When Legends of Tomorrow returns for Season 2 on The CW on October 13th, the defeat of the immortal villain Vandal Savage and the corrupt Time Masters who conspired with him has left the team scattered throughout time. Once reunited, the Legends must continue their new mission to protect the timeline from unusual changes to history that can spawn potentially catastrophic consequences, all while clashing with foes from the past and present, to save the world from a mysterious new threat.
While at The CW portion of the TCA Summer Press Tour, executive producer Marc Guggenheim spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about where things are headed in Season 2, what’s next for the core team of Legends, wanting to explore more than one big bad, sharing characters among the interconnected series, the Legion of Doom, and the Justice Society of America. Be aware that there are some spoilers.
MARC GUGGENHEIM: Oh, totally! The show has so many challenges, and certainly one of them has been that the show can be anything, so what’s it gonna be? That’s one of the reasons why we approach the season by figuring out, what is the team’s mission statement? What is the raison d’être of the show? Once you have that structure, that does help narrow your focus. We kind of knew what we wanted to do. We planted the seeds for this, at the end of last season, when in the season finale, Rip said, “The Time Masters are gone. Someone else needs to protect history.” The Legends appointed themselves because we knew we wanted them to basically be acting as time cops. That’s fundamentally what they’re doing, and that structure, while loose, helps focus us.
You had one mission and one big bad in Season 1. Did you want to bring in more and expand the world, in that way?
GUGGENHEIM: The thing for us was that we wanted to come up with a framework that would allow us to not focus on one big bad. As a result, Season 2 of Legends is a lot more the way that Arrow and The Flash have always been designed. There is a season-long mythology and a season-long big bad that we’re building up to, but unlike Season 1 of Legends, it’s not where you’re starting. It’s something that slowly unfolds, and there’s an element of mystery to it. In that sense, it’s a lot more like Arrow and The Flash are.
Where is your core team at now?
GUGGENHEIM: When we pick up with them, it’s six months later and they’ve been policing time for six months. Everyone is in a little bit of a different place. Sara has a secret agenda that relates to the death of her sister on Arrow last year. Rip is a little lighter. He’s no longer as burdened by the death of his wife and son. Ray is really enjoying being a time cop. He’s the one who aspires the most to be a hero, and he really likes this new gig that they have. Jax has come into his own, as the engineer and chief mechanic of the Waverider. He’s carved out a place for himself on the team that’s separate and apart from his relationship with Stein. Stein has become the theoretician of the team. And Rory is basically just trying to white-knuckle his way through the whole experience. He cannot, for the life of himself, figure out what he’s doing, as a member of a superhero team.
Mick Rory seemed to be the one most surprised by the fact that he could actually fit in, in some way, with this team, and that he might actually even like them.
GUGGENHEIM: Oh, absolutely! That’s the fun thing. This year, we want him to fall in love with someone and be like, “What are feelings?!” He’s so much fun. He’s fun to write, and Dominic [Purcell] is obviously really enjoying playing him. I think Rory ends up stealing a lot of the scenes that he’s in.
How cool is it to have people like John Barrowman, Wentworth Miller and Katie Cassidy, who you can move around the board, but at the same time, how challenging is it to figure out when they can go where?
GUGGENHEIM: It’s a little challenging because we have to work around their personal schedules, and obviously there needs to be good communication among all the shows, so we’re not double booking them. No one has ever done a four-show universe. That’s totally unprecedented. The ability to move cast around that way is also unprecedented. The thing that we all really enjoy about it is that that’s the way it works in the comic books. The comic books are one large shared universe, and characters move back and forth between the different books. It’s fun to do the same thing with different shows.
Is that a point that you’d always hoped you’d get to, or are you surprised that you’re able to pull something like that off?
GUGGENHEIM: I don’t think there’s a day that doesn’t go by that we’re not surprised. When this all started with Arrow, we were surprised that we ended up doing the number of superheroes that we did, in the first season. We knew we were eventually going to do Deathstroke. We didn’t think we’d do Deathstroke in Season 1. We had no clue we were going to do Huntress, as early as Episode 6. We didn’t think we’d bring Roy Harper into Season 1. We ended up introducing a lot more characters, a lot sooner than we ever anticipated. It’s gratifying and mystifying, at the same time.
Viewers really loved the dynamic between Leonard Snart and Sara Lance, in Season 1. What can you say about who Captain Cold will be now?
GUGGENHEIM: We really loved that dynamic, too. It was so much fun. We’re glad we had a chance to get them to kiss before Leonard died. This Legion of Doom thing will be an interesting spin. It will make a very challenged relationship even more challenged.
What’s it going to be like with all of the different teams in play, from the Legends to the Legion of Doom to the Justice Society of America?
GUGGENHEIM: The way we’ve been handling it is that you’re not going to see all three teams in one episode. We’re not going to cram everyone together. We would have a lot of people. We want it to not feel like an overwhelming amount of story. One of the things we did last year was try to give every character on the Waverider a storyline, in every episode, and it made the episodes too dense. So, this year, we’re doing what we call a roving spotlight. It will be like, “This is the episode that focuses on Ray and Nate and Rory,” or “This is the episode that focuses on Sara and Amaya and Jax.” Everyone is still in the episode, but not everyone is getting a storyline.
For the viewers not familiar with the comics, what is the Justice Society of America and how are they different, as a team?
GUGGENHEIM: Basically, the JSA in the comics and in the show is the world’s first superhero team, and imagine a team of superheroes made up of the greatest generation. They basically function as this mirror that we hold up to the Legends, and they force the Legends to rethink the way they do thinks. The JSA are a bunch of people who really do things right. They’re coordinated, they get along, and they have a leader. They turn sharp corners. It’s fun to play with that dynamic. The Legends and the JSA are like oil and water.
The four shows sharing the same universe have great strong female characters. What will this Vixen add to that?
GUGGENHEIM: I think the thing that she adds is her perspective as someone from the 1940s. She’s someone who is a lot more straight-laced, at first, than the rest of our Legends. The way we describe it is like someone from IBM going to work, in the early days, at Google and being like, “Why do I need to ride around on a bicycle? Where are the offices?” She’s a humorous fish-out-of-water, but really, really tough, in her own right.
As someone who is totally unfamiliar with the comics, I’m looking forward to seeing all of these new additions really shake things up for the Legends.
GUGGENHEIM: My favorite fans of the shows are the people who are not comic book fans. The truth of the matter is that a wildly successful comic book today sells 80,000 copies, but 80,000 viewers does not keep any show on the air. None of these shows exist without people who are not fans of the comics. We’re not burying you in backstory and the minutiae of who these characters are.
When you think about this whole world that you’ve had a hand in creating, what are you most proud of having been able to pull off?
GUGGENHEIM: I’ve gotta be honest, I don’t credit myself with doing that. Because Greg [Berlanti] and Andrew [Kreisberg] have done The Flash and now Supergirl, I give them the credit for creating the universe. I’m proud that we were able to launch Arrow and have it not suck, and in that not sucking, it created opportunities, not just for The Flash, but it opened up the world of television. So, I can’t really take credit for the universe. I really think that’s Greg and Andrew’s baby. But I am very, very proud that we opened up television for this new era of superhero shows. The sky’s the limit, and that’s really a lot of fun.
Legends of Tomorrow returns for Season 2 on The CW on October 13th.