‘Legends of Tomorrow’ EP Marc Guggenheim on Introducing the Justice Society, Bringing Back Damien Darhk

     October 20, 2016

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On the next episode of The CW series Legends of Tomorrow, entitled “The Justice Society of America,” the Legends travel to Nazi-occupied Paris to help save the Justice Society of America (JSA), who are not at all interested in having any help. At the same time, Martin Stein (Victor Garber) has stepped in as leader with Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) gone, but when he finds that task harder than he ever could have imagined, the team looks to Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) to call the shots.

Following a screening of Episode 202 at the offices of The CW, executive producer Marc Guggenheim did a Q&A where he talked about how they have a way to keep the JSA involved with the story, Easter eggs in the JSA headquarters, creating the superhero costumes for the new characters, the continued search for Rip Hunter, Sara Lance as a leader, Nate Heywood’s (Nick Zano) evolving role on the team, the Legion of Doom, and when viewers might see some familiar faces. Be aware that there are some spoilers discussed.

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Image via The CW

Question: How are you going to keep including the Justice Society of America, since the Legends can’t keep going back to 1942?

MARC GUGGENHEIM: You are absolutely correct. I don’t want to spoil too much. I will say that we do go back to 1987 and we’ll meet a much older version of Obsidian, who is going to be played by Lance Henriksen. That’s one way. And then, we have another device up our sleeves that I don’t want to spoil because it deals with stuff that is pathology-based in the back half of the year.

How much fun was it to create the JSA headquarters with all of the Easter eggs?

GUGGENHEIM: I pulled a lot of comic book references for the art department. I really, really wanted it to have that brownstone look, chock full of trophies. And for sure, at the top of my list was a table with the Justice Society emblem on it. As far as the various different Easter eggs, those were actually all the brainchildren of the art department and the set dressers. Sometimes I’ll specifically call something out because I want to see X, Y or Z in there, but I didn’t do that with this. I think they did an amazing job. That’s a real location that we brought in set dressing for. We didn’t build that as a set.

Because the JSA are in the 1940s, did you have more freedom in having the costumes more closely reflect the comic books?

GUGGENHEIM: For the first time, Maya Mani, who is our superhero costume designer, across The Flash, Arrow and Legends, was busy building all the new suits, for not just Legends, but The Flash and Arrow, as well. So, Vicky Mulholland, our costume designer on Legends, took the lead on Dr. Mid-Nite, Obsidian and Stargirl, and that was new for us. We felt a certain amount of lee-way. It also depends upon the costume. I think Stargirl’s costume is just so iconic, but also so easily adaptable. It’s a different kind of costume than Dr. Mid-Nite or Obsidian, where you may need to take a bit more license to translate it to live-action. There some costumes that are very easy to translate, like Wild Dog, and then there are other costumes that require a little bit more work. It totally depends on the nature of the design.

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Image via The CW

Will the team take a more active role in trying to find Rip Hunter?

GUGGENHEIM: That’s going to be something that’s always going on in the background, and in some cases the foreground of various episodes, to a certain extent. We don’t want to change the mission statement from fixing aberrations to going and saving Rip, but the bat has been taken out of their hands, in the sense that there’s no way to find Rip, so what can they do? Even if they said that priority number one was finding Rip, I don’t know how they would go about it, given the nature of Rip’s disappearance.

Will we know what’s happened to Rip before the Legends do?

GUGGENHEIM: You will find out before the Legends do.

Thank you for reminding us that Victor Garber is a Broadway star and having him sing in this episode. How did that come about?

GUGGENHEIM: It’s really funny, the way that came about was that we had Greg [Berlanti] in and we were pitching him that the Legends infiltrate this cabaret in Nazi-occupied Paris, and he was like, “Well, you’ve gotta have Victor sing!” I jokingly shot back to him, “What, he sings ‘Edelweiss’?” And he was like, “Yes, do that!” So, that’s what we ended up doing. We love Victor. We love it when he sings. Greg and I got to do a lot of that with Victor on Eli Stone. In fact, the process of getting Victor on tape for the song was very similar to our process with Eli. We even had Blake Neely, the composer on Eli and on Legends, Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl, fly up to Vancouver and work with Victor on the actual recording. It was just like we were putting the old machinery back in motion. That was one of our all-time favorite scenes. It’s such a joy to see Victor sing. It had been awhile since he’d sung on camera, and he was like, “Wow, I’ve gotta remember how to do this again.”

Can you talk about Sara Lance taking on the leadership role for the team?

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Image via The CW

GUGGENHEIM: It’s funny, you come up with character journeys for the season and sometimes they work out better than you ever expected, like with Sara, and there are other times that are worse than you ever expected, like with Kendra and Ray. I will say that I’ve gotta give a lot of props to Caity Lotz. As you start to see her become more and more comfortable with being the leader of this rag-tag group, it’s so much fun to watch her. The character is embodying the role of leader, and Caity’s performance really embraces it. It turns out to be one of the most successful things that we’ve done in Season 2. I’m super excited about it.

What can you say about Nate developing powers and how unpredictable they might be, as he figures out how to use them?

GUGGENHEIM: One of the reasons why we wanted to bring the character of Nate into the show was that we wanted to play with something that The Flash got the chance to really play with in Season 1, which is the fun of telling an origin story for a hero. In the evolution of a hero, there are all these fun seminal moments that we wanted to put our own Legends spin on. Part of that is discovering you have powers, part of it is learning how to control those powers, and part of it is the first time you go out in costume, part of it is the first time you fail, and part of it is the first time you realize you have a weakness. We want to be able to tell all those different kinds of stories. You can safely assume the reason we brought in Nate was so that we could tell those kinds of stories, including the unpredictable nature of his powers. The next episode, 203, really shows how difficult it is for Nate to get his powers under control.

We’ve seen two members of Legion of Doom, with Damien Darhk and Eobard Thawne. What can you say about when and how we might see the other two members, Malcolm Merlyn and Captain Cold?

GUGGENHEIM: We’re going to see Malcolm Merlyn join the Legion in Episode 208, which is our mid-season finale. You’ll also see John in Arrow Episode 508, which is the 100th episode. You’ll see Neal McDonough back as Damien Darhk in the 100th episode. You’ll also see Wentworth Miller back in Episode 208.

You’ve had a handful of your actors sign overall deals to appear on the various shows. How are you utilizing that?

GUGGENHEIM: We did it to make our lives easier, and not to give us another box to check off. In the case of Katie Cassidy, we have a way for her to appear on Arrow, a way for her to appear on Legends, and a way for her to appear on The Flash. It’s great to have that flexibility and that storytelling ability. Same thing with John Barrowman and Wentworth Miller’s characters, particularly since John and Wentworth play two members of the Legion of Doom on Legends. For us, it’s about freeing ourselves up, and not obligating ourselves more.

Legends of Tomorrow airs on Thursday nights on The CW.

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