Since The Vampire Diaries ended in 2017, series star Candice King returned to close out first spinoff The Originals in 2018, and this week she finally appeared on the next show in TVD Universe, Legacies, for its series finale.
“It’s incredible to have the opportunity to return,” King tells TV Insider and laughs about the tradition of her ending the spinoffs. Since she wasn’t on either show during the rest of their runs, “I just felt like a grateful visitor. I felt like I was over for this wonderful dinner party and was just grateful to be invited.”
On Legacies, we saw Caroline reunite with her daughter Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) and take over as (interim) headmistress of the Salvatore School. But is it really “interim”? King addresses that, discusses being back on that set (which was the Salvatore House on TVD before becoming a school), and more.
Candice King: Oh, it was a very easy decision because we’d been trying to make this happen for such a long time. After I played in Vampire and then subsequently The Originals, I needed some time at home with my family and both of those shows filmed in Atlanta, as did Legacies. And so by the time we were gearing up to have Caroline return, all of a sudden it was 2020, so you can imagine things got a little sidetracked. And on top of that, right when the shutdown happened is when I found out I was pregnant with my second child. So there wasn’t really a lot of trying to get out there and on a set and film, especially as a pregnant woman in the start of COVID.
But this couldn’t have been better timing, and to have the opportunity — as much as we were all crossing our fingers and our toes for a Season 5 — [and] the privilege to be able to step into the shoes of Caroline Forbes once more and appear in the series finale of Legacies that is subsequently the finale of this epic trilogy, there’s nothing more sentimental than the opportunity to do that.
Speaking of stepping back into Caroline’s shoes, how was that?
It had been a while. I was nervous. I was excited. I also put my foot down when I did get the call about coming to do the finale. I said, I have one big ask, one condition, and I asked them if they could write in a featured extra role for a precocious six year old and that was my daughter. I’m being silly in saying that I really put my foot down. They loved the idea because when I found out I was pregnant with my first and surprised them with that curveball in Season 7 of The Vampire Diaries, my pregnancy would go on to basically be the creation of Josie and Lizzie. And so to be able to have my daughter Florence with me in that final scene — she’s one of the kids that walks up before Hope [Danielle Rose Russell] goes outside — was so, so special. So as nervous as I was to see how it would feel to be back in Caroline’s shoes and back on the bike, if you will, it could not have been a more emotionally satisfying day feeling like I’m returning home and also being able to bring my daughter with me to a home where she grew up as well.
What did you know about what would be going on with Caroline? You had three great entrances in this episode, interrupting Lizzie and MG [Quincy Fouse], being announced as the new headmistress, and finding Cleo [Omono Okojie] in the office.
Yeah, I didn’t know much. I knew that the end result would be Caroline as headmistress. But they could have said Caroline’s gonna be the new lunch lady and I would’ve jumped at the opportunity.
We’ve seen with you with other actresses playing Lizzie and Josie, then we got a short moment with Caroline and Lizzie here. Talk about working with Jenny.
We were in an acting class together when Jenny got the role, so I had actually known her when she booked her role and could not have been more excited for her. It was really fun obviously to see these two characters finally interact on screen, but selfishly just for Jenny and I also to be able to hang out and have a good laugh of like, oh my gosh, look at where we are now and how the world works sometimes in these kismet situations.
I feel like Lizzie running to Caroline was every fan hugging Caroline.
[Laughs] Yeah. Oh, I really love that description of that so much.
What was it like being on the Salvatore School set again?
The main living room and where we shot the final scene of the episode with the grand fireplace that I’ve been in so many scenes in front of for eight years on Vampire Diaries, it was really interesting to be back in that room. It was wild to be back in the small office library — that was the fully intact set that they kept. And actually that’s the room that we were all sitting in when The Vampire Diaries, when we filmed our very, very last scene, that’s where everyone was sitting and waiting for Paul [Wesley] and Ian [Somerhalder] to be done before we rushed the set with silly string. There are so many memorable sets that they’ve been able to hold onto and it just brings you right back. It’s a physical and an emotional reaction that I won’t even try to replicate on the phone with you right now, but I did post a video of my actual reaction walking into the room and you can hear the guttural noises that I’m making it as I’m processing a lot of emotions at once.
These days, people do return to characters, but it’s rare to return to a set like you had.
Yes. And the Legacies production actually filmed on The Original’s stages. It’s all been within the world for a very, very long time. I look back on those years with a vast spectrum of emotions, but mostly of just joy and gratitude. I was lucky enough to work on The Vampire Diaries from the time I was 22 to 30, and around that time I was still playing in The Originals a bit. These are very formative years and they stick with you. Those moments walk you through young adulthood into adulthood, so then to be on a set with the Super Squad in their journeys, the full circle emotions of the day were impossible to ignore.
Caroline’s taking over the school, but stresses she’s interim headmistress. Was that in case another season was picked up? That “interim” made it sound like she’s not planning to stick around for good.
Yes. I think we were all kind of crossing our fingers and toes for a Season 5 and just seeing what would happen, so the door was open either way.
I love that with Caroline, it’s always felt like she could do anything and we get that feeling here, too. She could stay, she could go…
She could open up a spin studio. She could become an influencer. She could open up a bakery. No, it’s very true, the character that they created, it was never surprising to see the direction that she went on within her arc. I could have absolutely seen her as a headmistress of the school, and I think it is a nice button in the creation of the school for her storyline and how it was rooted so much in her love for Stefan and so it’s a beautiful full circle moment that I think she got to return and step into the headmistress role. And I think it would’ve maybe been more than interim had the show gone on.
How will you remember the Vampire Diaries universe?
The first thing that pops into my head is just that my heart feels like it grows bigger when I think of it. I also think about really late cold nights and a lot of sticky fake blood and family. The beauty of The Vampire Diaries was that we all thought it was a love triangle. The secret was always that it was a story about family. It was about these two brothers. Everyone wants to think it’s this wild vampire, werewolves, and witches show, but when I think back on my experience of being able to be on the show, it’s 100 percent rooted in family.
How is it for you to say goodbye to it seemingly for good?
I think it’s OK to say goodbye. I’ve also learned that in the world of streaming, there is no goodbye. People are always discovering the show for the first time, which is really, really cool. I feel at ease. I feel just grateful. This is a unique experience to be able to play a character for 13 years, off and on, absolutely, but to still be able to walk into a character’s shoes 13 years later, that doesn’t happen often.
How will you remember Caroline?
I still think of Caroline. She changed my life. She still changes my life. I have the opportunity to work because of the impact that she made, she was the foundation of my career. On top of that, I’m very honored to have played a character that meant a lot to a lot of people and the way that the writers wrote her. And so whenever anyone does approach me to compliment the show or to share their stories of why they love Caroline Forbes, just to feel that joy and that love is also a unique experience, so I still am grateful to Caroline.