Up next in The CW’s presentation at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, is the huge ensemble drama (the panel takes up two rows of almost the entire stage!) DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. In the superhero saga from The Flash/Arrow universe, an elite team of 8 heroes and villains travels through to time to stop mega-villain, Vandal Savage. As they travel through time, they have the power to change the world, and perhaps their own fates.
The superhero series premieres Thursday, Jan. 21 at 8pm ET/PT on The CW.
Brandon Routh plays the eager hero, Ray Palmer/The Atom. The good-natured Iowan says the enthusiasm says, “It’s part of my nature; It’s fun to play Ray because It’s a lot like me.”
Now that there are three inter-connected shows from the DC universe on The CW, one critic wonders if characters will move fluidly between the three. Executive producer Marc Guggenheim says that since Legends is about a band of time-traveling rogues; it’s harder for it to be connected to Arrow and The Flash throughout the season. But he says that if you already know the histories of Arrow and Flash, it should be extra-fun as the season progresses to get to know the characters. This gives us a chance to delve deeper into the characters than Arrow or Flash allowed.
The show producers reveal that while all of the series characters are part of the DC comic book universe, they’ve never been put together this way before. One shares, “
what’s interesting about the show is they’ve taken these characters and turned them into a team. There is no comic book called “Legends of Tomorrow,” the show and the title came from us.”
The rag-tag team of characters evolved around the central character of Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) Once the series had Rip Hunter as the show’s glue, they had their central narrative of time travel as the show’s focus. The series’ producers note that the comic book character of Rip Hunter predated Dr. Who.
Rip has a sense of humor, despite his dark and tragic background. He hasn’t chosen these people because he likes them; He has a job to do. That animosity between rip and his team provides as much drama as their mutual battle against Savage.
He’s having to share his time-traveling spaceship with a group of “Fun knuckleheads,” and he’s a “Time master,” so his little surgical changes to the space/time continuum are disrupted by these bulls in a china shop.
Since the show is based on the concept of time travel, a few properties of time are fudged and ignored — when necessary — although the show does have its own rules of time travel that they follow.
Whenever there are questions about how to proceed with a time travel problem, the producers look to Back to The Future, 12 Monkeys, and other cinematic examples that are pre-existing. The note, “Time travel isn’t real, so there is no real rulebook that we can follow.”
“We make rules that make good drama,” a producer noted. You can’t return to a moment that you’ve participated in actively, to prevent return to the moment over and over again until you get it right (i.e. Groundhog Day). So the stakes and consequences are real. “Perfect is boring,” says the panel.
When will the superhero genre cannibalize itself?
To prevent this probability, “The shows 1): have to be great and 2): have to be diverse and explore something new.” The panel notes that, “There are hundreds and hundreds of comics published every month and the ones that survive all explore their own worlds and explore underpinning that are metaphors for real life.”
The show’s central metaphor is one of destiny: Is my life going to matter?
The tone of the show was described by The CW president Mark Pedowitz as lighter than Arrow and The Flash, and Legends is campier and more fun.
Actress Caity Lotz says that her character Sara Lance/White Canary was dark on Arrow; there was a lot of weight and heaviness to her. She reveals that on Legends, there is a level of levity that she gets to be a part of. Her Arrow character died, so now that Sarah has come back to life, she’s seen it all/done it all.
Fresh New Clip: White Canary, Heat Wave & Captain Cold kick 1970’s butt!
The show’s CG demands are immense. The number of effects that has to be done in each episode puts it on another level of difficulty. And when you see the episodes that I have screened, you’ll agree that looks like a fully rendered feature film.
The show’s producers call this a family show and when the cast is assembled on the ship’s bridge, they become a family and have great family dynamics (a very dysfunctional family, but with pretty awesome wardrobes).
One of the producers mentioned that the cast could be fluid and that the panel’s makeup may be different in two years, which drew concerned looks from the series’ stars. So, I guess the note here is: don’t go out and spend your salary on a Maserati; your days may be numbered.
Casper Crump was asked on how he keeps Vandal Savage from becoming “Mustache Twirly.” He shares that when playing the villain in a comic, “there is a thin line that you can’t cross” and he says he’s very well-helped by a great cast and producers. He’s on his character’s side. He says, “As an actor you have to sympathies with who you’re playing. Even though Vandal Savage isn’t nice, he’s easy to understand,” so the actor takes the character seriously.
Though Dr. Martin Stein and Jefferson ‘Jax’ Jackson have tension on the series, Victor Garber and Franz Drameh are friends in real life. “I’m acting,” Garber says of their on-set drama. “I’m not a method actor.”
One of the series’ sexiest storylines is the Hawkman/Hawkgirl dynamic. Ciara Renée talks about their volatile sexual tension, “Even though they’re always butting heads, they’re always drawn together.” Falk Hentschel plays Carter Hall/Hawkman, and says, “She’s very different from what he’s used to,” but that their on-set chemistry is dynamic. “They can finally be together, which is something his character has fought for.”
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow > The CW > Thursday, Jan. 21 at 8pm ET/PT