‘Legends of Tomorrow’: Marc Guggenheim on the Show’s Infinite Possibilities

     May 26, 2020

*Be aware that spoilers for the Legends of Tomorrow episode “The One Where We’re Trapped On TV” are discussed*

With only the finale, entitled “Swan Thong,” left in its season and the Legends still controlled by the Fates, The CW series Legends of Tomorrow will find the team in a 1984-esque world, where they must convince the civilians to break free. And in true Legends fashion, it’s safe to say that things with the Loom of Fate will not play out in the way that anyone expects them to.

During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, Arrow-verse executive producer Marc Guggenheim, who made his directorial debut with Episode 514 (“The One Where We’re Trapped on TV”), talked about working with the cast to keep their characterizations consistent throughout the episode, the ramifications that these events will have for Charlie (Maisie Richardson-Sellers), what happens with Zari (Tala Ashe) now, battling space aliens in Season 6, the list of eras and historical figures they’re still trying to work into the show, and whether there’s anything story wise that Legends can’t figure out a way to make work.

legends-of-tomorrow-posterCollider: You have such an insanely talented cast that can clearly do anything. How much fun was it to work with them, playing their characters while those characters were playing other characters?

MARC GUGGENHEIM: It was totally nuts. The cast was so great. I loved working with them. They really make your job, as a director, easy. The thing that I would do, at beginning of each scene, just before we’d read the words and even before we’d start blocking, is that I would tell the cast where we were in the episode, so that they could keep track of who they were and what they remember because all of that stuff changes, throughout the episode. It was hard for me to hold it in my head. So, by orienting ourselves, at the beginning of every scene, we were able to make sure that all of the characterization was consistent.

What kind of ramifications is this going to have for Charlie now?

GUGGENHEIM: The thing that the writers have been building to. Charlie has been dodging and trying to avoid making a choice between her sisters and her team. What this episode sets up is the finale, where she absolutely has to make that definitive choice. There are no more loopholes or do-overs. She really has to take a stand. I don’t wanna spoil the finale, but I think it all unfolds in a very satisfying way.

One of the biggest surprises in this episode is the fact that you brought the old Zari back, combined the twos Zaris, and then split them in two again. How will that work, going forward? Will the twos Zaris exist separately now?

GUGGENHEIM: That’s certainly one of the cliffhangers that the end of this episode sets up for the finale. The writers have established that Zari 1.0 and 2.0 can’t co-exist, and Zari and Behrad can’t co-exist, so suffice it to say, the show is not big enough for the three of them. I don’t wanna spoil what I think is a really, really great moment and a great outcome in the finale.

It’s also fun that we’ve gotten a little bit of a tease for what Season 6 will be, knowing that there’ll be battling space aliens. What layer does that add to a show that is already insane?

GUGGENHEIM: I’ll tell you, when I heard that that was the plan for Season 6, I was like, “That’s just so awesome!” I love it. I love the fact that every season finale has set up the next subsequent season. It’s funny, you would never compare Legends of Tomorrow with Sons of Anarchy, but the one thing they have in common is that both shows had a tendency to do that, and I’ve always loved that construction. So, I’m really excited. Also, knowing what the writers have planned for Season 6, just when you think the show cannot get any zanier or crazier, somehow the writers figure out a way to make it happen.

Are there any eras or historical figures that you’re still hoping to get to see explored in the show, at any point next season?

GUGGENHEIM: If you were to travel back in time, and look at the whiteboard in the Legends writers’ room, back in Season 1, you would have seen a whole list of historical figures and time periods that the show hasn’t gotten to yet. But every year, we tick some of them off. There are still a whole host of time periods on the show’s bucket list, and it wouldn’t surprise me, at all, to visit at least one of them, next season.

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Image via TheCW

I’m still waiting for the day that there is something that you can’t make work with Legends.

GUGGENHEIM: Believe me, they are, too. That’s because it’s such an incredible crew. That show is not for the faint of heart. Every eight business days, a new script comes out and goes into prep. Before, it was just realizing time periods. Now, it’s time periods, and different television shows, and different worlds. The show is insanely ambitious. Shout out to Vlad Stefoff, the line producer of the show. I always say that, at some point, we’re gonna find the script that Vlad says we can’t do, but that has yet to happen and the show is closing in on a hundred episodes. I’ve been starting to think it’s never going to happen. I do keep pitching the underwater musical episode, as the episode that is finally the bridge too far, but I have a feeling that, if we were to do that episode, Vlad would be like, “Okay, I already have the underwater musicians and singers ready to go.

If you can create a character like Beebo and give it a story arc, there really isn’t anything that you can’t do on this show.

GUGGENHEIM: I’m inclined to agree. Honestly, it’s all because you have so many incredibly talented people doing it. [The cast is] all just so fantastic. They all bring different things to it, and different tones and different flavors. They are incredibly collaborative, as well. You give them even the most subtle note or adjustment and, the very next take, you get it. They really spoil you, as a director.

I didn’t know how the show could get weirder, but it did, and I’m sure it will again.

GUGGENHEIM: It probably will, I can guarantee you.

Legends of Tomorrow airs on Tuesday nights on The CW.

Television