DC TV EX­TRAV­A­GANZA

Tak­ing a look at the mighty mul­ti­tude of DC su­per­heroes ar­riv­ing on the small screen.

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

The word in­fi­nite is

insep­a­ra­ble from the DC Uni­verse. It de­scribes not only the num­ber of worlds that ex­ist within it, not only the num­ber of char­ac­ters that live on those worlds, but the sheer num­ber of sto­ry­telling pos­si­bil­i­ties in our world’s longest-run­ning su­per­hero mythol­ogy. With all of those pos­si­bil­i­ties, all that po­ten­tial, fu­elling its sto­ries, it’s no won­der that the num­ber of TV se­ries ex­plor­ing the DC uni­verse has ex­ploded within just the last few years. From the break­out hit Ar­row to last year’s de­but of The Flash to this year’s Su­per­girl to 2016’s

Leg­ends Of To­mor­row, the DC pan­theon has con­quered the small screen.

“I wrote a line the other day for Ray Palmer [aka the Atom],” Marc Guggen­heim, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of Ar­row and Leg­ends, tells SFX. “I’m not sure if it’ll end up in an episode, but it was, ‘Ten-year-old me is hav­ing a mo­ment.’ That pretty much is com­ing from me. Ten-year-old me can’t be­lieve this. It’s in­sane. It is lit­er­ally a dream come true.”

A self-pro­claimed life­long fan­boy, Guggen­heim is cur­rently work­ing tire­lessly on a fourth sea­son of ad­ven­tures for DC’s brood­ing, bat­tling bow­man, as played by Stephen Amell. While the show’s first three years saw no end of mis­ery for Oliver Queen – who re­turned home af­ter a five-year-ex­ile in or­der to avenge his fa­ther and save the soul of his beloved Star­ling City – the EP says sea­son four will see some ma­jor changes, as well as new an­tag­o­nist Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) and ally John Con­stan­tine (Matt Ryan).

“The big chal­lenge for us, and it’s a good chal­lenge, is ‘How do we cre­ate con­flict and drama in the show in a way that we haven’t in years past?’ In years past, the con­flict and drama came from Oliver’s life go­ing to shit. I’m not say­ing that bad stuff won’t hap­pen to Oliver this year, or peo­ple close to Oliver. We’re not chang­ing the show fun­da­men­tally. But we are find­ing new ways to cre­ate drama and cre­ate sur­prises that aren’t just about that. Mo­ments and scenes and episodes that would have been all about Oliver los­ing his shit on some­one or Oliver fall­ing into the depths of de­spair, those scenes we’re not writ­ing this year. The con­flict and the drama is com­ing out of other things. That’s good. It makes it feel like, not a com­pletely dif­fer­ent show, but Oliver ma­tur­ing. The dif­fer­ence be­tween sea­son four and sea­sons one, two and three is in those sea­sons we were very con­sciously writ­ing a char­ac­ter who had PTSD. All the drama got driven through that lens. And at the end of sea­son three we were very clear with the char­ac­ters and the au­di­ence that the man Oliver was is no longer the man he is now. He pretty much said that, and he’s be­come a dif­fer­ent per­son. So we’re mak­ing good on all the prom­ises that we made to the au­di­ence at the end of sea­son three.”

While the DC TV Uni­verse’s flag­ship hero is ma­tur­ing, his younger brother-in-arms is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some new grow­ing pains.

Chron­i­cling the life of Cen­tral City’s Scar­let Speed­ster, aka foren­sics sci­en­tist Barry Allen (played by Grant Gustin) – who achieved his life­long goal of catch­ing the man who mur­dered his mother – The Flash’s sec­ond sea­son prom­ises new metahu­man he­roes and vil­lains as a re­sult of its hero rip­ping open the mul­ti­verse in its first sea­son’s fi­nale. Fans will be in­tro­duced to such char­ac­ters as the “orig­i­nal” Flash, the Her­mes-hel­meted Jay Garrick, while get­ting re­turn vis­its from favourites like Cap­tain Cold.

“Ar­row’s amaz­ing and huge and awe­some, and The Flash is some­how big­ger in scope,” says ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer An­drew Kreis­berg, who also over­sees Su­per­girl. “With Ar­row you were jug­gling the Dark Knight vig­i­lante with the Shake­spearean fam­ily drama. With Flash we’re jug­gling su­per­heroes with all of this great fa­ther-son drama.”

MORE AND MORE

Kreis­berg tells SFX that with the ev­er­ex­pand­ing DCTVU he and his writ­ers func­tion in part as map­mak­ers of the new mul­ti­verse.

“You can’t help but do that,” he says. “Es­pe­cially now that Flash and Ar­row are con­nected, and we have the crossovers with Leg­ends and Flash and Ar­row. We’ve been hav­ing writ­ers from Flash work on Leg­ends and writ­ers from Ar­row work on Leg­ends and writ­ers from Ar­row work on Flash. There’s al­ways some­body from an­other show in some­body else’s room. ‘Oh wait, that’s what we’re do­ing over there.’ Or, more im­por­tantly, not so much be­ing a watch­dog but say­ing, ‘Oh my god, they’re do­ing this? That means we could do that!’”

But while the land­scape steadily ex­pands, Kreis­berg tells us that the fo­cus re­mains on the char­ac­ters at its heart.

