Having released a giddily fun trailer in May, it feels like the misfit team from DC’s Legends of Tomorrow should be closer to wreaking havoc all over The CW, but unfortunately the new Arrow and The Flash spinoff doesn’t debut its 16-episode run until midseason. To tide us over, we sat down with showrunner Phil Klemmer and stars Wentworth Miller (Leonard Snart/Captain Cold), Dominic Purcell (Mick Rory/Heat Wave), and Ciara Renée (Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl) at Comic-Con, and they spilled some tantalizing details about the new series.
Here’s what we learned about the consequences of time travel, how assembling a good superhero team is like casting The Real World, and why it’s necessary that Vancouver look like Ancient Egypt.
“The pilot is all about assembling a disparate team, a sort of rag-tag Dirty Dozen forced to save the world from future Hitler, a.k.a. Vandal Savage,” said Klemmer.
- Considering the large cast of characters from both Arrow and The Flash, not to mention the vast DC Universe, why choose this combination in particular? “Because if you invited them to a party they would be the most likely to burn the house down — but to have, like, a really good party before that happens,” Klemmer said. “It’s like The Real World: they don’t select people because they’re mild-mannered and they’re good at sharing. We put these people in a spaceship and sent them throughout time because they are bulls in a china shop.”
- We’ve gotten used to seeing most of these characters’ bullish ways on The Flash and Arrow already, and Miller promised that’s not going to stop now that they’re set to become Legends. “All of us will continue on The Flash and Arrow and in crossovers next fall leading up to the debut of the new show,” he said. “[These appearances are] meant to be sort of a launching pad for Legends.”
We can look forward to seeing more of the new characters, too: “Definitely I’ll be on The Flash,” said Renée, whose Hawkgirl had a wordless, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it introduction in the Flash season finale. “There’s definitely going to be some introductions to characters that you don’t know very well, so that by the time you get to January you’re not swarmed with all this information about the team.”
- Klemmer described Legends’ format as “super serialized”: “It will be divided into mini arcs where we’ll land in a time period to fix a discrete problem — something along the way that leads to Vandal’s ultimate rise.”
- That said, “every episode will probably have a focal point of one character,” with the show striving to create “odd combinations” of characters to keep the personalities bouncing off each other, Klemmer said. The characters will also face the tantalizing possibility of getting the chance to meddle with their own pasts. “Sure, you want to stop Vandal,” Klemmer said, “but while you’re back there, who can resist the temptation of buying a little Apple stock, assassinating Dick Cheney…”
- Time travel would seem to open up all of history to play with, but according to Klemmer, at least in season one, “we’re going to be confined to post-war to the very near future.” The major exception: “We will be seeing some Ancient Egypt in the Arrow crossover and get into the origin story of Kendra and Carter [Hall, Hawkman] and the intersection with Vandal’s acquiring of immortality. How we’re going to make Vancouver look like Ancient Egypt…I am open to suggestions. Maybe ship a lot of sand up there?”
Renée admitted she didn’t yet know much about what aspects of Kendra Saunders’ comics backstory the show will translate to the screen, just that past lives will definitely be in play. She expressed excitement at the possibility of exploring different versions of Hawkgirl throughout history: “I’ll get to play all these characters, I’ll never get bored!”
- Hawkgirl’s also the only character we haven’t yet seen in full superhero getup. Renée said she hasn’t tried on her costume yet, just seen sketches: “There’s no [exposed] midriff, thank the lord for that!” she said with a laugh. “But I do know that it’s a smokin’ costume.” As for Hawkgirl’s wings, she believes that they are going to be CGI. “Hearing stories of Hawkman on Smallville with the 50-pound attachment, I’m like nooooooo. I have scoliosis, I don’t need to add to that!”
- Klemmer compared the show’s approach to time travel to Back to the Future. “Part of the fun is that when we go back to fix something, obviously we won’t [always] succeed,” he said. “Sometimes in not succeeding we’ll screw up in ways that make the future a place we can’t return to.” Characters’ actions in the past will definitely have butterfly effect-like consequences, Klemmer said.
Potentially deadly consequences! “Not all of our team’s going to get back to 2016 and people will die and people will be left behind in other time periods,” Klemmer promised. “People will be tempted to the dark side and eventually turn to the dark side.”
- Dark sides aside, “the show is designed to have a buoyant tone,” said Klemmer. In comparison to its two sister shows, the relatively bright Flash and occasionally bordering on grimdark Arrow, Miller said Legends is going to follow in Flash’s fleet footsteps: “We’re getting to have fun.”
- Everyone seemed most excited to be creating a superhero team out of a group of misfits. “Heroes who are driven and single-minded are boring, I want them flawed and f’d up and utterly human,” said Klemmer. Purcell, who described Heat Wave as “a dumber version of the Joker” definitely didn’t downplay his character’s rougher qualities, but was pleased that the show was going to present the opportunity to show this motley crew’s softer sides: “Yeah, we get that you’re a psychopath but we want to bring that vulnerability,” he said. Might the process of becoming Legends eventually turn villains into true heroes? “I don’t think Snart will ever become a full-on good guy; I think he may become shades of grey,” said Miller. “I hope he kind of teeter-totters.”