The showrunner of Legacies discusses exactly how the series' abrupt cancellation went down. The CW series is the third show in the universe of The Vampire Diaries, the adaptation of the L.J. Smith young adult novels of the same name that aired for eight seasons from 2009 through 2017. That show was followed by The Originals, which aired for five seasons. Legacies picked up after the finale of The Originals, following lead character Klaus Mikaelson's daughter Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) as she began to study at the Salvatore School, an academy for the supernaturally gifted run by The Vampire Diaries character Alaric Saltzman (Matthew Davis).
Legacies season 4 was in the middle of airing when The CW entered a particularly turbulent time. In January of this year, the network's parent company explored putting it up for sale, claiming that it had never been profitable during its 15 years on the air. This was likely a response to the end of network's lucrative deal to have their shows stream on Netflix, splitting its content off onto less popular streaming services, but many shows that were already on the bubble remained so while the situation settled. Then, in May 2022, The CW sprang to life and cancelled a huge swath of series, including the reboots Dynasty, Roswell, New Mexico, and Charmed as well as the Arrowverse shows DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman, and Naomi. Among others, Legacies was also cancelled, taking the Vampire Diaries universe off the air for the first time in 13 years.
Now, Brett Matthews, the showrunner of Legacies, sits down with CBR.com to discuss the abrupt end of the series. He reveals that, some time before the cancellation, he had gotten a call explaining that "all this stuff is happening at the network" and warning him to make the season finale a potential series finale. Although they had limited time, they tried their best to accomplish this "very tall task," making sure they could give their characters an ending that allowed fans to "[see] them in a good place." Read his full quote below:
Look, I don't remember the timeline, but there was a point where I got a call. It basically said, "All this stuff is happening at the network. We don't know how it is going to play out." It was a couple months' notice to start gearing it towards that. I knew a lot of shows at the CW got this call -- and I believe they were ultimately canceled -- that said, "I don't know how this is going to go. In as much as you can, try and gear this season towards a series finale or a continuation." Obviously, a very tall task, and one we tried to accomplish as well as we could in the time that we had.
For us, it was finding the emotionally satisfying ending for every character, in as much as we can with a big cast, and just finding an ending that felt right to us and our audience. It was just emotion first. What is the conclusion of this story we had been telling with these characters for four years? More than any other show in the franchise, it was important to leave these characters in a good place. Legacies has always been this relentlessly optimistic show. Whether people like that or don't like that, it really was its mission statement. Seeing characters happy and seeing them in a good place was certainly our priority.
The Legacies season 4 finale offered as much closure as it possibly could on the series, including giving Hope a spectral visit from her father as a way to offer her closure on his death. However, there are still plot threads that would have been explored in a potential season 5, including the Jed/Ben curse and the appearance of Stefanie Salvatore. However, creator Julie Plec revealed that they are currently in talks with the network for another spinoff of The Vampire Diaries, so there is always the chance that some of these characters may appear again, should a new project be on the horizon.
Legacies and the other shows on this cancellation slate were in a somewhat unusual position. Typically, cancelled shows don't get all that much time to prepare for a series finale and are forced to cram endings into the final five minutes of an episode. This is perhaps one benefit of The CW's extended time struggling in the early months of 2022, even though it led to such widespread cancellations.