In typical fashion, the Legends can’t do good without doing a little bad.
Throughout the second season of “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” the team faced off against the Legion of Doom – consisting of Arrowverse mainstays Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher), Damian Darhk (Neal McDonough), Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) and Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) – and eventually defeated them on a World War One battlefield. Unfortunately, their victory ended up literally breaking time, though – something they discover when they land back in a Los Angeles that now includes a different skyline and roaming dinosaurs.
Variety spoke with executive producer Phil Klemmer about Rip Hunter’s (Arthur Darvill) new regime in charge of fixing time, the introduction of Zari (Tala Ashe) and more “personal” connections to this year’s bad guys.
After doing so many big production value episodes over the course of the first two seasons, what does the scale of Season 3 look like?
The fun thing about the show is that it really is able to choose a genre and wholly embrace that. We’re not just traveling through time and space and history: we’re traveling through film and television history. The example I give for this year is we did this sort of “E.T.” episode – because we did this sort of dark, dystopian future world that introduced our new character Zari, and we need a palette cleanse after that. We did this Amblin, ’80s [hour] that has this crazy innocence and nostalgia and is really poignant and beautiful. It’s crazy that you can do a show where you go from “Blade Runner” world to ’80s, Amblin, sun-drenched cul-de-sacs with kids on bikes and it’s still the same show. Creatively, it’s like fulfilling every genre you’d want to write.
Looking specifically at the premiere, Rip will return with his new Time Bureau, sidelining the Legends for breaking time. How do you keep them in the action, since it’s their show?
After two seasons of bouncing around on this time ship, we realized the Legends aren’t really good at anything else. We play an act of them trying to return to the real world, but people like Sara Lance [Caity Lotz] – who is incredibly capable at murdering people or being the captain of a time ship – she doesn’t have much of a CV, and being dead twice doesn’t really help.
The team, for two seasons, kind of griped about saving the world and being stuck on the ship together, but the truth is they secretly love it. Season 3 is about them justifying their own existence because Rip has gone back in time to create an organization that does what they do but more efficiently and better and without the mess.
Why does Rip bring all the Legends together but then go off and create the Time Bureau?
I think he rightfully assumed that they all had better things to do. He created the team in Season 1 for the simple purpose of defeating Vandal Savage, which was dealt with. At the end of Season 2, the Legends are responsible with the breaking of time, but when he relieves them of duty, it isn’t exactly a punishment. He thought that they would have better things to do with their lives, but unfortunately they don’t.
The Legends have been known to warm up to new crew members at different speeds. With Zari joining the Waverider, who accepts her quickly, and who butts heads with her?
It’s more an issue of Zari warming up to the Legends. When we first encounter her she’s living in this dystopian future, is effectively a refugee, and has been persecuted for being related to a meta and for being a Muslim. She’s pretty hard-boiled so when Ray Palmer comes up to her and tries to give her the whole “come be a hero with us” [pitch], she’s like “f— off.”
She’s cynical and has a thick skin and doesn’t want to be any part of the team. Unfortunately, by the team helping her they kind of make it impossible for her to remain where she belongs. She comes onto the Waverider in protest. She comes along not because she wants to, but because she has nowhere else to go.
Damien Darhk is coming back once again this season. How is that working this time? Is he post-“Arrow” Season 4 death Damien?
It’s a bit of a combo version of him. This season he’s more digging into his supernatural and the world of the occult. Yeah, he is a post-“Arrow” version of Damien Darhk. Last season he was kind of played for comic relief – as the Legion of Doom was with the constant back-stabbing and trying to outwit one another. This season is Damien Darhk as much more formidable and more as Damien as a dark lord.
Grodd also has a part to play this season, along with you bringing Wentworth back – both of whom first appeared on “The Flash.” “Legends” really mines the “Arrowverse” for characters – particularly villains – much more than the other shows. What’s the benefit in that?
In an ensemble show you need to have an ensemble of baddies. We didn’t want it to just be random; we didn’t want to just reach into a bag and pull out names. This year we chose people who – in the way that Damien Darhk speaks to Sara – are tightly tied up in the backstory of our characters. It is super personal. It’s not just bad guys we’re dealing with, but we’re dealing with people who actually mean something to our individual Legends.
“DC’s Legend of Tomorrow’s” third season debuts Oct. 10 at 9 p.m.