The latest episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow ended with yet another visit from the peskiest bounty hunter in all of time and space — at least, if you’re on the Waverider, that is. We’re talking, of course, about Chronos, the man in the mask who has been pursuing Rip Hunter and co. since they first embarked on a mission to change the timeline in the pilot.
Though Chronos has made frequent appearances, there is still so much we don’t know about the mysterious bounty hunter. We’ve never seen his face, and Rip has explained very little about him to the other crew members and, therefore, the viewer. We know Chronos has been sent by the Time Masters to capture Rip and the Waverider and return them to the council. In 1986 Soviet Union, he was working with Time Master Druce to bring Rip in — or kill him. Whichever. We also know that Chronos is willing to kill people who aren’t integral to the timeline, and has seemingly no remorse for it.
So the question is, could Chronos be someone we know? (Otherwise, it seems a waste of a perfectly good mask.) An even more specific theory: Could Chronos be Heat Wave, a.k.a. Mick Rory? The former crew member recently betrayed the team and his fate was left purposefully ambiguous. The show implies — and the rest of the Waverider crew seems to think — that Snart killed Mick, as he said he would. But does anyone watching the show really believe that? The dynamic between Snart and Mick is one of the more interesting ones on the show. Besides, Snart has never been an overly cruel character. In fact, he’s kind of a softie who may or may not be in the process of completing a good old-fashioned redemption arc. There’s no way he killed Mick.
If Mick isn’t dead, then where is he? Presumably, Snart let him go with the instructions not to bother the Waverider crew again. But when has Mick ever done what he was told? He was pretty angry last time we saw him, not only because Snart made him leave Star City 2046, but because Rip admitted that he didn’t even want him for the team. Mick doesn’t seem like the type to work through such issues in healthy, non-bounty hunter ways. Did the council use that rage to recruit Mick to hunt down the Waverider. It wouldn’t be a terrible plan. He has inside information, has absolutely no qualms re: mercenary work, has an axe to grind with the crew of the Waverider, and likes big guns. Also, given that this is a time-travel show, Mick could even have put in some years of training as a bounty hunter before working up to the Waverider. This could be an older Mick.
If Mick is Chronos, then it would explain how, thus far, he’s known where the Waverider will be. Not because he is tracking the ship, but because he remembers. (This would potentially be complicated by the latest episode. Chronos found the Waverider in 1958, but Mick departed the ship before they jumped there…) Thus far, Legends hasn’t been super interested in using time travel loops as a plot device, but — at least in my mind — they are one of the coolest, most dramatically-rife elements of the time-travel genre. Could Chronos as Mick be this show’s first example?
Though we have never seen Chronos’ face, it is implied that Chronos knows Rip. In the fourth episode, when Druce and Chronos catch up with Rip in the Soviet forest, Chronos calls him “old friend.” Mick and Rip were never particularly tight, but Mick does have a flair for the dramatic. Plus, Rip calls (contemporary) Mick his friend in this very conversation. (“I won’t be able to tell Mick he was right … He was convinced you were going to kill me.”)
This theory does have canon working against it. In the comics, Chronos has served as an alias for three separate characters: David Clinton, Walker Gabriel, and Jia. The David Clinton version of the character served as a villain against the Ray Palmer version of the Atom. Will Legends choose to honor that comic book relationship by making Chronos someone related to Ray Palmer? The powers that be are big comic book fans, but they have also shown a propensity for translating canon with a twist — i.e. making Connor Hawke Diggle’s son rather than Oliver’s.
If Chronos isn’t Mick, who is he? Well, as long as we’re on the subject, he could be a future-version of a different member of the Waverider — i.e. Ray Palmer, Rip Hunter, Snart, etc. It doesn’t have the same narrative efficiency as a Mick reveal, but it would certainly make things emotionally interesting. The Arrow-verse has a habit of using villains who have had close relationships with their heroes — i.e. Slade Wilson or Malcolm Merlyn in Arrow or Harrison Wells in The Flash.
Alternatively, Chronos could be a random dude from Rip’s past, perhaps someone he trained or worked with as a Time Master. Personally, I think this is the least interesting option, though — if done right — the show could make it work. Whoever it is, here’s hoping Legends of Tomorrow executes the reveal well. With only five episodes left in the season, it’s time for the time-traveling action adventure to make some character-driven, game-changing moves.
Who do you think Chronos is? Cast your vote in our poll!