DC’s Legends of Tomorrow was rebuilt piece by piece for season 2

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DC’s Legends of Tomorrow was an odd show. At its best, it was a high energy mix of rogues and heroes hopping across time and space to battle a genocidal immortal whose grand plan for global domination involved hoping that nobody in the future would remember having seen Pacific Rim after he unleashed his doomsday robot.

At its worst, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow was formulaic and stale stuff, that felt rushed and made its cast face a foe that even they couldn’t beat: A slashed special effects budget. And that’s a feeling that executive producers Phil Klemmer and Marc Guggenheim agree on. So much so, that the pair spoke about how the second season wouldn’t just introduce new faces, but focus on rebuilding the show “piece by piece” for its return. Provided that the legends can survive their encounter with the Legion of Doom.

“We really took our hiatus this year and took the show apart, and rebuilt it piece by piece,” Klemmer said at Comic Con via CBR.

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We’re much more deliberate, just thinking about where is this going to take us. A lot of the story of Season 1 felt like they were compulsory because we put certain story elements into motion. You killed Rip’s family, you’ve got to avenge that. We said that Vandal Savage is going to ruin the world, we’ve got to stop that. Oh, we revealed who our bad guy is, that doesn’t leave much room for mystery.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow was a series that was launched via the momentum of Arrow and The Flash, taking characters from those shows and throwing them together in a ragtag fashion. It also meant that Legends of Tomorrow bypassed the usual method of pitching a new series, getting the greenlight for a full season almost immediately. A move that Guggenheim says didn’t really allow the crew the time to “figure things out”:

The learning curve was… it wasn’t a curve, it was a straight line up. So in Season 2, we’ve used the destruction of the Oculus and the Time Masters in episode 15 as a kicking off point for a brand new raison d’etre for the show and for the team. Now, they’re more like time cops. They’ve got to do the job of the Time Masters. The Time Masters are no longer a going concern, so the Legends have appointed themselves the job of making sure history is protected from time pirates.

It just allows for a lot more fun.

“In Season 2, we’re realizing we can take it slow, not showing all our cards, letting our story unfold incrementally and really indulging the mystery, and letting our villain or evil forces develop organically alongside our guys, and giving them more room to just be themselves,” Klemmer explained.

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Because we put such a responsibility on them saving the world, you kind of hated them if they weren’t staying on task. But frankly, the fun of the Legends is when they’re not on task. You want them grab-assing, you want them stabbing each other in the back in a fun way, you want them irresponsible. Allowing them to be the time police and allowing them to screw up, I think it’s going to be lighter — not in a frivolous way, but light in a way that allows us to explore character more than we did last year.

One thing that you won’t see right away in season 2? Any short-term ramifications from the end of the second season of The Flash, that created a Flashpoint of chronal mismanagement. “Can you imagine, it’s already complicated with our own characters changing time, and now Barry changed time, too?” Guggenheim said.

At a point when we’re trying to relaunch the show, to also have to deal with another show’s plotline, I think it would just collapse under its own weight. You’re going to get a connection with ‘Flash’ later on in the season, but it will be different than, ‘We start off Season 2 and everything’s different because of Flashpoint.

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The big payoff at the end of the first season of Legends of Tomorrow came with a tease of the introduction of the Justice Society of America. A league of heroes who’ll be “integral to the season-long mystery,” of the second series and essentially the “antithesis of the Legends”. “We always said that ‘Legends’ is a story about a dysfunctional family, and the way we highlight that dysfunction is to have them meet the idealized version of themselves,” Klemmer explained.

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If I had to go back and join the Greatest Generation and fight at Normandy? I was just complaining about my sandwich! It had mayonnaise on it, I didn’t want mayonnaise, boo hoo. But the guys who fought at Normandy, they were getting off this vehicle and getting shot on.

So our Legends are like me, Millennial babies with their own baggage and dysfunction, and all of a sudden they’re next to these Golden Age heroes who are the prototypical superheroes, and it reminds them of their own deficiencies for some of our characters.

For other characters, it’s like, ‘Fuck you, guys. What’s the point of having powers if you don’t get to indulge them and use them selfishly?’ It’s a generational culture clash that we just thought would be fun. If you’re doing time travel, put them face to face with an earlier era’s version of themselves.

Sounds like a vast improvement already! Hopefully with the teething phase over, this sophomore effort will be able to focus more on what makes the Legends of Tomorrow a red-hot concept for TV screens. And features less weird viral bird monsters because of course that made sense.

Last Updated: August 8, 2016

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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