EDITOR’S NOTE: These interviews were conducted before the panel presentation announcing the Legion of Doom’s role in Season 2.
Following the success of “Arrow” and “The Flash,” fans were clamoring to see more of their favorite DC Comics heroes on television, and The CW was eager to oblige. But, executive producers Phil Klemmer and Marc Guggenheim acknowledged in a series of roundtable interviews at Comic-Con International in San Diego, the rush to create an expansive new superhero show led to some significant challenges during the first season of “Legends of Tomorrow.” Now on firmer footing, the producers spoke with CBR and other members of the press about the Legends’ new mission, new faces and new focus for Season 2.
The producers were quick to take responsibility for the unevenness of “Legends,” noting that the series’ unorthodox beginnings created problems throughout the first season. “I guess the biggest lesson is, before you break a first episode, it’s really important that you take a step back and think about the ramifications of everything,” Klemmer said. “Because we didn’t do a pilot, it was like stepping on a moving train, and we didn’t know where it was headed. You can change the speed of that train, conceivably you can have people run up ahead and try to move the tracks a little bit, but it’s not easy to do. It’s much easier to do at the incubation stage.
“We really took our hiatus this year and took the show apart, and rebuilt it piece by piece. We’re much more deliberate, just thinking about where is this going to take us,” Klemmer continued. “A lot of the story of Season 1 felt like they were compulsory because we put certain story elements into motion. You killed Rip’s family, you’ve got to avenge that. We said that Vandal Savage is going to ruin the world, we’ve got to stop that. Oh, we revealed who our bad guy is, that doesn’t leave much room for mystery. ”
Guggenheim agreed that launching off of a crossover series like “Legends” without a pilot meant “we didn’t get to take the time to figure things out.” “The learning curve was… it wasn’t a curve, it was a straight line up,” he said. “So in Season 2, we’ve used the destruction of the Oculus and the Time Masters in episode 15 as a kicking off point for a brand new raison d’etre for the show and for the team. Now, they’re more like time cops. They’ve got to do the job of the Time Masters. The Time Masters are no longer a going concern, so the Legends have appointed themselves the job of making sure history is protected from time pirates. It just allows for a lot more fun.”
“In Season 2, we’re realizing we can take it slow, not showing all our cards, letting our story unfold incrementally and really indulging the mystery, and letting our villain or evil forces develop organically alongside our guys, and giving them more room to just be themselves,” Klemmer added. “Because we put such a responsibility on them saving the world, you kind of hated them if they weren’t staying on task. But frankly, the fun of the Legends is when they’re not on task. You want them grab-assing, you want them stabbing each other in the back in a fun way, you want them irresponsible. Allowing them to be the time police and allowing them to screw up, I think it’s going to be lighter — not in a frivolous way, but light in a way that allows us to explore character more than we did last year.”
Asked whether the “Flashpoint” storyline in “The Flash” would affect “Legends,” Guggenheim said it was unlikely, at least in the short term. “Can you imagine, it’s already complicated with our own characters changing time, and now Barry changed time, too?” he said. “At a point when we’re trying to relaunch the show, to also have to deal with another show’s plotline, I think it would just collapse under its own weight. You’re going to get a connection with ‘Flash’ later on in the season, but it will be different than, ‘We start off Season 2 and everything’s different because of Flashpoint.'”
Klemmer said the Justice Society, while not appearing in every episode, will be “integral to the season-long mystery,” describing the Golden Age heroes as “the antithesis of the Legends.” “We always said that ‘Legends’ is a story about a dysfunctional family, and the way we highlight that dysfunction is to have them meet the idealized version of themselves,” the producer said. “If I had to go back and join the Greatest Generation and fight at Normandy? I was just complaining about my sandwich! It had mayonnaise on it, I didn’t want mayonnaise, boo hoo. But the guys who fought at Normandy, they were getting off this vehicle and getting shot on. So our Legends are like me, Millennial babies with their own baggage and dysfunction, and all of a sudden they’re next to these Golden Age heroes who are the prototypical superheroes, and it reminds them of their own deficiencies for some of our characters. For other characters, it’s like, ‘Fuck you, guys. What’s the point of having powers if you don’t get to indulge them and use them selfishly?’ It’s a generational culture clash that we just thought would be fun. If you’re doing time travel, put them face to face with an earlier era’s version of themselves.”
Guggenheim spoke more about the new faces joining the Legends line up, noting that it was important to consider who they’re replacing on the team. “You’ve got Captain Cold, who was a criminal and out for himself. He’s replaced by Vixen, who is the definition of a superhero,” he said. “She’s a member of the Justice Society of America, she’s from the 1940s, everything is prim and proper — not stuck up, but she does things right. You have this team that doesn’t do things right, they’re a bunch of fuck-ups. So she’s interesting counterpoint. Then with Nick Zano’s character, Nate Heywood, we’re doing something we didn’t have a chance to do last year, which was introduce a character who doesn’t have superpowers, who could develop superpowers and tell a secret origin story in the body of this team of superhero. Besides which, the character is a historian, which is a helpful thing to have on a time travel show.”
“Legends of Tomorrow” Season 2 premieres October 13 on The CW.
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