When DC's Legends of Tomorrow premiered, starring characters from The CW's successful DC shows Arrow and The Flash, it seemed designed as a one-season experiment. The big cast and even bigger budget had rumors swirling that the show was just too expensive to keep on the air for longer than its 16 serial episodes.
While the ratings for the "Arrowverse" spinoff haven't quite reached the heights of its predecessors, the network has decided the show is worth developing further. Legends of Tomorrow was included in The CW's recent generous batch of renewals, solidifying the channel's reputation of catering to diehard fans more than just pure viewership numbers. Now that season 2 is guaranteed, the showrunners have already begun fleshing out their ideas for the next chapter of unlikely heroes teaming up through time.
The motive for the Legends team in season 1 was to stop immortal villain Vandal Savage from killing the family of Time Master Rip Hunter and destroying the world as they know it. In an interview with IGN, writer/producer Phil Klemmer explained the challenge of where to go after the finale:
"We're determined to make every part of Season 2 feel like its own show. Episode 201 will very much be a new pilot with new good guys, new bad guys, new stakes, new dynamics, new goals. The team will basically have to find a new purpose. Once you save the world, what do you do then? It's sort of a question of after you've won a Super Bowl, what do you do from there?"
Klemmer clarifies that the "new good guys" will be more about a changing dynamic on the team than any big alterations in the line-up. The showrunners feel the appeal of Legends is its underdog band of misfits, who try hard to be heroes but often get caught up in their own personal failings and conflicts. While the mixture of heroes, anti-heroes, and villains have eventually found a way to work together, those relationships are always tenuous. This includes the budding romance between Kendra (Hawkgirl) and Ray (The Atom), destined to be interrupted by another appearance of Kendra's perpetually reincarnated soulmate Carter (Hawkman). While Klemmer wouldn't quite specify Carter's effect on season 2, he did talk about the character's upcoming return.
"The version of Carter who we encounter at the end of this season isn't necessarily the one that we remember. Because we are a time travel show and because he is a man who has the habit of reincarnating, it's not going to be like he comes back into our world and is welcomed with open arms. This is a Carter Hall with an asterisk by his name. Expect surprises when we meet him, and expect complications."
As for other new faces in season 2, Klemmer couldn't confirm the return of Jonah Hex (Johnathon Schaech) or Oliver Queen's buddy Constantine (Matt Ryan), but promised other DC Comics "characters of that magnitude." He also stressed that while the packed filming schedules on Arrow and The Flash made crossovers difficult, the showrunners definitely hoped to include them in season 2, and that each show's storylines would continue to intertwine.
"Laurel's death will resonate into Season 2. It's so cool how that just enriches the world, the universe. It just makes it seem so much larger and so much more real when something that happens on Arrow can create ripples that appear on our show in a huge way. It fundamentally alters the DNA of our series. When something momentous happens in one, I think feeling the reverberations makes the universe feel coherent. It makes the universe feel big."
Klemmer also admitted that keeping track of time-traveling heroes in one universe was tough enough, so don't expect any Flash-like jumps to Earth-2. Considering that some of the Time Master rules have already seemed contradictory, it's a good idea not to complicate things any further. There's plenty of good material to dig into with the whole history and undetermined future of one planet.
While the pursuit of Savage gave the show a purpose throughout the first season, the fact that the team was destined to fail repeatedly in that mission took some of the glory out of our heroes each week. Rebooting the story with greater focus on weekly challenges and new villains should increase the level of suspense and capitalize on the more entertaining aspects of the show. Cameos from other DC stars can enrich the episodes, but they'll have to do better than the somewhat bland introduction to Jonah Hex in 'The Magnificent Eight.'
Legends of Tomorrow has a likable group of heroes, and it's always good to see a promising show get another shot at improving and earning a bigger audience. The series has its flaws, but hopefully next season's shift in focus and tone, along with interesting tie-ins to the Arrowverse, will prove that renewing the show was the right decision.
Legends of Tomorrow continues with ‘Leviathan’‘ on Thursday, April 28 at 8pm on The CW. Check out a preview below: