The CW series Legends of Tomorrow is back for Season 2, and after the defeat of the immortal villain Vandal Savage and the exposure of the corrupt Time Masters, it’s up to the Legends to protect the timeline from changes to history that lead to potentially catastrophic consequences. And they will soon cross paths with the Justice Society of America, or JSA, who do not see things the same way as the Legends and therefore want nothing to do with them or their help.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actor Victor Garber (who plays Professor Martin Stein, one half of the meta-human Firestorm, along with Jefferson “Jax” Jackson) talked about how the Legends are navigating through things without the Time Masters, that Martin Stein has been humbled by what he experienced in Season 1, that everybody on the team has a purpose and a strength, meeting Albert Einstein, being faced with the JSA’s way of doing things, and how cool the upcoming four show cross-over is, with Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl. He also talked about his charity work for Type-1 diabetes and the importance of raising awareness.
Collider: This team had a lot of ups and downs in Season 1, as they were getting to know each other and getting a feel for how they could best work together. Are they stronger together, as a result, and do they have a better handle on what they’re dealing with now?
VICTOR GARBER: They’re navigating through. We have Nate Heywood, played by Nick Zano, and we have Maisie Richardson-Sellers, who’s playing Vixen, so the energy has been changed. We’re finding our way, but in the first episode, there are a lot of problems, and what else would you expect? We’ve got Nazis. We’ve got zombies. We’ve got everything. I think it’s a fun episode, and it’s a great way for people to start and to get reacquainted with everybody. We’re having fun doing it.
How do you think Martin Stein has most changed, after everything that he experienced, last season?
GARBER: I think he’s been humbled, a great deal, although he’s always prone to thinking he knows best. That’s the dilemma for the character, but for me, it’s fun to play. He’s an arrogant fellow, but he also has a heart, so it’s about balancing that. There’s a lot that I can’t really talk about that’s going to happen this season, that will challenge him in both areas.
When we find the team this season, the Time Masters are gone and preserving history is left to the Legends. How are they handling all of that? Have they been doing that job well, or is it a bigger task than they could have imagined?
GARBER: I’ll just say that they’re not doing it that well. Everyone has a different idea about what preserving history should really be about and how much it will change, if we do one thing, and what the repercussions of that are. That’s always the discussion or argument with the team, and I think that’s what makes it fun to watch. It’s about how they’ll navigate through this.
It seems like the members of this team have learned to work together a little better. They’ve had six months working together, since we last saw them, and it seems like they’ve found their place a little bit more. Do you think that it took some of them time to find their groove, or did not having Vandal Savage and the Time Masters looming over them to find their own footing?
GARBER: I think that when you’ve got that many personalities on one team, it’s going to change every moment. You’ve got Mick Rory, who is the outcast, really, and yet he becomes, in some ways, one of the most valuable. And then, you’ve got Stein, who is a professor that really just happens to be there because of his genetic disorder. Everybody has a purpose and a strength. I think it just continues to be that sort of drama. We don’t have Rip Hunter for awhile, and that changes the dynamic completely. That’s what this show is about, as much as anything. The powers, and all of that, are really interesting to the fans, and we all love to watch the special effects, but really, to me, it’s the dynamic of the human interaction that’s really interesting.
In the absence of Rip Hunter, it seems only natural that Stein would be the one to step in and take on the leadership role, but how different is the reality of that than what he expects?
GARBER: There’s a lot that happens and I don’t really want to spoil it, but he’s not as equipped as he thinks he is and he learns a lot about that, which is fun.
Jax is getting a bit more creative when it comes to Firestorm and what they can do together. How has that dynamic evolved, both as individuals and when they come together as Firestorm?
GARBER: He’s learning that he does have a say, and that does change things. It challenges Stein’s seniority, and that’s a part of what we explore this season. When Stein has to acknowledge that Jax has a better idea, that’s not easy for him.
In the premiere episode, Martin Stein gets to meet Albert Einstein, which must be very exciting for him.
GARBER: Yeah, he couldn’t believe that was happening. And he was actually played by an old friend of mine, John Rubinstein, so that was a delight for us to be reunited. I’ve known him since we were Broadway kids, and he was brilliant in the role. That was really fun to play, and it was really fun to act with him.
Does Stein fancy them as like-minded individuals, or is it more of an admiration and respect?
GARBER: Of course, he feels connected to him because they understand each other, but he’s in awe. This is one of the greatest minds, ever. I think Stein is in awe, and also just so starstruck, really.
Along with the Legends, we’re going to see the Justice Society of America this season, who are from a very different era. How different do they approach things, compared to the Legends, and does Stein see the benefit of their approach?
GARBER: Not right away. There’s a lot of descension and tension between them. In a lot of ways, it becomes a competition. There are that many more egos involved, and that can always be problematic. Of course, they find a way to work together, but it takes a little time.
Aside from Jax, who Stein has developed a pretty great dynamic with, who would you say he has the most respect for, on this team of Legends that he’s working with?
GARBER: Each person shows something different, in every challenge that they come across, but he and Sara have an interesting dynamic in this season. I’ve been really enjoying that, enormously. He sees her in a much more comprehensive way than he did, in the beginning, as with all of them. Over time, you get to know people in different ways. His bond with Jefferson just becomes stronger and stronger, even though they certainly know how to go at each other, which is part of the fun.
How cool is it to be a part of this four-show world with Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow? Is the opportunity to have so many different cool characters cross-over and get to interact with them just awesome fun?
GARBER: Yes! To be in the room with everybody, which is what’s just happened for me on these four crossovers, has been really quite astonishing and thrilling for me. I think it’s unique in television, and I think it will be a great thrill for people who are fans of the show.
You’re also doing some charity work for Type-1 diabetes. Why is that so important to you?
GARBER: I am a Type-1 diabetic. Beyond Type-1 is the organization, which you can find at www.beyondtype1.org, or you can go to my Instagram at www.instagram.com/therealvictorgarber, which is the only social media that I do, and I’ve posted the information for the Million Dollar Challenge that Revlon has started. If you just donate $10, it would mean so much to me and to the millions of Type-1 diabetics. Unless you are Type-1 or you know someone who is, you don’t really understand the difference between Type-1 and Type-2, and there’s a vast difference. And so, we’re trying to get the word out about what this disease is and why it needs attention. There are kids in school who are being bullied because of it, and people need to be educated. There also needs to be a support system, particularly for mothers and fathers who are dealing with an infant or a juvenile diabetic. It’s really traumatic. So, I’m here as the face of the older Type-1 diabetic. I’ve had it since I was 12 years old, which is a long time. So, I would appreciate anybody reaching out and helping because we would like to win this million dollars. It would be very helpful.
Legends of Tomorrow airs on Thursday nights on The CW.