The universe is about to get safer. Well, at the very least, more interesting. Rip Hunter has traveled 150 years into his past, to our present, in order to assemble a team of heroes and villains to fight the immortal known as Vandal Savage. The newest DC Comics series, Legends of Tomorrow, will bring quite the oddball team together in the confines of Rip Hunter’s spaceship for a chaotic bounce around the timeline. Things are poised to go wrong in so many ways. During a set visit in Vancouver, we talked to series executive producer Phil Klemmer and some of the cast about the inevitable hijinks ahead… okay, maybe no one used the word “hijinks” except me. But it applies!
The Legends of Tomorrow roster is impressive. The team is composed of Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), Professor Martin Stein (Victor Garber), Jefferson “Jax” Jackson (Franz Drameh), Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller), Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell), Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renée), Carter Hall (Falk Hentschel), and Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill). Phew. Though the team members may not be crazy about splitting living quarters, their residence is incredible. Hunter’s ship Wave Rider is gorgeous. The set stretches on and on with metallic hallways, Rip Hunter’s parlor, and the bridge—it doesn’t look quite like anything I’ve seen. The design adds to the epic setting. As Klemmer said, Legends is a complicated affair. The characters appear in other DC series, which makes telling the story a logistical challenge. Klemmer called the premiere episode, “the most epic television undertaking that I think I’ve ever been involved with.”
Though the story has the high stakes that come along with heroes and villains taking on an immortal, they’ll be focusing just as much on the human elements. Klemmer mentioned that this show is different from other comic book series because of the domestic aspect.
He explained, “The fact that everybody has to live together under the same roof, even though it’s a traveling-through-space-and-time roof, it does give them the sort of milieu of Big Brother or a reality show with mismatched people trying to cohabitate. I really find that part of the show delightful, because it’s like a reality show about superheroes. You can have very, very human…’I wanna fucking kill you ’cause you finished off the peanut butter’ moments, which you wouldn’t normally get in an Avengers movie.” Klemmer continued, “You get to live with them around the clock, and not just in moments of high drama and heroism. You get to live with them at the, sort of, most banal and human. That’s fun for me to write.”
Being in such close quarters on a regular basis likely adds to the stress. This is a team hanging in a precarious balance anyway. Hunter pulled the group together for pointed reasons, but Arthur Darvill said the character realizes the group is in danger of falling apart at any moment: “I always describe it as, I think he always thinks it’s going to last for one episode. He thinks he’s going to get them, they’re going to go defeat Vandal Savage, and then they can all go home and he won’t have to see these people ever again. He’s chosen them for their specific skill set and not necessarily for their personality types. It turns out that it’s gonna take a little longer than he thought.
Darvill continued, “So, it’s really tough at times. Trust is a big issue. I think trust is the main issue, actually, and just keeping everyone in check. I don’t think he wants to become some kind of guidance counselor. They’ve still got a job to do, and it escalates. The whole thing escalates.”
The multiple strong personalities on Wave Rider will have to find a way to work together. Brandon Routh said Ray is, aptly, sort of like the group’s ray of sunshine: “He’s the optimistic side for sure… most of the time. I think he’s helping the villains understand another side of life, but they’re doing a really interesting job in helping him understand the other side of life. You have these polar opposites, and they come together and this kind of magic happens, which is fun. Ray thinks he can do and solve pretty much anything, and he gets in over his head a couple of times. And he’s saved by, maybe, [unexpected] people.”
What about someone like Professor Stein who is sometimes a little aloof? Victor Garber said he’ll settle right in, “Stein’s participation in this—first of all, I am the oldest person and arguably one of the smartest. And therefore there’s, as you may know, a touch of arrogance and hubris about Stein that does get him in some hot water with his partner, with Jefferson Jackson, and with the other people on the ship. Then you’ve got Snart and Rory, and it’s a really interesting dynamic. Stein is necessary for this to all function except that he can be difficult.”
Garber also touched on why he’s into the series. “It’s really a family drama. Everyone is a superhero and can do these things… but for me, what interests me about all these shows is the human aspect of it. The connections and who gets along and who doesn’t and why and all the psychological things.”
We’ll see Stein and Jefferson develop a relationship as they become adjusted to working together. We met Franz Drameh’s Jefferson in The Flash, and Drameh said he adores working with Garber. “The dynamic between Jax and Stein… they’re at loggerheads quite a lot. I mean they’re two completely different people in the way that they think and the way that they act. It’s a lot of fun, them bouncing back and forth between each other and having little disputes and disagreements.” Drameh briefly mentioned that he’d been doing a lot of wire work and stunt work for the series, which he loves because he was in the London Youth Circus. He did everything during his time in the circus from flying trapeze to acrobatics to tightrope-walking.
Speaking of stunt work, Darvill said he underwent some martial arts training and has worked with the stunt team for fight sequences on Legends. He tapped into understanding Hunter as a fighter: “He can just take care of himself like [it’s his] job, which means he’s had to keep the peace. He’s pissed off quite a few people, I think, over the years. He has to be able to take care of himself…Everywhere [they travel] is kind of at war, and there are big things at stake. I think that breeds a type of person who naturally has more of a fighting instinct in them.”
While the group fights and figures out the best way to live with each other, they’ll be bouncing backward and forward through time to hunt and try to stop Vandal Savage. Klemmer said, “One thing that is interesting to explore: We took all these people out of Star City and Central City and [it’s] trying to figure out what the consequence of that is. Because clearly they are influential figures. And when you pull them out of the time line, you want to do that Ghost of Christmas Future [thing] where you get to walk through your life and see what’s different or worse [and ask], ‘Did I not make a difference? Did nobody notice I was gone?'”
Legends of Tomorrow will premiere on January 21 at 8p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
IMAGES: The CW
The trip to the Legends of Tomorrow set was provided by Warner Bros.t