On The CW series Legends of Tomorrow, back for Season 3 on October 10th, the team effectively broke time trying to stop the Legion of Doom, which has led to all kinds of chaos and things, animals and people that have been moved into eras that they don’t belong in. While the Legends work to fix their mistakes and find a way to return everything to its original timeline, the newly formed Time Bureau steps in to prove that their methods are better and more effective.
While at The CW portion of the Television Critics Association Press Tour, Collider had the opportunity to sit down with executive producer Marc Guggenheim to preview what’s to come for the upcoming third season, the challenges of pulling off the scope and scale of this series, how Gorilla Grodd came to be a villain on Season 3, what the team can expect from Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), how Kuasa (Tracy Ifeachor) fits into the season, the return of Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller), and just how serious the consequences are when you break time.
Collider: In sheer scope and scale, Legends of Tomorrow is the biggest show in the Arrow-verse. When the series started, what were you most concerned about being able to pull off, and now that you’re in the third season, what are you most excited about getting to do?
GUGGENHEIM: That’s a good question. Straight up, to be honest with you, it’s not just about producing the show. We’re always going to be able to produce the show. We have so many talented people working behind the scenes and our visual effects company, Encore, is absolutely amazing, but nobody works for free. We knew we could produce the show, but the stress was, would we be able to produce the show on a budget that would allow us to keep the show on the air? That was daunting. The thing about The Flash is that it has a lot of special effects, but he’s always running, and Supergirl is always flying. In Season 1, we had three characters that flew, and we had cold rays and heat rays. It wasn’t just one set of powers. It was five to eight sets of powers. It was all the powers, all at once, for honestly the same visual effects budget, so that was really, really daunting. But we’ve figured out a system that really, really works. I really give the credit to all the people we work with, but we also have a process whereby, very early on in prep, we start shot-listing every single visual effect, figure out exactly what we need to tell the story, figure out exactly what we need to maintain the scope of the show, and then figure out the cost effective way to do it and where we get the most bang for our buck. Now, we really write to our heart’s content. We want to do it in a way that is good, but fiscally responsible.
Is it having that experience with two seasons behind you that allows you to have a villain in Season 3 like Gorilla Grodd?
GUGGENHEIM: A little bit. It was really born out of, we did the Legion of Doom last year and that was a lot of fun, but at the same time, we were very cognizant of the fact that we had three white men. And then, when we added evil Rip, it was four, and when we added Snart, it was five white men. So, really, at the top of our list was some diversity. And then, we had this crazy idea, “Well, who’s to say that all the villains even have to be human?!” It started off, as most Legends ideas start off, as a joke. And then, as often happens, the joke starts to take root and we start to think that the joke has an interesting idea behind it. We like the ambition of the idea, and Grodd is a fan favorite villain. We started to look at it from the standpoint of story, and from a story standpoint, he’s such an interesting character, who cares that he’s CG?
You’ve said that the Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) that we’ll see in Season 3 is the post-dead version. How mad will he be about being post-dead?
GUGGENHEIM: He’s not a happy guy! For us, it’s not so much the fact that he used to be dead. It’s really the fact that he has lived a life. The Darhk that we met in Season 2 was a Darhk from 1945, who was brought forth to 1985, and then was taken to jump around time. He hadn’t been through a lot of stuff, including a lot of the stuff he’d been through on Arrow. On Arrow, he’d lost his magic, he’d lost his control over the city and, most importantly, he’d lost his wife, the love of his life. So, the guy we’re meeting has gone through a lot more stuff and, as a result, he’s a much more complex character. Also, this is the Damien Darhk who killed Sara’s sister. Last year, he could say, “I know I’m supposed to do that, but I never did it!” But now, this guy has actually really done it, so that also changes the dynamic.
Does that allow you to explore things that Sara hasn’t been forced to really deal with?
GUGGENHEIM: For us, that’s probably been one of the more interesting debates in the writers’ room. On the one hand, we always want Sara to have a nuanced and realistic reaction to and interactions with Damien. At the same time, we’re very cognizant of the fact that we really told and put an end to the story of whether or not she’s gonna prevent Laurel’s death. So for us, the question for Season 3 is, how can we find a new spin on their relationship, with a lower case “r.”