‘Legends of Tomorrow’ EP Phil Klemmer on Season 3, Fixing Time, and the New Big Bad
The CW series Legends of Tomorrow is back for Season 3 and the Legends have to try to fix the timeline that they broke, all while Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) and his new organization, the Time Bureau, are ready to relieve them of duty. And with a new evil rising up, it’s more important than ever for Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell), Martin Stein (Victor Garber), Jax (Franz Drameh), Nate (Nick Zano) and Amaya (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) to stick together.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, executive producer Phil Klemmer gave hints about what’s to come this season, just how serious it is that the Legends broke time, the creation of the Time Bureau, the big bad for Season 3, how Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) is always the big question mark, and what Legends fans can expect from the upcoming four-show cross-over.
Collider: I’m very excited about Season 3 because it seems like all of these crazy characters in all of these crazy places is going to be so much fun!
PHIL KLEMMER: It really is! It shouldn’t be this much fun. I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but I’m gonna enjoy it, as long as I can.
The Season 2 finale gave a real indication of the damage for Season 3. Just how serious is what the Legends have done, and what exactly does it mean to break time?
KLEMMER: Well, it’s serious enough that Rip had to go back in time and found a new federal institution of time policing and reparation. It’s bad enough that he’s effectively rendered our Legends obsolete. He’s retired them from their service. They saved the world, but they broke the cardinal rule – not that Sarah had a choice – by interacting with their former selves. Instead of it just being mistakes to history, these anachronisms are people, objects, inventions, or whatever that have been shaken loose from one part of time and popped up in another, a la Julius Caesar on a beach in Aruba or Helen of Troy on a soundstage in 1938 at Warner Bros. It’s so much fun because it allows you to tell these stories. What would happen, if Helen of Troy showed up in 1938? What if she did have this quasi power of creating turmoil, wherever she goes? What if, instead of the Trojan War, you had a studio war? It’s bizarre, but at the same time, it’s a world that lends itself to really fun stories and really crazy, different genres. It’s been a blast!
Do you think viewers will see the Time Bureau and Rip Hunter as villains, this season, or is it just the Legends that see them as the villains?
KLEMMER: You have to think back to ‘80s movies. It’s like the Cobra Kai vs. Ralph Macchio, or Axel Foley vs. the LAPD. In ‘80s movies, there was the sergeant that always screamed at Mel Gibson, and he was not wrong. It’s no fun to be the straight guy. Rip starts out as the straight guy, but eventually, he’s gonna realize that he misses the Legends way of doing things, which is certainly more fun. It’s messier, but way more fun. As we start to delve into the season’s big bad, we’ll realize that it’s more than these anachronisms. When time was broken, there is an underlying evil out there that’s on the rise. And eventually, Rip will realize that leaving the Legends out there, in possession of the Waverider, might not have been the worst decision that he made. Yes, they create all manner of mayhem, but there are certain adversaries where the Legends are better suited than the men in black Time Bureau guys who do things by the book. Fixing time with the Legends is like doing brain surgery with a chainsaw, but when we reveal who the big bad is, Rip will come to realize that he’s damn glad that he has the chainsaw.
You had such great villains last season, with the Legion of Doom. How did you decide where to go next, with your big bad for Season 3?
KLEMMER: When you have three very handsome, middle-aged white guys, there wasn’t a lot of diversity going on. It was fun to watch them snipe and snark at each other and stab each other in the back, but this year, we wanted it to be different. We didn’t want it to feel like it’s the same idea, just with different faces. So, instead of doing a human evil, we wanted it to have more of a supernatural element to it. Yes, Damien Darhk becomes the first face of that evil, but he’s certainly not the last. He’s more of a minion of the big bad, this season. We’re gonna have our Gorilla Grodd episode, when we find him displaced. We also wanted all of our villains to have personal ties to our Legends. We’ve announced that we’re gonna have Kuasa on our show, and people familiar with the Seed show know that that’s Amaya’s granddaughter. You can’t just be a bad guy or bad woman. They have a personal hold over the Legends, like with Damien Darhk having killed Sara’s sister. We wanted to get into that with other characters, this year. We want it to be intensely personal for our Legends ‘cause they’re at their best/worst when making decisions based on emotions. And that’s the opposite of the Time Bureau, who do everything by the work. The Legends operate off of their guts, for better or for worse, and usually worse.
I love how Leonard Snart has continued to be a big question mark, in terms of never really knowing what we’re going to get with whatever version we come across. Will that hold true, this season?
KLEMMER: Oh, a thousand times over. I defy anyone to try to predict who old Leo is gonna be, when we meet him this year. He’s certainly not who the Legends are expecting, and he’s definitely not the partner that Rory has been mourning for, for the last two years. The same way we had Arthur Darvill get to play the dipshit film student Phil, our performers are too talented to just do one role. We’re doing a Freaky Friday with Stein playing Jax and Jax playing Stein. Our actors are just too talented to give them only one version of their characters to play. So, we’re doing as Freaky Friday of a version of Leonard Snart as you can imagine.
We know that the four-way crossover between Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow will include the long-awaited WestAllen wedding. What can you say to tease the Legends’ role in that crossover, and whether there are any particularly fun moments involving the Legends cast that most stand out for you?
KLEMMER: I don’t think fun is the word that people are using. Cross-overs are fun, in retrospect. They’re fun to watch, but they’re a logistical nightmare. For us, I guess it’s fun to have a single shot that costs more than a house, in an episode of TV. That’s pretty cool. It’s cool to have 22 superheroes in a scene. It was cool for me to write something that was terribly sad ‘cause we do so much fun on our show. For the cross-over, we’re living in the world of the other shows, which is not fun times, but it’s powerful and it’s emotional. I think it’s a good reminder for people that our show doesn’t always have a happy ending. That’s what this year’s cross-over is for Legends. It’s a really moving, two-hour movie. Instead of just having characters go to other shows, it really is the shows sharing their DNA with each other, and I think that’s gonna be incredible.
Legends of Tomorrow airs on Tuesday nights on The CW.