Legends of Tomorrow boss teases big changes ahead in season 3
After breaking time in the season 2 finale, the Legends of Tomorrow re-team to fix the many anachronisms — people, places, and things displaced in history — left in their wake when DC’s Legends of Tomorrow returns. But they’re no longer the only game in town as Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) establishes his own much more strict team.
“The Time Bureau is the scalpel, whereas the Legends are the chainsaw,” says executive producer Marc Guggenheim. “They do it without all the consequential damage to property and time, but probably also with a lot less fun.” How will the Legends handle this new turn of events, especially with a new team member in future hacker Zari (Tala Ashe) joining the fray? Read our full interview with Guggenheim below to get the scoop.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Where are we picking up with the team? With the introduction of the Time Bureau, are you returning to that season 1 feel that the Legends aren’t good enough?
MARC GUGGENHEIM: My hope is that we’ve touched on that at least in season 2. For us, it’s always been this consistent idea that these guys, as the saga sell says every week, they’re outcasts and misfits. We always approach the name Legends, both in terms of dialogue and in terms of the title, as ironic, because we always say, “They’re not heroes, they’re legends.” They’re something a little left of center. So what the Time Bureau represents is the proper way to do things. We say this a lot in the premiere, the Time Bureau is the scalpel, whereas the Legends are the chainsaw. They fix time, but they’re not pretty about it and they break a lot of eggs on the way to their omelets, whereas the Time Bureau is much more proper and they turn sharp corners and they do it without all the consequential damage to property and time, but probably also with a lot less fun.
Can you describe the difference between anachronisms and aberrations?
The way we describe anachronisms is it’s people, places, and things that are displaced in time, which is different from aberrations, which was like something happened, it wasn’t supposed to happen, or something didn’t happen that was supposed to happen. We did that last year. This is people, places, and things that shouldn’t be where they are.
So how much harder are they to fix than aberrations?
I wouldn’t say that they’re harder or easier. I would just say they are very different, because what makes the stories more interesting is it’s not just about whether or not Julius Cesar is removed from his time and you’ve got to put him back in the box, it’s what did he do when he was displaced that has screwed things up? So now there’s multiple problems to solve.
The Time Masters were controlling time. Is the Time Bureau much more about following the rules?
Yeah. Well, they were founded by Rip, and he was always telling the Legends, “You’ve got to follow the rules. You got to be careful.” The Time Bureau is his wish fulfillment. It’s like, “Finally!” The Time Masters were kind of immoral, so the Time Bureau isn’t. They’re very law-abiding and moral. The Legends were screw-ups. The Time Bureau isn’t. They’re super-efficient and professional, so this is the best iteration that Rip could ask for. The example we always use is it’s like Beverly Hills Cop. The Beverly Hills Police Department is an awesome, awesome institution. They turn sharp corners also and they’re very proper and always doing the right thing, but every now and again you need Axel Foley to really get things done. That relationship, the antagonism between Axel Foley and the Beverly Hills Police Department, is kind of what we’re going for in season 3 with Legends and the Time Bureau.
You’re doing another group of villains this year. Did Damien Darhk take note from the Legion of Doom in creating this new cabal?
I wouldn’t say that. I would say that he’s definitely learned from all of his mistakes, because this is a Damien that is not only post-Legends season 2, it’s also a Damien that’s post-Arrow season 4.
Why does he decide to create this group? What is he after?
Oh. I can’t. Come on. That’s the season. That would be like if a year ago I said, “Oh, the Legion of Doom want to get the Spear of Destiny so they can rewrite reality.”
Fair, but he came in with pretty grandiose plan when he was on Arrow. He literally wanted to destroy the world.
Yes, but I didn’t tell you that for a while.
Does he have similar motivations?
Suffice it to say, he has a very specific plan and a very specific agenda, and part of the fun of the season, of course, is our slow reveal of what that is.
How does bringing in Kuasa emotionally mess with Amaya? But also, how does that affect time and whether her village is destroyed?
Well, this is one of the central themes and questions of the season, which is we really want to explore the question of — for the last two years, certainly last year, the Legends were all about fixing time, but they’ve never actually taken the extra step of actually improving time and engineering history. If you’re going to go back in time and you’re going to fix history, what’s wrong with tweaking a little bit and improving it a little bit? And with Amaya having a granddaughter who is “evil,” that really personalizes that question, because it really dramatizes what could be a rather heady debate in a very, very grounded personal way, which is it’s not about just fixing time, which is this esoteric concept, it’s about fixing one specific person. At least for Amaya, obviously.
Did the events of the Vixen animated series happen for her? Because she died, and also, at one point, fought alongside Ray Palmer. Is that going to be addressed?
