Though The Vampire Diaries often chooses to pick up a season seconds after the previous one left off, Season 6 will tell a story that occurs well after the events of the Season 5 finale. Executive producer Julie Plec told TV Guide: “There's a substantial time jump which we're excited about.” How long will the time jump entail and where might it find out grieving heroes? We speculate below!

We think the choice to start Season 6 a substantial period of time after the end of Season 5 is a good one. Time jumps can be a great way to bring a narrative freshness to a show, something that is particularly important for TVD after a season that felt unfortunately cyclical at times. Coupled with the fact that we have seen TVD do the immediate aftermath of tragedy before in many incarnations, we have high hopes for this particular measure. Julie teased: “It gives us the opportunity to find these people again with enough time having passed that the grief has settled into a reality that is making them either actively move forward with their lives, spiral to a different place or make really bold and rash decisions in how they're going to live their lives without these people in them.”

So, how long might the time jump be? Well, given that there was a time jump between seasons 4 and 5 that coincided with the actual summer hiatus off-screen, we’re guessing it has to be longer than a few months. We expect that we will see these characters well into the next academic year, at the very least. Julie told The Hollywood Reporter that the time jump is “more than a couple of months,” but that’s the most specific we’ve gotten from her. Still, we’d be surprised if the show leapt more than a year. It’s not really TVD’s style.

With a time jump of anywhere from a few months to a year, what might our favorite Mystic Falls residents be up to come Season 6? Well, for starters, most of them won’t be in Mystic Falls. It sounds like the Traveler spell that cast magic out of the town will still be in place, which means that, if any supernatural person crosses the town boundary, they will die. Bummer. This means that Caroline, Stefan, Elena, and Alaric will all be hanging out elsewhere at least for the beginning of the season. Jeremy, Matt, and Tyler on the other hand, now have access to a supernatural-free zone. Basically, it’s a good time to move to Mystic Falls.

With news of a “substantial time jump,” we’re most worried about Bonnie and Damon, whose very existence is up in the air. We know that Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham will be back for Season 6, but in what form? Will Bonnie and Damon have been fighting all of this time to make it back to their loved ones, or have they been existing in some kind of paused state? Grams couldn’t have given Bonnie (and, more importantly, us) a clue before she phased out of existence?

How long do you think the time jump will be? What do you think our heroes will be doing when we catch up with them? Sound off in the comments below!

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!