Legends of Tomorrow is DC’s newest TV venture; it takes place in the same universe as Arrow and The Flash, and premieres in 2016 on the CW. Those are the facts; now, here’s the good stuff! At a press event, members of Legends’ cast and crew shared what to expect from the new show.
Is Legends of Tomorrow an “anthology” series? Is it going to be limited, or will it potentially have multiple seasons?
Producer Marc Guggenheim: First of all, how long the show runs is not up to me. It’s up to the fans. “Anthology” is probably the wrong word, only insofar that it implies that it’s like American Horror Story. That’s an anthology. The way we think of it is that each arc, each season, is its own separate movie. What we want to do in success is have each separate movie have its own identity, almost to the point where each season was telling one big story that you could sort of subtitle, the way American Horror Story has subtitles [like Coven, etc.], if that makes sense.
There is by no means a guarantee that everyone on episode one will be part of the show in episode one of season two. No one is safe.
We’ve heard we might see the pasts of the Flash and Arrow universes. Does this mean we might see characters like Robert and Moira Queen?
Guggenheim: That’s the beauty part of a time-travel show. You can go back to season one of Arrow, or even before then. That’s part of the fun. So much of it depends on, what stories are we telling, and are the actors game for reprising their roles?
Given that there’s so much time travel on Legends of Tomorrow, will events in this series change or directly affect events in the same universe, on The Flash or Arrow?
Guggenheim: The concept of time travel that was introduced on Flash is going to be applied consistently within the Berlanti-verse. So that said, we’re not doing to use time travel on Legends to retcon something on Arrow.
How much will Sara [the White Canary]’s resurrection affect the characters on Arrow, or will that be kept separate?
Guggenheim: No, we’re going to cover that whole story on Arrow. She’ll be ready to go for Legends by the time Legends starts up.
How did you come up with the title of the show?
Guggenheim: Geoff Johns suggested working “legends” into the title. Obviously, because of the TNT show, we couldn’t call it Legends. But he pointed out that the word “legends” has a lot of currency in the DC lore. You’ve got the original Legends series from 1987, you’ve got Legends of the Dark Knight, Legends of the DC Universe. So we really jumped at using “legends” in the title. And Greg Berlanti came up with “of tomorrow,” which makes so much sense when you consider they are legends in the future.
Which series do you think we might see Vixen on first, in live-action?
Guggenheim: I have no idea! The answer, truly, depends on which series comes up with the best story. Our approach is always the same; we first start out with, “What’s a good story to tell?” We don’t think about, “Oh, we’re going to do this character and stick them in there.” Then the cart’s really dragging the horse, and I think that’s when things start to fall apart. I personally would love to see her on Arrow first. That’s my personal preference. What’s wonderful about Megalyn [Echikunwoke] is that she looks the part. She’s a great actress, and we’re very lucky to have her in the animated series. It’d be wonderful to have her come play on one of the three shows.
In terms of tone and overall story, how is Legends going to compare to Arrow and Flash?
Showrunner Phil Klemmer: Arrow is super-dark, vigilante, grim, crusader of justice. And Flash has a sort of lightness and family quality that ours will be a little bit closer to. But ours is a little bit more adult, a little bit more madcap, more of like a caper. It’s sort of Ocean’s 11, where you have this team of misfits who’ve been sent on, essentially, a suicide mission. It will have a lot of interpersonal tension, but it’s almost like a family dynamic between people who don’t get along, but they’re forced to get along, because they’re stuck on this time-traveling space ship and having to save the world. But if it weren’t for that, they would absolutely kill each other!
At a certain point we will have darkness emerge, and characters will betray one another, and be tempted by the dark side. Others might not make it along for the full trip, or will get lost in weird time periods. But I think when they’re all hanging out, you can’t help but have people who are that different have fundamental disagreements about the stupidest things. It’s a very quippy, wisecrack-y show. That, to me, is hilarious, and that’s what I want to write.
Will we be seeing Ray Palmer on Arrow before Legends premieres?
Brandon Routh: Yes, I think we’re going to see all of the characters come off of either Flash or Arrow to build the story, to build the team on Legends of Tomorrow.
Your character is more cheerful than most of the others, who tend to be serious and dark. How do you think that’s going to go over?
Routh: You’ve got to have big contrasts to make excitement happen. Ray can get serious if he needs to, during the Deathbolt fight, he was joking at the beginning, but when it comes time to do business, he can step into that mode. But he also easily steps back into the humor as well. I think the other thing is, when something can wow or scare Ray Palmer, there’s a big problem. The S-H-I-T has hit the fan.
Is Legends of Tomorrow going to be more of an action series, or will there be stories about the characters beyond the fight scenes?
Caity Lotz: The whole series depends on the relationships between the characters. The whole thing is set up to serve one [serialized] storyline, rather than a bad guy of the week. But within that, none of that stuff will work unless you have those relationships with the characters. I think just the different dynamics that will happen, it’s going to have a lot of that. Imagine how much you could do with Sara [the White Canary] alone, and her sister, and their dad, her family. It’s so interesting to me, because it’s like, “Is this going to just all turn into one giant show, that we’re on three nights a week?” I want it to. I want it to be all these different crossovers. It’s not just going to be action, blow-everything-up, though that will be a fun part of it.
Is Heat Wave comfortable working in a team environment?
Dominic Purcell: Heat Wave is not really comfortable in any environment, as you can tell. He just explodes at any chance he gets. But he has to be part of the team to help quash this nemesis that exists in the Legends of Tomorrow storyline. So he begrudgingly becomes part of the team. But I think he’d love to do time travel. All the crime he could do, and stuff he could get away with!
How is Captain Cold going to deal with these crazy people?
Wentworth Miller: Badly, I think. That’s my hope, anyway. I don’t think it’s hugely interesting when you tune into a show and everyone is getting along. Heat Wave and Captain Cold, and Caity’s character [White Canary], we’re there to add edge and spice and some rough and tumble to this newly assembled team. It’s not meant to be one big happy family pursuing a common goal. Hopefully it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Why would Captain Cold ever agree to go on this crazy mission? He’s not a joiner; he’s always rejected every opportunity to join Barry Allen, a.k.a. the Flash, in his mission to help things.
Miller: That’s a great question ... and when I read the pilot, when I read that first script, hopefully I’ll start to get some answers. But he has, I think, the beginnings of a code. I think Barry has recognized that and is trying to speak to it and encourage its development. I think [Leonard] Snart will always be bad; that’s certainly my hope as the guy who plays him, because he’s so much fun as a bad guy. But there is something in him that has a code, that knows right from wrong, potentially. And if you look at his relationship with his sister, there are things that he does care about, and make sacrifices for, when push comes to shove.
Under what circumstances would we ever see Captain Cold actually willing to be the good guy, as opposed to the villain?
Miller: If it serves his end, probably. If it’s en route to him getting what he wants. There has to be something in it for Captain Cold. I’m not sure he’s got an altruistic bone in his body. But that could be useful. That could be of service.
I do always try and keep in mind what is human about this character. He’s got his cold gun, he’s up to no good, he twirls his mustache, but at the end of the day, all of these characters are relatable in some way. I think that’s one of the things an audience member might enjoy watching on the new show: Captain Cold challenged to be a good guy, [which means] wrestling with his darkness. It means wrestling with his edge. And that’s something all of us can relate to in one way or another.