“For us it’s al­ways about char­ac­ters, and that’s al­ways how we ap­proach it. Whether it’s the Emer­ald Archer or the Scar­let Speed­ster or the Girl of Steel.”

Cre­ated by Kreis­berg’s part­ner, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Greg Ber­lanti, the third DC su­per­hero show from this cre­ative pow­er­house de­buts this au­tumn. “We don’t want to write the same show twice,” says Kreis­berg. “With Su­per­girl [star­ring Glee’s Melissa Benoist] there is much more ro­mance than we’ve done in the past. And an op­por­tu­nity for work­place com­edy… Su­per­girl is about sis­ters, it’s about moth­ers and daugh­ters, and it’s about find­ing your place in the world. In some ways it takes place in a lit­tle bit more of a real world than some of the other shows.”

That “real world” is Na­tional City, in which Kara Dan­vers (born Kara Zor-El of Kryp­ton, cousin to Earth’s cham­pion Su­per­man) works for me­dia mogul Cat Grant (Cal­ista Flock­hart), along­side former Daily Planet pho­tog­ra­pher James Olsen (True Blood’s Me­hcad Brooks).

In the US, Ar­row and Flash are broad­cast on the CW net­work, but Su­per­girl airs on CBS. So while pro­duc­ers Kreis­berg and Ber­lanti

would like to see Kara fly over to Star­ling and Cen­tral City for a visit, they must first con­vince The Pow­ers That Be. In the mean­time, how­ever, they’re plan­ning more Ar­row-Flash crossovers (fol­low­ing last year’s thrilling “Flash Vs Ar­row” and “The Brave And The Bold”), and for Oliver and Barry to visit their lat­est cre­ation, Leg­ends Of To­mor­row.

HALL OF HEORES

Un­like the Jus­tice League, with its ros­ter of he­roes, or the Sui­cide Squad, with its line-up of crim­i­nals, Leg­ends Of To­mor­row’s ti­tle team pairs good guys – Ar­row’s Atom (Bran­don Routh) and White Ca­nary (Caity Lotz), Flash’s Firestorm (Vic­tor Gar­ber and Franz Drameh), new­com­ers Hawk­girl (Ciara Renée) and Hawk­man (Falk Hentschel) – with vil­lains Cap­tain Cold (Went­worth Miller) and Heat Wave (Do­minic Pur­cell). Their first half sea­son, pre­mier­ing early next year, sees them bat­tling the im­mor­tal su­pervil­lain Van­dal Sav­age.

“Here’s a stu­dio (Warner Broth­ers) and net­work (The CW) that we have a four-yearold re­la­tion­ship with,” says Guggen­heim, “and they showed an incredible amount of faith in us. The amount of money that they are putting to­wards this, just to get the cast as­sem­bled, is un­prece­dented… It would be a dream come true for me just to be watch­ing the show.”

“Flash in­tro­duced su­per­pow­ers and spe­cial ef­fects to the Ber­lanti-verse. It built on Ar­row. What could we do that would ac­tu­ally build on Flash? An­other sin­gle hero prob­a­bly wasn’t gonna get it done. But when we looked at the land­scape and we saw how many char­ac­ters were in­tro­duced on both shows that could ac­tu­ally carry their own show we re­alised, ‘What would re­ally be cool – but they’ll never let us do it – would be a team-up show.’ Then to our shock and amaze­ment they ac­tu­ally let us do it… What’s re­ally great is Ar­row and Flash are con­tin­u­ing to in­tro­duce new char­ac­ters, and ev­ery time they in­tro­duce a new char­ac­ter, that’s a po­ten­tial new team­mate or an­tag­o­nist or pres­ence on Leg­ends Of To­mor­row. That’s part of the fun.”

Since Warner Broth­ers is also de­vel­op­ing DC’s cin­e­matic uni­verse, SFX asks Guggen­heim if there’s a chance we might one day see our he­roes’ TV and film in­car­na­tions in­ter­act, in the spirit of such clas­sic comic­book crossovers as Cri­sis On In­fi­nite Earths.

“It’s funny,” he replies. “I re­ally have two fan­boy dreams. One was that I would see Dark Knight Re­turns on the big screen, and I feel like I’m very close to get­ting at least a good chunk of that [in Bat­man V Su­per­man: Dawn Of Jus­tice]. My sec­ond dream is to see Cri­sis On In­fi­nite Earths done on the big screen. It’s cer­tainly pos­si­ble. Those sorts of things are made so far above my head that I just look at it as some­thing that as a fan I’d love to see.”

Ar­row, The Flash and Su­per­girl air on Sky 1 in the UK. In the US, Ar­row and The Flash are on the CW; Su­per­girl is on CBS.

tha­narace­horseonRedBull. Gran­tGus­tinis­still­faster

Jay Garrick(Teddy Sears):

a blast from the past.

De­tec­tiveJoeWest(Jesse LMartin)won’thavethose

arms­fold­ed­for­long.

Can Melissa Benoist prove the Su­per-cyn­ics wrong?

Cal­ista Flock­hart is now Su­per­girl's boss as well as Harrison Ford's wife

Me­hcad Brooks is Jimmy bOlsen along­side Benoist's Kara Dan­vers

Stephen Amell: a hoodie you

should def­i­nitely be afraid of.

Neal McDonough look­ing un­happy at the spell­ing

of Damien Darhk.

TheaQueen,JohnDig­gle,

Smoak–we­saluteyou. Lau­relLance,Felic­ity

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