“It’s ideas that are nuts!” Joseph McCabe dis­cov­ers the DC TV Uni­verse’s cra­zi­est, most am­bi­tious show yet...

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

“It is lit­er­ally a dream come true”

For four years, DC comic book fans have been treated to the truest live-ac­tion su­per­hero adap­ta­tions ever to grace tele­vi­sion screens. Start­ing with Ar­row, fo­cused on the Emer­ald Archer of Star City, and con­tin­u­ing with The Flash, chron­i­cling the ad­ven­tures of Cen­tral City’s Scar­let Speed­ster, the DC TV Uni­verse has trans­ported au­di­ences through time, across alternate uni­verses, and even in­tro­duced them to tele­pathic go­ril­las. But it’s now upped the stakes still fur­ther, giv­ing us a weekly se­ries de­voted to an en­tire team of cos­tumed char­ac­ters. Meet the Leg­ends of Tomorrow.

“I wrote a line the other day for Ray Palmer,” says Ar­row and now Leg­ends ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Marc Guggen­heim, re­fer­ring to Leg­ends’ res­i­dent CEO turned ad­ven­turer, best known as the Atom (em­bod­ied by Bran­don Routh). “I’m not sure if it will end up in a cut or any­thing, but it was, ‘Ten-year-old me is hav­ing a mo­ment.’ That pretty much just came from me. Ten-year-old me can’t be­lieve this. It’s in­sane. It is lit­er­ally a dream come true. It would be a dream come true just to be watch­ing the show.”

heck of a line-up

Part of Guggen­heim’s amaze­ment stems from the ros­ter of Leg­ends, a smor­gas­bord of fan favourite char­ac­ters from both Ar­row and The Flash. In ad­di­tion to Atom, the team’s found­ing mem­ber­ship con­sists of Cap­tain Cold (Went­worth Miller), Firestorm (Franz Drameh and Vic­tor Gar­ber), Hawk­girl (Ciara Renée), Hawk­man (Falk Hentschel), Heat Wave (Do­minic Pur­cell), and Black Ca­nary turned White Ca­nary (Caity Lotz). All of them united by time mas­ter Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) to bat­tle the im­mor­tal Van­dal Sav­age (Casper Crump).

“It was like, really, you’re really let­ting us do this? And you don’t need a script?!” Guggen­heim says of the re­ac­tion he and his fel­low ex­ecs Greg Ber­lanti and An­drew Kreis­berg had to­wards Warner Broth­ers’ de­ci­sion. “This is in­sane. Not to get all sen­ti­men­tal about it, but it was very hum­bling.”

“When the idea for a sec­ond spin-off came up and we were talk­ing about it we were very cog­nisant that we didn’t want to re­peat our­selves,” Kreis­berg tells SFX. “There wasn’t an ap­petite on the part of the au­di­ence to watch us re­peat our­selves. And we really wanted some­thing dif­fer­ent. Ar­row’s amaz­ing and huge and awesome, and The Flash was some­how big­ger in scope. We were like, ‘What could be big­ger than The Flash?’ That was really where the idea of a team came up. But rather than it just be­ing a col­lec­tion of he­roes, hav­ing some wild cards in there and hav­ing some char­ac­ters of ques­tion­able moral­ity be­came part of it. We started talk­ing a lot about Ocean’s Eleven and The Dirty Dozen, and, for me, The Guns Of Navarone, where there are two lead­ers of the team and one’s got a blood debt to kill the other one.

“So it was about tak­ing those clas­sic tropes and ap­ply­ing them to the su­per­hero genre. And to see if we could pull that off and have a show that ex­ists within our other shows’ uni­verse. As al­ways we set the bar very high for our­selves, and hope­fully we’ll just clear it again this time. My take­away from what we’ve been do­ing so far is… On Flash and Ar­row we al­ways have th­ese ideas and then some­body will go, ‘We can’t do that. That’s nuts.’ Well, all Leg­ends is ‘That’s nuts.’ It’s ideas that are nuts.”

