DC's Legends of Tomorrow boss finally reveals how Zari has changed in season 5
EW has an exclusive first look at the Legends' trips to revolutionary France with Marie Antoinette and Elizabethan England with William Shakespeare.
Warning: This article contains spoilers from Tuesday’s season 5 premiere of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
New year, new Zari.
In the season 4 finale of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, the titular super-screwups publicly defeated the demon Neron, thus erasing the dystopian future from whence cynical hacktivist Zari (Tala Ashe) initially came. In the new timeline, not only is Zari’s brother, Behrad (Shayan Sobhian) alive, but he joined the Legends crew way back in season 3 instead of her; however, the season 5 premiere ended with Nate (Nick Zano) discovering a message Zari left before she disappeared asking him to find her, but alas he has no idea who she is. Although Ashe is still part of the cast, she’ll be playing a radically different version of Zari in season 5: She’s now a famous social media influencer.
“Zari 2.0, for the last two years, has been running her giant media empire and personal brand like a Kardashian, while her brother’s been running around secretly saving the world,” says Legends of Tomorrow co-showrunner Phil Klemmer in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, explaining that little Zari essentially became famous after the events at Heyworld last year. “The cruel irony is that all Zari 1.0 wanted was for her brother not to die and her parents not to die and her future to not be this terrible, intolerant place, and she succeeded at all those things, but despite all of the things she fixed, their relationship isn’t as great as it is between many siblings. She was like a child star, effectively, and Behrad had to live under her shadow.”
Even with a new personality, Zari still winds up back on the Waverider. In the season’s fourth episode (Feb. 18), titled “A Head of Her Time,” she heads out on her (second) first mission with the team and travels to revolutionary France, as you can see in the exclusive first look image above. There, she encounters Marie Antoinette, one of the historical baddies (a.k.a. fame-hungry Encores) that Astra (Olivia Swann) released from hell at the end of season 4.
Unlike other Encores they encounter, the beheaded French queen doesn’t return “with any army or with dastardly plans for conquest,” says Klemmer. “Instead of chopping people’s heads off in revenge, [we thought] it would be a more nuanced revenge where she would create this nightmarish party that never stopped.”
Luckily, Zari feels right at home at Versailles because of her stardom. “She’s like, ‘Oh, I know exactly what this is. I’ve been to enough parties, I know enough divas to understand that it takes a diva to take a diva down,” he says.
These Encores also presented the writers with an interesting obstacle. “Our challenge was finding historical villains that you could still have fun with. Because there are some baddies where there’s no way of encountering them and finding a Legends episode [for them],” he admits. “For us, dealing with notions like fame and social influencers, we wanted to find those charismatic baddies. We do have our straight-up psychopaths as well.”
However, the Encores don’t hog all of the show’s attention. There’s also a search for the “MacGuffin of the year.” In episode 7 (March 10), as pictured above, that quest leads Sara (Caity Lotz), Mick (Dominic Purcell), and the rest of the gang to Elizabethan England with William Shakespeare, who has a history with one of the heroes.
“We wanted to just give Matt Ryan and Tala Ashe a chance to do Romeo and Juliet because both of them are very accomplished Shakespearean actors,” says Klemmer. “[This] is an example of how small-stakes Legends can be, because we really spend a huge portion of the episode just trying to put on a Shakespeare play and help Will find his pen again.”
Sounds like these wacky delights will have delightful ends.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on The CW.
A version of this story appears in the February 2020 issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands beginning Friday or available here now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.