What Order Should You Watch ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ ‘The Originals,’ and ‘Legacies’ In?

The Vampire Diaries and The Originals might be over forever, but their stories live on in Legacies. The CW’s hit series is the second spin-off show within The Vampire Diaries universe. Given the vast universe these three shows have made, is there an order to watch The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and Legacies in that better matches up the timelines?

Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley attend a fan meet and greet for the cast of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ on June 3, 2010 in London | Fred Duval/FilmMagic

What comes first, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ or ‘The Originals’?

Legacies recently aired a musical episode that was a tribute to The Vampire Diaries. The musical, staged by students of the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted, was an homage (both within the show’s universe and in real life) to the events that transpired in The Vampire Diaries, leading up to the creation of the school.

“That episode is a love letter to our past,” Legacies showrunner Brett  Matthews told Collider. “It’s where we come from. Seeing characters familiar from other shows in the franchise portrayed by the current show, it’s meta in all of the right ways, but it also functions as a true musical.”

If that musical episode made you nostalgic for The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, a rewatch might be in the cards. While Klaus and his siblings were the first vampires and hybrids ever created within the TVD universe, The Originals wasn’t a prequel.

Klaus first appears in The Vampire Diaries Season 2, then his siblings are introduced in season 3. Hayley is introduced in season 4, and that plot is what leads up to the plot of The Originals Season 1. There are some crossover episodes throughout the two shows, but you don’t have to have seen all of the The Vampire Diaries and The Originals to understand them.

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How are ‘The Vampire Diaries, ‘The Originals,’ and ‘Legacies’ connected?

While the timelines of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals are close together, Legacies happens years after The Vampire Diaries ends. Legacies Season 1 Episode 10 reveals that the married (and human) Elena Gilbert and Damon Salvatore still live in Mystic Falls, and Elena is the town’s doctor. Their daughter, Stefanie Salvatore, is a student at Mystic Falls High School.

Legacies is centered around Hope Mikaelson (Klaus and Hayley’s daughter, the first ever tribrid), Alaric Saltzman from The Vampire Diaries, and his daughters, Josie and Lizzie Saltzman, among the school’s other students. Matt Donovan is also a Mystic Falls police officer in Legacies.

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What’s the best ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ ‘The Originals,’ and Legacies’ order?

Now that we understand how all three of these shows are connected, what’s the most intriguing order to watch them in? For the avid fans, simply rewatching all of the shows from start to finish might not be as fun. According to a fan discussion on Quora, there’s a more interesting way to binge the shows.

One daring fan listed out their preferred order by episode, which is a ton of episodes to list out, but we’ll summarize it here for you. You start with watching The Vampire Diaries Seasons 1 through 4 straight through, and then watch just the season 5 premiere before moving on to the first two episodes of The Originals Season 1.

Next, jump back into The Vampire Diaries for season 5 episode 2, and then keep alternating between shows until you hit The Vampire Diaries Season 5 Episodes 7 and 8. This user mapped out the entirety of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, and then recommended Legacies Seasons 1 and 2 be watched last. Season 3 is currently airing on The CW, with new episodes airing every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST.

You can check out the full episode list here. Happy binging!