How do you promote something you haven’t filmed yet? Or discuss storyline ideas for a TV show whose pilot script isn’t even finished yet? How do you talk about a show you’re going to be in when you have just as many questions about it as the rest of us?
That was the conundrum facing Caity Lotz (White Canary), Wentworth Miller (Captain Cold), Dominic Purcell (Heatwave) and others at Comic-Con last weekend. They were on hand to promote their forthcoming Arrow/Flash spin-off DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, but they didn’t have anything more to report about their show than they did back at the network upfronts in May when it was officially announced for a 2016 launch. At that point, Legends of Tomorrow was entirely contained in a four minute video the producers put together as their pitch to the network, potentially fooling some into believing they must have already shot a pilot episode just like any normal new show.
Nope. No pilot. That sizzle reel is all they’ve got, and it’s all they needed to get picked up to series. The same was true of The Muppets revival at ABC.
If the final moments of The Flash season finale are any indication (a forced reference to Arthur Darville’s character Rip Hunter, brief shots of Captain Cold and Hawkgirl looking up at the wormhole above Central City), both Flash and Arrow are going to do the real heavy lifting in setting up Legends of Tomorrow. And this nifty video the CW released at Comic-Con attempts to remind everyone exactly how Arrow led to the Flash which will now lead to Legends of Tomorrow. However, the video really just superimposes comic book panels over footage we’d already seen from Arrow, The Flash and the Legends of Tomorrow sizzle reel:
When someone in the media at Comic-Con asked Wentworth Miller why Captain Cold would ever join such a crazy mission he answered honestly, “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.”
My point: the actors are the wrong people to go to for Legends of Tomorrow scoop at this point. You really need to talk to the producers, which is exactly what io9 (among many others) managed to do.
So, here’s the real scoop:
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 going 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.
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.
So, to sum up:
- Don’t call it an anthology, but the plan is for each season to be heavily serialized
- It will most definitely be a time travel show meaning we could be heading back into the past and seeing younger versions of Arrow/Flash characters
- However, they will not use the time travel to retcon the events of the other shows.
- Sara’s resurrection will be dealt with on Arrow well before Legends of Tomorrow. The same likely goes for Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer, and Hawkgirl and even Hawkman will also be dealt with prior to the Legends premiere.
- The team dynamic sounds like they’re going for a Suicide Squad/Guardians of the Galaxy vibe
- Some characters might get lost in time along the way
I still marvel that Green Arrow Begins (how I think of Arrow Season 1) has now led to a “quippiy, wisecrack-y” time travel-centric spin-off, and worry about a group of producers who are probably stretching themselves too thin. However, SyFy’s 12 Monkeys has renewed my faith in the chances of time-travelling TV shows. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow could, in fact be legen….wait for it.
And keep waiting for it because we aren’t seeing this thing anytime soon, January 2016. In fact, maybe wait for them to really figure everything out for sure, and for the actors to start seeing some scripts.