Yes, it will. I think if you go back and you look at Vixen season 2, I wouldn’t exactly call her fighting alongside Ray. She’s always been morally questionable, but I think that’s what makes it interesting as far as Amaya’s concerned is Ray would accurately, at the appropriate moment in the season, tell her like there were moments when Kuasa was capable of selfless good. So I think that gives Amaya a little bit of hope. We’re very much beholden to the stories that were told in Vixen season 2, and our approach is very similar to the Marvel movies where you didn’t have to watch Civil War to appreciate Spider-Man: Homecoming. You get a little bit extra, but they give you all the information that you need to watch that movie. You didn’t have to watch Civil War. It’s the same thing. I would love for everyone to watch Vixen season 2, because I’m really, really proud of it, but we’ll provide all the information you need.
Can you talk about some of the time periods you’re going through, and also some of the historical figures you guys will be introducing?
For us, it’s always a balance because we don’t want the show to turn into the historical figure of the week. That was something that was always at the forefront of our mind, certainly starting in season 2. It’s a tonnage question, and also the way you see them. Like for example, in episode 302, P.T. Barnum is a major character in the episode. There are other episodes where we may see a historical figure just as a one-off joke. There’s a bunch of different ways for us to do it, but we really do have to calibrate the number of instances and the different ways we do it. Otherwise, I think the show risks being very predictable and formulaic and we obviously never want to do that.
What can you tell us about Zari and her journey this season?
When we meet Zari, her brother will have been killed and the rest of her family is presumed missing. However, when she joins the Legends, she is surprised to learn that their rules prevent her from using time travel to save her brother. A computer hacker by training, Zari then sets out to see if she can find a loophole to these rules and, essentially, hack time.
What’s in store for Sara this season?
Sara’s really come into her own, and in many ways I think Sara probably best dramatizes the overall arc that the Legends have gone on, which is she’s found her place as the captain of the Wave Rider, so unlike last season where it was a little bit of a learning curve, she’s happy to be the captain. At the same time, it was really fundamentally her idea and her decision to violate the prime directive of the show and have the Legends travel back to a time that they had already participated in, thereby breaking time. So one of the things that hangs over the whole year, not as a pall, but just as another layer to Sara’s already complicated character, is the fact that she has some measure of responsibility for all the anachronisms that they are dealing with.
What will we see for Ray?
We feel like Ray functions best when he’s the beacon of light of the show. We’ve done dark stuff with Ray before — we did it on Arrow, done it occasionally on Legends, particularly in season 1. Ray’s a lot like the show itself, which is you can occasionally go a little dark, but the show really lives in the light and it lives in the fun. The thing about Ray is that he really does find the bright side in everything and I think that’s why he’s so lovable.
What about for Stein?
We’re really continuing Stein’s story this year from last year, which is last year he discovered he had a daughter and this year he’s really feeling the tension of what does it mean to be away from his family on this time ship? It’s something we actually talked about in the very first episode when Stein decided to leave and go aboard the Wave Rider with Rip. I describe Stein’s storyline this year as something we’ve always flirted with and made little nods to here and there, but never truly, truly dealt with, and never really dramatized in a significant way. We’re doing that this year given the fact that he now has this daughter, and how that is a pull back for him to 2017.
It’s very hard to talk about Stein without talking about Jackson, vice versa, because they are tied together. So one of the things that’s really interesting to us is they’re like Siamese twins, and what happens when one wants to go left and the other wants to go right? And if you watch the trailer, you’ll see that Ray and Jax are paired up as Siamese twins in P.T. Barnum’s circus. That’s not random. That’s part of Jax coming to realize that, wow, this decision to be time-traveling superheroes, it’s not just the decision that Jax is making for himself, it’s a decision he’s making for Stein.
What about for Amaya?
Clearly the elephant in the room, no pun intended, with Amaya is this destiny that she learned about at the end of season 2. We really didn’t have the screen time to tell the story of what does it mean to discover that you’ve got this destiny and if you don’t fulfill this destiny that your village will be lost and the world will be short one superhero? So we’re really exploring that this year in a fun way, and we’re certainly exploring it from the vantage point of how does that affect her relationship with Nate?
Speaking of, what’s next for Nate?
Nate’s just a blast. This year really sees Nate embracing the superhero side of his life. Last year, he functioned very much as the historian, he was always providing the historical exposition, and there’s certainly an element of that in his character this year, but we’re really leaning into the Citizen Steel superhero side of him. We are also having a lot of run with his relationship with Ray. There’s this budding bromance that’s a lot of fun to play between those two guys.
And lastly, what’s coming for Mick?
Mick’s a lot of fun to write this year because of the story we told with him last year. Last year, by the end of the season, we pretty much had him come to terms with the fact that he thinks they’re lame, he thinks being a hero is lame, but gosh darn it, these people are his team and they’re his crew and he’s going to back them up. So what I think is a lot of fun about Rory is he’s sort of the most unadulterated version of Rory that we’ve seen on the show thus far, because he’s not conflicted by any questions of loyalty. He’s still Mick, and he’s still a criminal, and he’s still all the things you love about him, but we’re not playing this — like we said in the season premiere last year — “What am I doing on the show?” He knows the answer to that question. He may not be happy with the answer, but he’s at least moved on from it. It takes a character who’s already, I think, one of the funniest aspects of the show and makes him even funnier.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow returns Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 9 p.m. ET on the CW.