With Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad furthering the launch of the DC Extended Universe next year – paving the way for the eventual Justice League film – audiences will soon witness other DC characters besides the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel grace the big screen for the very first time. Of course, on the small screen side of things, The CW has already introduced an extended universe and plans to form a ‘justice league’ of its own with DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
While Arrow established a gritty world tinged with the possibilities of the fantastical and impossible, The Flash blew those doors open, expanding the world to include ideas like superpowers, time travel, and alternate realities. And now that the sandbox has been filled, Legends of Tomorrow will have plenty of room with which to introduce lesser known characters (e.g., Rip Hunter, Hawkman, etc.) while embracing a new formula for storytelling.
What we know of the series so far comes from clues provided in the first trailer, pegging the newly cast Vandal Savage as the “big bad” with machinations for world – and time – domination. Featuring several stars from Arrow and The Flash, the show centers on Rip Hunter’s attempt to assemble a team to stop Savage. That said, there’s still plenty we don’t know. Fortunately, The Hollywood Reporter recently caught up with executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Phil Klemmer to learn more.
In terms of inspiration, Guggenheim referred to both Dan Jurgens’ 2011 limited run Time Masters: Vanishing Point and Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis’ Justice League International as starting points for the writing staff. While the former effectively depicts “Rip Hunter and a crazy combination of characters” in action, the latter serves as a basis for the show’s lighter, more comedic tone a la The Flash (rather than Arrow). Still, the show will not shy away from darker themes altogether, with Klemmer hinting at betrayals, characters turning evil (or, in Captain Cold and Heat Wave’s case, returning to evil), and even the possibility of death.
“Some of these characters might not make it for the full trip; some might be lost in time.”
As for whom these doomed characters may be, the producers remained mum; though they did reveal one character who will not be making an appearance anytime soon: Booster Gold. Despite being Rip Hunter’s father in the comics and a DC fan-favorite, the 25th century hero may be “being groomed for bigger things,” Klemmer said (a future DC film, perhaps?).
This does come as a bit of a disappointment, considering he and his robotic sidekick, Skeets, would fit right in with the show’s lighter tone, while also supplementing interesting commentary on the idea of heroism as tied to celebritism. Heck, we’d love to see Oliver give Booster his signature eye roll.
Regarding other characters who will appear on the show, the producers talked briefly on Falk Hentschel’s Hawkman a.k.a. Carter Hall. In addition to being 5,000 years old, the character will retain his memories of his past lives unlike his female counterpart, Hawkgirl. Fans of the comics know Hawkgirl as an alien from the planet Thanagar, and while Guggenheim did not confirm if the show would retain this same heritage, he did imply a faithful adaptation.
“You’ll get a clear picture of what her origin story is and you’ll actually get a chance to see it. Fans of the comics will recognize an awful lot. It’s probably one of the more faithful origins that we’ve told.”
Staying true to Hawkgirl’s comic book origin would certainly make possible a plethora of future plot threads – one specifically aligned with Keller’s ominous implications of betrayal above. In the series finale of the animated series Justice League, Hawkgirl initially betrays humanity – and her fellow league members – when her people, the Thanagarians, invade and attack Earth. While such a massive storyline is more suited to cinema, the complex dynamics involving trust, family, and allegiance would certainly prove ripe for exploration on television.
The last bit of information involved the mystery character known as Jay Jackson. While Klemmer confirmed, “Jay Jackson is not code for any other DC superhero,” that does not necessarily mean he won’t be a hero – just not one already established. But with so many other heroes joining the show, Legends may need to scale back, especially if it plans on boasting an opening monologue like Arrow and The Flash. “My name is Rip Hunter, Ray Palmer, Sarah Lance, Leonard Snark, and Shiera Hall” just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “My name is Oliver Queen.”
The Flash season two begins Tuesday, October 6, at 8PM on The CW; Arrow season four begins Wednesday, October 7, at 8PM on The CW; and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is expected to debut in early 2016 on The CW.