to premiere, there's nearly 10 years of history (OK, technically like over 1,000 years, but ain't nobody got time for that) to catch up on from the two shows to make sure you're clued in about vampires, witches and everything else that goes bump in the night.

If you're super dedicated, you can binge-watch all 263 episodes of The Vampires Diaries and The Originals to clue yourself in on the long history of this universe. But you can also just read up on all the important stuff you need to know about both shows before diving into the world of the Salvatore Boarding School in Mystic Falls right here.

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Matt Davis and Danielle Rose Russell, Legacies

Matt Davis and Danielle Rose Russell, Legacies

Quantrell Colbert, Quantrell Colbert/The CW

Hope Mikaelson is the first ever vampire/werewolf/witch hybrid. Klaus Mikaelson (Joseph Morgan), the first werewolf/vampire hybrid, defied the reproduction laws that governed most vampires when he and a werewolf named Hayley Marshall (Phoebe Tonkin), conceived their daughter, Hope (Danielle Rose Russell), after a one-night stand. Given that Klaus' mother was a witch, Hope then inherited werewolf, vampire and witch genes, making her the world's first tribrid. She is also the direct descendant of the Original vampire family (the first ever vampires to walk the earth, born over a thousand years ago), the Mikaelsons.

Hope's parents were both killed when she was 15. During the final season of The Originals, Hayley was killed by vampires who were prejudiced against werewolves, and Klaus sacrificed himself to keep an ancient, dark magic from taking root in Hope and killing her. Hope's uncle Elijah (Daniel Gillies) also died, but her aunts, Rebekah (Claire Holt) and Freya (Riley Voelkel), and another uncle, Kol (Nathaniel Buzolic), are still alive. She now lives permanently at the Salvatore Boarding School.

The Salvatore Boarding School was founded in memory of Stefan Salvatore. The Vampire Diaries was centered on two vampire brothers, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon Salvatore (Ian Somherlader), and the woman they both loved, Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev). Stefan eventually sacrificed himself to save Damon and the town of Mystic Falls in the series finale of The Vampire Diaries. In honor of that sacrifice, Damon, who had become human by that point, donated the Salvatore property to serve as a school for magical children in need of a safe place to grow up.

Caroline Forbesand Alaric Saltzman run the school. Caroline (Candice King), a vampire who was turned when she was 17-years-old, and Alaric (Matt Davis), a history teacher turned vampire turned human again, had twin witch daughters on The Vampires Diaries. Their magical outbursts kept getting them expelled from regular school. In an effort to provide their daughters and other magical children with a stable environment, they founded the school and staffed it with creatures and humans. They now run the school, and Alaric serves as headmaster.

Zach Roerig, Danielle Rose Russell and Matt Davis, Legacies

Zach Roerig, Danielle Rose Russell and Matt Davis, Legacies

Quantrell Colbert, Quantrell Colbert/The CW

Vampires, werewolves and witches are the most common supernatural creatures... that we know of. The Vampire Diaries and The Originals focused mainly on these three creatures, though The Vampire Diaries did explore the existence of magical creatures called sirens, who were psychic witches turned immortal and forced to feed on human flesh, in its final season. Doppelgängers were also a kind of creature explored in The Vampire Diaries, though they had no abilities other than being the spitting image of another person who came before them in their bloodline. Doppelgänger blood, however, was used in several rituals, including the one to create the Original vampires.

Vampires have the powers of speed, strength, immortality/healing, enhanced senses and compulsion, aka the ability to manipulate human minds. They cannot enter a privately owned home unless invited in, and they burn in the sun unless they wear a spelled ring that protects them from it. Vervain is poisonous to them. Vampires are made when a human dies with vampire blood in their system and feeds on human blood within a short window after their resurrection.

Werewolves are cursed to turn into wolves every full moon in an excruciating transformation process. It is a curse that is passed down from parent to child and triggered if -- and only if -- they kill someone -- even in the case of accidents that result in a death. Werewolves have enhanced senses and strength, and wolfsbane is poisonous to them.

Legacies Season 1 Trailer Is a Delicious Mix of Harry Potter and Buffy

Witches are born with their powers, and they can draw magic from nature, celestial events, etc. Some witches like Josie (Kaylee Bryant) and Lizzie Saltzman (Jenny Boyd) have the power to siphon magic, which allows them to draw magic out of one being or object and transfer it into something or someone else. Siphoners also have the potential to become witch/vampire hybrids who retain their magic after being turned into vampires, unlike normal witches who lose their magic entirely when they transition.

Josie and Lizzie have a complicated family tree. Josie and Lizzie were originally conceived by Alaric and his fiancée Jo Parker (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe), but she was killed in the early stages of her pregnancy. Through magical intervention, Caroline became a surrogate for the twins, and she gave birth to them. They hail from the Gemini Coven, which pitted twins against each other in a ritual that forced one twin to absorb and kill the other to take leadership over the coven.

Danielle Rose Russell, Legacies

Danielle Rose Russell, Legacies

Quantrell Colbert, Quantrell Colbert/The CW

Matt Donovan is the town sheriff. Matt (Zach Roerig) was the only person on The Vampire Diaries to start a human and stay a human over the course of the show. He eventually joined law enforcement and rose to the rank of sheriff, which is a position he still holds in Mystic Falls when Legacies premieres.

Jeremy Gilbert is a vampire hunter. Though Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) was originally a human on The Vampire Diaries, he turned out to be a Hunter, a mostly-human individual with increased strength and a strong desire to kill vampires. He left Mystic Falls to continue hunting supernatural creatures who preyed on humans, but he returned to help Caroline and Alaric start their school in The Vampire Diaries series finale.

Mystic Falls is no stranger to supernatural events. The town of Mystic Falls has experienced plenty of supernatural attacks over the years. The town even used to have a council of officials who knew of the existence of these creatures and acted to protect the human community and keep them from discovering the truth. That council was slowly picked off over the years, but to this day, it's unclear which humans in Mystic Falls know about the supernatural creatures who live there.


Legacies premieresThursday, October 25 at 9/8c on The CW.

(Full Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies).