By Samantha Highfill
March 14, 2019 at 03:55 PM EDT
  • TV Show

If there’s one thing that’s never changed about the town of Mystic Falls, Va., it’s a love of tradition. And this week’s episode of Legacies confirms that when the Miss Mystic Falls pageant — which first appeared on season 1 of The Vampire Dairies — makes its big return. But as usual, it’s not coming at the best time. Not only did Landon (Aria Shahghasemi) just find out he’s a phoenix, but Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) is still dealing with the fact that, in order to find that out, she had to see Landon die. And to make matters even more complicated, this week also sees the return of Roman (Jedidiah Goodacre), a.k.a. Hope’s ex-boyfriend who played a part in her mother’s murder.

EW hopped on the phone with Russell to talk about how Hope is coping, wearing Caroline’s old dress for Miss Mystic Falls, and all things Roman.

Quantrell Colbert/The CW

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We have to start with last week’s phoenix reveal. What was the reaction on set to that news?
DANIELLE ROSE RUSSELL: We were filming the episode before that, and the script came out and Aria wasn’t on set. He had gone back home for the duration of the episode because he had it off, and I remember I read it in the hair and makeup trailer and I literally freaked out. I texted Aria and was like, “You have to call me when you get a chance! We just found out what you are!” I think him being a phoenix is the coolest thing ever! I’m so happy we can finally talk about it.

Of course, Hope finding out that he’s a phoenix also meant Hope had to spend some time thinking he was dead. How does that reveal and that experience affect her and their relationship?
The thing that Hope fears the most in her life is losing the people that she loves, and when she finally allowed herself to care about Landon and invited him into her life, she lost him, basically. Obviously he comes back, but it was the thing that she fears the most in the world, and honestly, he’s kind of the person she cares about most. She’s lost the closest people in her life. Everything that she’s done has been in order to protect him, so that definitely takes a huge toll on her. She’ll be secretly trying to deal with that in tonight’s episode, but she’s got some PTSD, and that will cause a little bit of tension between these two characters. You look at their dynamic and it’s two beings who are the only one of their kind, a tribrid and a phoenix. That’s a pretty badass couple, don’t get me wrong, but I’m sure there’s a lot of issues there.

And then there’s the Roman factor. How does having him back affect Hope?
In the two years that have gone by since The Originals in Legacies, she has definitely thought a lot about Roman, in the sense that she’s worked really hard to move on from the things that have happened to her. She’s thought a lot about how to view him without having so much vengeance in her heart because Alaric has done a really good job of making sure that she doesn’t turn into her father, and that she keeps good in her heart. So when he does return, it is kind of a shock to her, and it definitely causes a very fun dynamic between Landon, Hope, and Roman.

What’s Hope’s reaction to Miss Mystic Falls?
Hope wants nothing to do with Miss Mystic Falls. [Laughs] Why would she want anything to do with that? She does so much in order to hide every single day, why would she want to be Miss Mystic Falls? She wears Caroline’s dress, which was a fun experience on set. We had to completely rebuild the dress because it was made for someone who is nine inches taller than I am, so there were a lot of alterations, but it was definitely surreal just because I had followed The Vampire Diaries when I was younger and knew all about Miss Mystic Falls. So it was very surreal for me.

Legacies airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on the CW.

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