Caroline Forbes is mentioned often in Legacies, but the school’s founder and former headmistress has yet to appear in person. Here’s the reason why.
Caroline Forbes (Candice King) has yet to make an appearance in Legacies – because she’s on a very important mission. Legacies premiered in 2018 and focuses on the students enrolled in the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted. Caroline and Alaric opened the school to provide a haven for a new generation of supernatural beings. The Salvatore School teaches them how to control their gifts or dark impulses, protecting them from outsiders, each other, and themselves.
Following Stefan’s death in the series finale of The Vampire Diaries, Caroline and Alaric were busy getting the Salvatore School up and running. During the final season of The Originals, Hope Mikaelson, the daughter of Klaus Mikaelson and Hayley Marshall, was enrolled at the school. Caroline made several appearances on The Originals as the headmistress, offering emotional support and advice to Klaus. Season 1 of Legacies picked up two years after Klaus’ death, but Caroline was conspicuously absent, and she still hasn’t made an appearance as the show prepares to enter into its third season.
Before Legacies aired, Julie Plec told EW how Caroline’s absence would factor into the show:
“They [Lizzie and Josie] believe she’s off on recruiting missions. Alaric knows she’s actually off doing other things that have to do with the long-term survival of their daughters. So the mystery of, where is Caroline, why isn’t she coming home for their birthday, that kind of thing is gonna be part of our story in the hopes that one day we’ll be able to have her walk through the doors as well.”
The show revealed the real reason why devoted mom Caroline was spending so much time away from her daughters in season 1, episode 6, “Mombie Dearest.” After Jo Laughlin was resurrected (albeit briefly) and learned the Gemini Coven had saved her daughters by placing them into Caroline, she and Alaric discussed their fate. Jo asked Alaric, “Do they know what happens when they turn 22?” Alaric responded, “No, not yet. And we don’t want them to know until we’ve exhausted all our options. That’s why Caroline missed their birthday. She’s following some lead.” Jo was referring to The Merge, a ritual that the Gemini twins must undergo to determine the leader of the Coven. The stronger twin absorbs the powers of the weaker one, who dies as a result.
Josie and Lizzie are presumably the last living descendants of the Gemini Coven, so there’s no reason for a leader. Also, the twins are Siphoners, and they possess no powers of their own. Instead, they take it from mystical objects or supernatural beings. During season 2, Josie – consumed with dark magic – expedited The Merge, and the result wasn’t clear. Thanks to Hope binding Lizzie to Landon, she came back to life after presumably losing. Lizzie believed herself to be the victor but commented to the Necromancer that she didn’t feel as if she had absorbed her sister’s power. This would appear to mean the Merge wasn’t successful, and Caroline has reason to continue her mission, but it’s hard to believe she wouldn’t return to Mystic Falls in the wake of Josie’s meltdown.
The decision not to appear on Legacies is entirely King’s. The actress moderated the Legacies Comic-Con panel in 2019, and fans of the show are constantly speculating as to if and when she will return. King, who is expecting her second child, is busy and likely content to move on from the character she played for so long. In 2019, Julie Plec told TV Guide, “The desire to see Caroline Forbes on Legacies remains strong. The invitation remains open, and the welcome would be warm. So honestly, it’s just a matter of finding the right story and the right opportunity for Candice to want to come back and play in the sandbox a little.”