What do you get when you put eight superheroes onto a time-traveling ship with a mysterious man from the future guiding them on an important mission? You get DC’s LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, the new spin-off from THE FLASH and ARROW Universe. Rip Hunter — a Time Master from the future — comes to the present day to recruit a group of heroes and villains to help him stop the immortal villain Vandal Savage, a man who will destroy most of humanity in the year 2166. It’s now up to this unlikely group of “legends” to come together to save mankind.
During a visit to the LEGENDS OF TOMORROW set in Vancouver, we spoke to some of the cast and executive producer Phil Klemmer about the ensemble nature of the show, the team dynamics and time travel.
A Mash-Up. “What’s interesting about this show and what’s different about this show is there are those different personalities all put together in one trying to battle bigger evil,” Victor Garber (Professor Stein) said. “That’s what intrigued me about it, because it’s really a family drama. It’s [gotten to] where everyone is a superhero and can do these things, but for me, what interests me about all these shows is the human aspect of it and the connections and who gets along and who doesn’t and why and all the psychological things.”
No One Feels Like a “Side Story”. Arthur Darvill (Rip Hunter) explained that “the scale of it is just huge. But what they’ve done brilliantly is they’ve written everyone’s story so well so you never feel like anyone is just hanging on. You’ve got a bunch of actors who wouldn’t stand for that anyway so everyone’s really protective over their storylines and their character development. And that makes it so exciting because everyone wants a really big piece of the pie and everyone kind of gets it at various points. No one feels like a side story. It’s very much that kind of ensemble thing. And I think that’s quite a rare thing on television, in [terms of] the scale of the world it inhabits. ARROW and THE FLASH have got quite a brilliantly large scale [ensemble] anyway and this takes it another step further.”
The Domestic Nature of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW. “The fun thing about this show is that, I think, unlike the other two Berlanti shows, this kind of has a bit of a domestic conceit,” Phil Klemmer said. “Like the fact that everybody has to live together under the same roof, even though it’s a traveling-through-space-and-time roof, it does give them the sort of milieu of BIG BROTHER, or a reality show with mismatched people trying to cohabitate and I really find that part of the show delightful because it’s like a reality show about superheroes. And you can have very, very human I-wanna-f*****g-kill-you-cause-you-finished-off-the-peanut-butter moments. You know, which you wouldn’t normally get in an AVENGERS movie, because [our characters get to live with each other] around the clock and not just in moments of high drama and heroism. You get to live with them at the sort of most banal and human [moments]. That’s fun for me to write.”
Stein’s Hubris. “First of all, [Stein is] the oldest person and arguably one of the smartest, and therefore, there’s, as you may know, a touch of arrogance and hubris about Stein that does get him in some hot water with his partner – with Jefferson Jackson – and with the other people on the ship,” Garber admitted. “Stein is necessary for this to all function, except that he can be difficult.”
Ray’s the Cheerful One. Is Ray always a ball of sunshine? “Depending on the day,” Brandon Routh (Ray Palmer) explained. “He does have some bad days every once in a while, you know, so he’s not just a one-sided character. But yeah, he’s the optimistic side for sure — most of the time. And I think [he’s] helping the villains understand another side of life. But they’re doing a really awesome job… an interesting job, helping him understand the other side of life, right? So [it’s about] finding balance for both. You have these polar opposites and they come together and this kind of magic happens, which is fun. And Ray, he thinks he can do and solve pretty much anything and he gets in over his head a couple of times and he’s saved by… maybe unsuspecting people.”
Ray and Captain Cold’s Unlikely Bromance. You’re going to see the unlikely pairing up of Ray and Leonard Snart early on in LEGENDS OF TOMORROW and you couldn’t find two more different characters. Routh explained that “I’ve had several scenes with Wentworth [which is] awesome and those [two] are…talk about polar opposites, but there’s been some really cool character developments come from that. Both characters kind of learning a little bit from each other. I think certainly Ray walks away from one encounter with a different perspective a little bit and there’s a lot of good comedic moments that happen between the two of them and then adding in Heat Wave as well.” Klemmer said that Ray and Cold is really about finding “the unlikely bedfellows. Like the people who just shouldn’t get along and that weirdly find like the same wavelength. [Ray and Cold are] as different as two people could be, but in a weird way, they’re like two sides of the same coin. They hate each other, find each other endlessly frustrating and beguiling. But, at the same time, [they are like] ‘Alright, I’ll tip my hat to that’.”
The Team Dynamic From Rip’s Perspective. “I think he always [thought this mission was] going to last for one episode. [Rip thinks] he’s gonna get them, they’re going to go defeat Vandal Savage and then they can all go home and he won’t have to see these people ever again,” Darvell said. “He’s chosen them for their specific skillset and not necessarily for their personality types. And it turns out that it’s going to take a little longer than he thought. So it’s really tough at times. Trust is a big issue. I think trust is the main issue, actually, and just keeping everyone in check. I don’t think he wants to become some kind of guidance counselor. And they’ve still got a job to do and it escalates. The whole thing escalates.” Are there certain members of the team that Rip is closer to? Darvell said that “it changes. It’s moment to moment. I think he’s very clever. I think when people need him to open up to them he does. He’s not going to bear his soul to anyone. When he needs to use that as a tool, he does. I’m still working [on] how genuine [he] is.”
Backwards and Forwards in Time. Klemmer hinted that the show will be traveling into the past and the future, “because one thing that is interesting to explore [is that] we took all these people out of Star City and Central City and [we’re] trying to figure out what the consequence of that is because clearly you know they are influential figures and when you pull them out of the time-line you want to do that Ghost of Christmas future where you get to walk through your life and see what difference or worse, ‘Did I not make a difference? Did nobody notice I was gone?’”
The Problem With Time Travel. Klemmer understands that making a show about time travel could lead to some tricky situations. He addressed this by saying that “I think the one thing you can’t do on our show is you can’t keep returning to the same spot and treat it like GROUNDHOG DAY. So the idea is [that if you run into a situation where you go] ‘Oh, sniper! Oh, my head explodes!’ you can’t be like, ‘Let’s get back on the Wave Rider [and then say] Phil, duck [next time around].’ If you keep returning to the same spot, that’s when you create a paradox….That is our way of not having you get-out-of-jail-free card.”
What Should Fans Know about LEGENDS OF TOMORROW? Garber hinted that “I think they should know that it’s massive. It’s very action-based. I think it’s as close to a motion picture as I’ve ever done on television. It’s huge. The scope is enormous and I think it’s visually very exciting.”
Don’t miss the series premiere of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW on January 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.