“Legends of Tomorrow” spent its whole first season with one goal: tracking down Vandal Savage (Casper Crump), so the show spent the entire season hopping to places that Savage was either at, or would soon be at. By season’s end, Captain Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) had stopped Savage, avenged the death of his wife and child, and exposed his employers — the Time Masters — for helping Savage. All in a days work for him and his misfit team.
“We felt that our concept for last year — with that date with destiny in 2061 where the world is taken over by Vandal Savage, coupled with the death of Rip’s family — cast this pall over the series in a way that prevented our characters from doing what they do best,” says “Legends of Tomorrow” executive producer Marc Guggenheim. “In examining last year, and looking at what worked and what didn’t, we were committed to come up with a conceit that allowed us to have more fun, and feel lighter on it’s feet.”
Here, Guggenheim speaks with Variety about what to expect in Season 2, bringing in the Justice Society of America and more…
This season, you don’t have to spend the entire time chasing around Savage. Is it nice to be freed up a bit from that?
Oh god, it’s so freeing. The show benefits enormously from the new conceit. We re-engineered the show to do what it did best, and it’s become a much more fun show to write and produce, and I think that fun shows up on the screen.
How are the Legends handling being, essentially, the only Time Masters left?
One of the things we established last year is that the Legends are an incredibly misfit band of would-be heroes. Our goal is to come up with stories where the team can screw up and still save the day despite of it.
You’re also bringing in the Justice Society (JSA) this season. How did the decision to include them now get made?
It came about through a conversation I had with Geoff Johns [DC Comics’ president and CCO] at the end of last season. We had the idea to end Season 1 with another Waverider crashing down in front of the Legends, and another superhero stepping out. We were trying to figure out which superhero from the DC universe we could use — which is how our partnership with DC works — they’re the people in charge of saying “this character’s available, this character’s not available” — and Geoff suggested Rex Tyler, and what was particularly exciting, was he suggested Rex say, “I’m Rex Tyler of the Justice Society of America.” I went to Greg Berlanti, and he immediately took to the idea.
The JSA is a bit less known than other teams in the DC Universe. What character are you most excited for viewers to see, especially those who may not be familiar with the comics?
We’ve all found ourselves really enamored with Obsidian (Dan Payne, Lance Henriksen). As the visual effects come in, that character has really, no pun intended, taken flight. A lot of times, with these superhero shows, you don’t fully know the potential of the character until you see them with all their bells and whistles. They came together really nicely for Obsidian, and added another dimension to the character.
The JSA isn’t the only new team you’re including — the Legion of Doom also plays a part, and includes characters from past seasons of “The Flash” and “Arrow.” What’s it like to be able to draw from a stable of established villains?
Something that surprised us, and wasn’t originally planned, was us looking up from our foxhole and realizing there are a lot of characters that have been introduced between “The Flash” and “Arrow” that are really cool and played by great actors. That turned out to be enough to field the team of Legends and it ended up being the same for the Legion of Doom. It goes to show how rich this universe has become. It’s given us a chance to introduce all these heroes and villains, and to get them to be played by incredible actors. We’re very fortunate.
That’s a lot of teams and characters this season. How are you going about handling them?
We bring the JSA into an episode, and that episode is very much about them, and we’re feathering in the Legion of Doom. You’ll see them come in over the course of the season. We’re being very mindful not to throw a million characters at you all at once. It’s being done with a careful roll-out.
I’m curious, as protectors of time, are the Legends aware of The Flash mucking around with his timeline and creating Flashpoint?
Not yet. The things that are happening in 2016, in the here and now, aren’t affecting our Legends outside of time. Suffice it to say, the Legends will eventually find out about Flashpoint.
“Legends of Tomorrow” returns for Season 2 tonight at 9 p.m. on the CW.