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Why Hope Mikaelson From Legacies Looks So Familiar

We'll say one thing for the CW: the network has a stellar track record of assembling ensemble casts for the cottage industry they're building in supernatural teen soaps. While the Vampire Diaries franchise certainly isn't the CW's first foray into this space, it may be the most fertile. One young supernatural creature who finds herself at the center of the network's latest entry, Legacies, should be very familiar to fans of the fictional world.

The character Hope Andrea Mikaelson plays a vital role in the mythology of the Vampire Diaries universe at large. She's the daughter of Klaus Mikaelson (Joseph Morgan) and his lycanthrope one-night stand, Hayley Marshall-Kenner (Phoebe Tonkin). Because of their daughter's unusual parentage, both Klaus and Hayley decided to fake her death immediately after she was born. She ends up in the care of Klaus' sister, Rebekah (Claire Holt), the only person whom Klaus trusts to raise and protect Hope. As a rare vampire-werewolf hybrid, Hope is one of the most powerful beings in the Vampire Diaries' continuity. She's also a witch descended from the Mikaelson Bloodline — one of the most magically powerful lineages. 

Legacies is the third CW series to take place in the popular Vampire Diaries universe, and the first to focus specifically on the character of Hope. The show kicks off two years after the events of The Originals, and largely concerns the 17-year-old Hope's efforts to navigate life at the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted. The talented star of the new hit series is Danielle Rose Russell, and Vampire Diaries fans have definitely seen her before.

Danielle Rose Russell debuted her version of Hope Mikaelson on Legacies' predecessor show

Russell is actually the second actress to play Hope Mikaelson (not counting the kiddos and toddlers who portrayed the character's very young version). On season 4 of The Originals, the young actress Summer Fontana introduced her version of Hope before Russell took over duties on season 5. Russell's take on Hope Mikaelson is by far the most recognizable, having had a significant impact on the story of The Originals – particularly during that show's later seasons.

Russell's Hope appeared on all 13 episodes of The Originals in its final season, a popular run that ultimately earned her a dedicated spin-off. While The Originals focused on the older generation of Mikaelsons — Klaus, Rebekah, and Elijah (Daniel Gillies) – Legacies moves the family drama onward and into Hope's sphere.

The entire Vampire Diaries franchise has garnered a devoted fanbase, many of whom surely recognized Russell from her turn on The Originals, but the 21-year-old actress actually got her big break on an earlier series.

Danielle Rose Russell played Darla Miner on The Last Tycoon

Before she became Hope Mikaelson, an 18-year-old Russell landed the opportunity of a lifetime on the Amazon Original Series The Last Tycoon. That series was loosely based on the novel of the same name by The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald. The story follows Monroe Stahr, the first celebrity entertainment executive in Hollywood in the 1930s. Stahr's outsized personality brings him into regular conflict with his friend and mentor, Pat Brady, the current head of the studio where Stahr earns his bread. The Last Tycoon only ran for nine episodes, but Russell's Darla Miner appeared on six of them.

On that short-lived series, Russell joined an all-star cast that included Matt Bomer (The Sinner), Kelsey Grammer (Frasier), and Lily Collins (Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile). Quite a break-out opportunity for a budding starlet, and one that must have prepared her well to take on her career-defining role in The Originals.

Those who haven't seen The Last Tycoon may also recognize Russell as Grace from the 2015 film Aloha, Miranda from the 2017 flick Wonder, or Joanie Williams from the 2018 comedy-drama Measure of a Man.

Fans will be seeing much more of Russell's Hope Mikaelson in the near future. In January, the CW renewed Legacies for a third season, so there's another round of vampire-slash-werewolf-slash-witch-slash-student drama to come.