On The CW series Legends of Tomorrow, Time Master Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) travels 150 years back into the past from2166, to assemble a carefully selected team of heroes and rogues that he hopes will be able to stop the immortal villain Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) and save the world from total chaos and destruction. If they’re ever going to succeed, this team must find common ground and a way to work together.
While at the TCA Press Tour, actress Ciara Renée (“Kendra Saunders”/“Hawkgirl”) spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about what she most enjoys about playing this character, getting to see herself with wings, exploring the woman and the superhero, being the protector, finding dynamics within this team, and who Kendra just can’t get along with. Be aware that there are some spoilers.
Collider: What have you most enjoyed about getting to play Hawkgirl?
CIARA RENEE: As an actor, it’s been a challenge. I’ve gotten to, in flashbacks, play other versions of myself, and I might meet other versions of myself. As an actor, it’s an awesome challenge to decide how you would change in 4,000 years, or if you would, at all. Also, who doesn’t want to be a superhero? I get to fly. I get to be up on wires. To see yourself transformed with wings, and the effects that go into it, it’s pretty stunning. The first time I saw it, I was like, “Woah, we have wings! That’s amazing!”
Is that something you ever get used to?
RENEE: No, I’m never used to it, at all. It’s like, “Oh, right, yeah, I have big, huge wings!” It’s totally different. It changes how you move and how you see yourself, for sure.
What’s it like to get to explore who this woman was, as a person on The Flash, while also figuring out what it means to be a superhero?
RENEE: It’s nice. I loved working on The Flash. I love the team there. I loved working with Carlos [Valdes] and Grant [Gustin]. They’re so funny and so supportive. It was really fun, getting to bounce ideas off of them, figuring out what our relationships were, and how she fit into this group. It’s interesting because we started her as a bit of a blank slate. For most of her life, she had just been feeling as if there was something else, but had no idea what it was. I think a lot of young people can relate to that.
What’s Kendra’s interest in this team?
RENEE: There’s a part of her that’s very protective. She wants to protect people. She doesn’t want to get anyone hurt. She doesn’t want to be the cause of anyone’s pain. On Arrow, she was like, “Well, what if we just kill ourselves, then nobody has to get hurt. I don’t want to risk other people.” She’s beginning to understand that her position is important and that she can protect other people. But I think the biggest draw for her is to be able to rewrite her destiny and break this cycle that they’ve been in. Not only is that helping people and stopping Vandal Savage from hurting people, but it is doing the one thing that she has always been trying to figure out for herself, and that’s her destiny. She’s hoping that she’ll get to pick it.
Can Kendra come to terms with all of her past lives, in the present?
RENEE: There’s a grounded-ness in knowing where you come from, but each of her lifetime has been totally different. Sometimes they had children, sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes they only lived to 20, sometimes they lived to 80. Everything has been very different and who she was has been very different. So, reconciling all of that into one thing is difficult for her.
Who is Hawkgirl without Hawkman?
RENEE: My hope for her is that instead of needing to be the other half of something, she can be a complete human on her own. Just in general, as human beings, we very easily fall into relationships where we get comfortable and we think, “This is who I am, in this relationship,” and not, “This is who I am, and also, I’m in this relationship.” So, I think it’s really great and it could be a really empowering storyline for females, in general, to see that a woman can be on her own, making her own choices, and finding out who she is, in some pretty super circumstances.
Will she also have to find new dynamics within the team?
RENEE: I think so. Everyone is really helping each other and has each other’s backs. We’ve all saved each other’s lives, in some capacity. I think it’s really nice for her because I don’t know if she’s had relationships like this team is becoming for her.
Do you see a friendship forming between Kendra and Sara?
RENEE: You’ll definitely see Sara interact with Kendra. Everyone wants them to be friends. I think they’re a little bit of an odd couple, but they do want to be friends. They compliment each other. Kendra is a bit lighter and more of a protector, and she wants to find good. Sara is obviously on the other end of the spectrum. But I think they definitely want us to be friends, and we want us to be friends, too.
Is there anyone on the team that Kendra really can’t get along with?
RENEE: I think the only person that Kendra really cannot get a handle on or find the good in is Mick Rory. From the very beginning, there is something about that character that has ticked her off. They haven’t really interacted, and that’s been on purpose because she doesn’t want to be around him. I think it would be a great growth point for her to see good in Rory and be forced to really have to work with him. I think that might be an interesting dynamic because, at present, she’s like, “He is lost. I don’t like him.”
What sort of relationship does Kendra develop with Rip Hunter, especially knowing that he’s hiding so much from this team?
RENEE: I think she’s weary of him. Duplicity is never a good thing, but I think she has respect for command. Even if he doesn’t always do the right thing, she respects that he is the captain and he’s leading them. He knows a lot about what’s going on with Vandal Savage, so she trusts that, at the very least.
How challenging is it to be fighting a villain that you already thought you’d taken out once before?
RENEE: He comes right on back, so we’ve gotta be a little craftier with our schemes to get rid of him. We’ll see what happens!
Legends of Tomorrow airs on Thursday nights on The CW.