Legends of Tomorrow is going to be DC Comics most ambitious (and some would say, risky) superhero spinoff series for The CW, following in the footsteps of hit series Arrow and its spinoff, The Flash. The new show acts as miniseries spinoff of The Flash‘s time-bending mythology, in which a so-called time master named Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) gathers various heroes and villains we’ve met in both Arrow and The Flash, for a team tasked with patrolling the time stream and thwarting an evil immortal named Vandal Savage (Casper Crump).
Though the team starts out as a combination of disparate personalities – Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), Firestorm (Victor Garber), White Canary (Caity Lotz), Hawkman (Falk Hentschel), Hawkgirl (Ciara Renee) and villains Heatwave (Dominic Purcell) and Cold (Wentworth Miller) – are told that they are destined to become … (you guessed it) legendary heroes of the future.
One of the more intriguing aspects of Legends of Tomorrow is the inclusion of iconic DC superheroes Hawkman and Hawkgirl in the show; Hawkman will be played by Falk Hentschel (Reckless), while Hawkgirl will be played by theater actress Ciara Renee (Pipin).
For years DC fans have either anticipated or dreaded seeing Hawkman in a live-action DC Universe. The Superman origin show Smallville brought the character to TV screens – and while the character of Carter Hall/Hawkman was well portrayed by actor Stargate SG-1 actor Michael Shanks, the visual effects to create Hawkman’s powers were a bit on the cheesy side:
Hawkman and Hawkgirl both have pretty convoluted origin stories (in different versions they’re either reincarnated lovers, or alien police officers, or both). The effects to make their “bird people” powers look good onscreen – let alone on TV budget – LET ALONE in an ensemble show where there are multiple superpowered characters to service.
We came to New York Comic Con 2015 to talk with Legends of Tomorrow star Ciara Renee about what we can expect from here version of Hawkgirl, plans for the character’s future, and the planned crossovers with shows Flash and Arrow.
Q: What do you think about female superheroes [flooding] TV first, before the movies?
Ciara Renee: I love it! I love seeing female superheroes in general! I think we need a female-led TV show – where’s that at? [Laughs] So I think it’s great.
Q: Do you think it’s changed? Apparently there was this idea that women didn’t like superhero stories.
Ciara Renee: Oh my god – Of course we do! I’ve always loved it! As a kid I used to watch ‘Justice League’ and everything like that. I loved that! Of course we love that! Yeah I think we’re definitely heading in a better direction; there’s definitely more heroines coming out, but I think we need to up it, big time. [Laughs]
Q: Referencing the ‘Justice League’ cartoon, which your character was featured in very heavily. Hawkgirl has one of the most revised and retconned histories in DC Comics, I mean reading the Wikipedia page gets kind of crazy. What have they done to streamline that background for your version of the character?
Ciara Renee: Yeah, we’re definitely doing the reincarnation version. So she used to be an Egyptian priestess and has been reincarnated with Hawkman for centuries. So that’s kind of where we’re going with it. At present, that’s the storyline we’re working on, but I think what’s great is that they’ve created something where they have a lot of possibilities. Like we can go backwards and forwards in time and find all different kinds of Hawkgirls; we also have a different universe in ‘Flash’ – we have a different world – we brought Earth-2 into it. So I think the possibility to have more of the complicated storylines later on is available.
Q: Have you sat down with Greg [Berlanti] and the other producers and talked about things like ‘Hawkworld’ and Thanagar?
Ciara Renee: Well they sent me all of the comics as soon as I was cast, and I’ve been reading them, and really enjoying them, actually! You know, right now, I think we’re all just trying to get through the beginnings, the origin, because Kendra didn’t know who she is; she didn’t know that she had powers; she didn’t know that she had a soulmate; she didn’t know that she is reincarnated; so right now, she’s just kind of figuring all that out.
Q: When you’re playing the character – you said she doesn’t remember her past. When you switch to other times, is it always sort of a question of her realizing ‘I lived in this past, this is who I am?”
Ciara Renee: I think that’s kind of what we’re playing; she never really remembers and Hawkman has to kind of help her out.
Q: Does that change you performance? Like do you have to play the character like she has some kind of strange knowledge and fear of that past?
Ciara Renee: I mean yeah! I think that when she first starts remembering and having visions of the past, it’s shocking and jarring to her and doesn’t make a lot of sense. But I think having Hawkman there to kind of guide her through it is helpful. And then, you know, unleashing those kinds of memories and that kind of wisdom and knowledge about the world is really going to do something to her character. She’s not going to be all over the place and ‘I don’t understand this,’ after awhile, she’s going to kind of drop and say ‘Oh, I’ve seen this before! I know this!’
Q: We kind of got to see her in the [season 1 finale] of ‘The Flash’. Are we going to see her more in ‘The Flash’ as well, and also in ‘Legends of Tomorrow’?
Ciara Renee: And ‘Arrow’.
Q: And ‘Arrow’?
Ciara Renee: Yep – I’m on all the things!
Q; Following up on that: Awhile ago there were rumors of your character getting her own spinoff show. The CW came back and said that’s false, but was there any kernel of truth in that?
Ciara Renee: Not that I know of! I don’t know where that came from! I mean I’m all for it but I don’t know where that came from! [Laughs]
Q: Because it sounds like you more than some of the other characters are popping up on all these shows.
Ciara Renee: I think it’s mostly because I’m the newest; I don’t have an origin like everybody else does. Like uh, Fire… Firestorm has been on ‘Flash’, [Martin Stein] has been on ‘Flash’; Dominic and Wentworth were on Flash; Caity was on ‘Arrow’ and Brandon was on ‘Arrow’. So before they’d all kind of started on the other shows, basically, and I didn’t have an origin, so I think that’s why we’re using ‘Flash’ and ‘Arrow’ to springboard that story.
Q: Can you talk about how we meet you on those shows?
Ciara Renee: Sure, sure, yeah, yeah, yeah! I just move to Central City in ‘The Flash’, and I’m a small town girl and I was like, “I gotta figure out who I am.” I think she’s always known there’s something weird or different about her, but she didn’t know what it was. So she makes this big change to find out, and she does end up finding out! [Laughs]
There’s no firm premiere date for Legends of Tomorrow, though the series is expected in early 2016. Season 2 of The Flash is currently airing on Tuesdays at 8pm on the CW, and Season 4 of Arrow airs on Wednesdays at 8pm on The CW.