It is the question on many fans' minds in the aftermath of the Originals finale and taking into account how The Vampire Diaries ended: why will Caroline Forbes be absent when the spinoff Legacies begins? At 2018's San Diego Comic-Con, Vampire Diaries creator and Legacies showrunner Julie Plec reiterated that Caroline is actively involved with the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted. So, she clearly has her hands full. According to Plec, Caroline's exact whereabouts will be hard to pinpoint as Alaric and her daughters both have different versions they are going by regarding her absence. Julie Plec explained:
They 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 walk to have her walk through the doors as well.
Julie Plec did not get into the specifics of when Caroline's missing status would be resolved. Legacies' showrunner explained the situation surrounding Caroline's absence to EW, with whom she also shared that the door for Caroline's return is wide open. Given that she will not be arriving for her daughters' birthday, you would think alarm bells would be going off. It is unlike the characters in The Vampire Diaries universe to ignore a mystery.
It also difficult to imagine the Vampire Diaries and Originals spinoff without fan-favorite Caroline, especially when the plot involves her daughters. The girls' father Alaric, Elena's brother Jeremy, and Caroline's ex-boyfriend Matt will all appear in the spinoff. The good news regarding Caroline and Legacies is that Julie Plec assures that fans will "hear her," even if they do not see her. It stands to reason that viewers will learn breadcrumbs of information about Caroline's absence as the season continues.
Presumably, her daughters will have to learn that their father was keeping the real reason for her heading out of town a secret first. We will probably also have to learn what exactly she is doing to assure her daughters' survival in the long-term. That could involve any number of things.
As long as Caroline is regularly checking in with her family, they will probably not feel alarmed regarding her safety. With Julie Plec inferring hope for Caroline to show up in Legacies eventually, there is reason to believe she will be safe when she does.
The hold-up for Caroline's return is a mystery within itself. Legacies is smart to start off this way though. With the fate of a fan-favorite character hanging in the balance and a mystery as to her location permeating the series' first season, fans are bound to tune in to learn what is happening with her. Curiosity over characters that viewers already care about is a motivation that fuels many successful spinoffs. Find out how Caroline's absence is handled when the spinoff bows.