As I pointed out in my piece on the Legends of Tomorrow creators commenting on “Peak Superhero TV” and the show’s family atmosphere, Legends is proving itself to indeed be at least bigger than mother shows The Flash and Arrow at least by way of its CW panel at TCA. Twelve members of the cast and four producers were on hand to talk about the show, and what will make it different from its predecessors. One of the main themes addressed was how Legends will have lighter tone. Arthur Darvill, who stars as the series’ reluctant leader Rip Hunter, said,
“I think only through lightness does the darkness get highlighted. And I think Rip does have a sense of humor […] Rip only expects this show to last for one episode. And when it starts to kind of fall apart, he’s really frustrated. But he doesn’t want to spend any time with these people. He hasn’t chosen it because he likes them, and there is a job to do, so I enjoy the balance.”
Producer Phil Klemmer added,
“I mean, Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell), for instance, not to single anyone out, is just like a bull in a china shop. He couldn’t care about the future. And, you know, the fun comes from these people, you know, not just trying to pull together to, you know, save the world, but having to like exist on a spaceship together. And, to me, that’s like some of the most fun, is just them ‑‑ because it’s like the most dysfunctional family you can imagine.”
Brandon Routh, who plays Ray Palmer / The Atom, suggested that for his character (who tends more positive), it’s nice to have “characters like Mick Rory, and Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller), to help Ray see the other side of life, and to kind of find some balance, because sometimes positivity needs to be grounded a little bit. But it’s a lot of fun to be able to bring that type of energy to the show.”
Caity Lotz, whose character the Sara Lance / Black Canary (soon to be White Canary, which is of course a visual shift to lightness) originated on Arrow, also spoke about the big tonal changes coming from that show,
“I’ve definitely noticed a big difference. I mean, Arrow can be pretty dark. And Sara, out of all the characters, was pretty dark; [there was] 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. And 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 […] It’s been a nice exploration in finding that with Sara, kind of the levity and the lighter moments.”
Still, it’s important to keep the show grounded in a way that doesn’t make it go completely off the rails (you can read my review of it here, where I point out the show’s chaotic nature because of so many different characters). When asked about how he keeps his Vandal Savage from being a “mustache-twirling” villain, for instance, Casper Crump said, “playing a villain in a comic show, there’s a thin line that you have to be careful not to step over.” He also noted that he has to find a way to sympathize with the character, and even find ways to relate (and not be “I’m going to kill you all!” all of the time).
For both Falk Henschel (Carter Hall / Hawkman) and Ciara Renée (Kendra / Hawkgirl), the shift to a lighter show just felt like “a natural progression” for their characters, from being “very serious about it, yet still trying to keep a little bit of lightness to it,” as Henschel noted. Renée agreed, saying the two have a similar trajectory. “[Kendra] was just passing through those tones to sit where she’s supposed to be in Legends, where I think we’re starting to see a more realized version of her.”
As far as whether or not the shows will connect again with the series they launched from, executive producer Greg Berlanti explained,
“Because they’re a band of time-traveling rogues, as it were, it’s harder for Arrow and Flash to be connected story-wise 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. […] I would say the same thing applies if you like comic books or don’t like comic books, in general, hopefully, the show in and of itself is interesting and dynamic for the people that just show up.”
Legends of Tomorrow premieres Thursday, January 21st on the CW.