Nuts or not, Guggen­heim says pick­ing a Big Bad fear­some enough to war­rant such a con­glom­er­a­tion of he­roes and an­ti­heroes was the first or­der of busi­ness…

global am­bi­tions

“Van­dal’s as­pi­ra­tion is noth­ing smaller than tak­ing over the en­tire world. I’ve made no se­cret, at least with the writ­ers, of my in­cred­i­ble af­fec­tion for [comic writer] Mike Baron’s take on Van­dal, from the first two is­sues of the Wally West Flash, with Jackson Guice draw­ing him. I’m mas­sively in­flu­enced by that. I can’t speak for the other writ­ers, but I don’t think I’m writ­ing any other version of Van­dal.”

The man play­ing the ages-old su­pervil­lain, in­tro­duced in 2015’s Ar­row-Flash cross­over two-parter (“Leg­ends Of To­day” and “Leg­ends Of Yes­ter­day”) is, ac­cord­ing to Guggen­heim, a “clas­sic” by cast­ing di­rec­tor David Rapaport.

“The thing about David is he al­ways brings you the best per­son first. Stephen Amell was the very first per­son to walk in the cast­ing room for Ar­row. He al­ways just knows who ex­actly we should cast. Casper was the first guy he brought to us. It was like, ‘Done. Per­fect!’ He gave a great au­di­tion. He looks the part but he also acts the part. He’s got that level of both malev­o­lence and cul­tured grav­i­tas that we needed for Van­dal. We couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Leg­ends Of Tomorrow will fur­ther dis­tin­guish it­self from its for­bears by al­ter­ing both its for­mat and prin­ci­pal cast with each suc­ces­sive sea­son.

“The one thing we’ve said is each sea­son – or even if we do a 22-episode sea­son next year and we break it up – each arc has to be its own thing. Its own movie with its own con­cept and its own rai­son d’être, and its own set of char­ac­ters. Which is not to say that ev­ery arc is gonna com­pletely re­boot. But what’s fun about the con­cept is be­cause it’s a team con­cept we can ro­tate peo­ple in and out de­pend­ing upon what the ac­tors want to do and what our sto­ry­telling needs are. There’s a lot of flex­i­bil­ity there. Which is kind of nice. It’s not gonna be an an­thol­ogy like Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story, where each sea­son is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent con­cept. But it’s gonna have a dif­fer­ent idea be­hind it. Time travel is the idea be­hind sea­son one. The next arc, when­ever that is, will have its own big idea be­hind it.”

As for what Guggen­heim is most ex­cited for fans to see when Leg­ends pre­mieres in Jan­uary 2016, the exec teases, “In the first hour, see­ing all th­ese char­ac­ters to­gether is really the ca­chet of the show, and I’m really look­ing for­ward to the first time that team is as­sem­bled on cam­era in ac­tion to­gether. Then there’s a mo­ment in the sec­ond hour that’s pretty amaz­ing, that I’m look­ing for­ward to fans see­ing. But I’m gonna be very vague about it.”

In the mean­time, Guggen­heim re­veals to SFX the chal­lenge now fac­ing Leg­ends’ writ­ing staff…

“Part of the prob­lem with break­ing the sto­ries for the show is that we’ll get to­gether and, ev­ery five min­utes, we’re just say­ing how crazy-in­sane it is, and then we’ll lose five min­utes talk­ing about how in­sane it is be­fore we come back to do­ing the ac­tual work.”

Leg­ends Of Tomorrow be­gins on The CW in the US on 21 Jan­uary and Sky 1 in the UK TBC.

wanted really dif­fer­ent we some­thing spin-off with this

En­ergy drinks per­haps?

“You’re gonna be so hot!” They haven’t learnt to “as­sem­ble” like the Avengers just yet.

Firestorm, Hawk­man, Hawk­girl and White Ca­nary wait around for the ac­tion to start.

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