Exploring "Legends of Tomorrow's" New Time Travel Rules, Character Diversity & More

The assorted heroes and producers behind The CW's upcoming "Legends of Tomorrow" gathered over the weekend for a presentation at the Winter 2016 TCA press tour. Over the course of the panel, the cast and crew offered insight into how the "Arrow" and "Flash" spinoff series will interact with the rest of the CW's shared superhero universe, and the producers even established a set of rules for how time travel works in the new show.

"We try and exist by the rules that we sort of establish for ourselves," said Executive Producer Greg Berlanti. "I think what's always our real goal in all of it is to make something emotionally true and truthful for the characters. That being said, whenever we have conversations about time travel in the room, I always break it down to I always ask my questions in terms of is this like 'Back to the Future,' you know, or is it like '12 Monkeys'? And use other examples that kind of pre-existed, because as Andrew kind of always says, as far as we know, time travel is not real. So there's really -- if there were an actual rule book we could read and learn, we would follow that. But, you know, we try and follow whatever rules we establish for ourselves. And because we have an advantage of, all of these characters are learning about it, too, as they go along, we're hoping that as we go along and we kind of establish a certain set of rules for ourselves, some of which we have established pre established in 'Flash,' that the audience is learning it too."

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Executive Producer Phil Klemmer narrowed down the rules they've set, explaining the characters "can't return to a moment that you participated in actively." This was done so the show "didn't turn into 'Groundhog Day' when we made a horrible mistake or, for instance, if somebody dies, that we couldn't just hit the reset button and go back to the moment of their death and keep doing it again and again and again until we get something right, because it's important to have real stakes and real consequences and real deaths on the show. We didn't want to make it easy for ourselves by just using time travel as a chance to get things perfect, because, yeah, perfect's boring."

When it comes to crossing over with "Arrow" and "The Flash," Executive Producer Berlanti says they will be "intermittent throughout. Also, because they're a band of time-traveling rogues, as it were, it's harder for 'Arrow' and 'Flash' to be connected storywise to it throughout the season. That being said, if you know the histories of 'Arrow' and 'Flash,' it should be, you know, extra fun in its own way as we delve deeper and deeper into the characters' lives."

The show will also feature a tone previously unseen on any of the CW's DC shows. Caity Lotz, who has played Sara Lance on both "Arrow" and now "Legends," has experienced the difference firsthand. "'Arrow' can be pretty dark," Lotz said, "and Sara, out of all the characters, was pretty dark, [with] a lot of weight and a lot of heaviness to her. And with 'Legends,' there's a levity that Sara never got to live in before. I think after dying and coming back to life, and she's kind of seen it all, and there's like a new attitude that she gets to have where it's like, whatever goes. And I really enjoyed, like, there's that picture. That scene was really fun. She's actually high in that picture. [Laughs] It's like fun things like that. It's been a nice exploration in finding that with Sara, kind of the levity and the lighter moments."

"Legends" will also explore new characters, like Ciara Renee's Hawkgirl and Falk Hentschel's Hawkman. Despite being reincarnated lovers, Renee teased Kendra Saunders won't immediately fall in love (again) with Carter Hall.

"I don't think we got enough time [on 'The Flash' and 'Arrow'], really, for [Hawkman] to change her mind because she's a bit stubborn in not really wanting to know, wanting to remember this stuff," said Renee. "She doesn't really have a choice, because ultimately the memories do come back. But, I think, perhaps this version of Hawkgirl is a version Hawkman hasn't quite seen before, because she really is not falling for it and they bicker quite a lot. But you can tell even through their fighting that there's an underlying passion, that even though they're butting heads, they're always drawn together in that way."

The show's cast will also be more like a family when compared to the other shows, said EP Berlanti. "[T]he big discovery for me in this show is how much of a show, of a family show it really is," said Berlanti. "It reminds me a lot of some of the family shows I've done. Whenever this group of characters is on a bridge, talking about their adventures, either prior to or after, there's sort of this dysfunctional family. And I'm not sure I had that thought or any of us did as we sort of ventured out. But it was really a desire, a dual desire to sort of again access all of this wonderful talent that we're fortunate enough to be working with. And also, we looked at the landscape and thought that there really wasn't a real classic kind of team-up show in this genre."

Berlanti also said while the show's cast is a diverse one, there's still more work to be done.

"[S]ince we started out doing 'Arrow' and since, diversity has been we've said, and we'll say it again, our heroes are only they need to represent the people that they're saving, and the world isn't singularly white. And so, yeah, that's a desire. It makes the storytelling more interesting. It allows for us to go to more interesting places and keep working with better and better talent," said Berlanti. "That being said, I think everybody can take things even further. I don't think we, by any means, look at this ensemble and think it's even as diverse as it should be or could be even another two or three years from now in front of and behind the camera. That's a real I think it's a real conversation point right now in Hollywood because it should be, and people should be talking about it and doing as much as they can to change the landscape."

Asked if this means we may see a different lineup of heroes in "Legends" in a season or two, Berlanti said, "Sure. That would be great. I think, again, we don't just do it just to do that too. I think the characters sort of speak to us and we try and figure it out, but sure."

"Legends of Tomorrow" premieres on the CW on Thursday, January 21.

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