Across the years, Destiny players have likely come and gone. While there's always a drop-off when it comes to players upgrading to DLC packs as they release, millions of other players would have spent hundreds, if not thousands, of hours collecting everything within the Destiny universe - from emblems and items to titles and sparrows.
So it should come as no surprise that the idea of transferring a character you poured many a weekend into would follow you into the upcoming sequel - Destiny 2. The problem here is that it wouldn't make sense for everything to make the jump if specific gameplay systems are designed to operate on a level playing field.
The good news is that Destiny 2 Character Transfers are very much a thing. The bad; not everything will carry over. As expected. Plans for this system were outlined back in March, meaning the deadline of August 1 has been and gone. But that doesn't mean you've automatically missed out by only just hearing of this.
Character data from Destiny 1 was 'locked in' on that date; meaning it was more a race to collect everything before that time than a hard-cap on when you had to send in an application or anything like that. So long as you're logging into Destiny 2 with the same email/account, you should see your old Guardian pop right into Destiny 2 as a playable character. The only things you'll really recognize, however, will be their outward appearance and any collected emblems (like the Age of Triumph rewards). Equipment and shaders won't carry forward. And, most importantly, neither will those paid-for emotes. Bummer.
This process, by August 1, has been carried out automatically. You're still welcome to player your old character on Destiny 1 whether you pick up the sequel or not, but only your character's stats that were present by August 1 will carry into Destiny 2. It's an automatic system. The only pre-requisites are that your character must have been level 20 and completed the 'Black Garden' mission - which is the final mission of the base game. If you hadn't reached that point, you likely weren't very invested in your character anyway.
So when can you see your beloved again? Assuming you're waiting anxiously for Destiny 2, you're looking at September 7 on consoles or October 24 for PC. It would have been nice to play as our legacy characters during the beta, but that just wasn't going to happen. With the system being automatic, you're not bound to the idea of using your old character in Destiny 2, either. You'll be free to use them or create a brand-new one from the new game's fresh customisation options.
It should be noted that you won't be able to apply any changes to a legacy character, either, so there's only one option if you're looking to try these new character creation tools out. Not that they're much different.