What do you get if you cross a man in a suit of armour, two criminals with heat and cold based weaponry, a woman who’s been raised from the dead who also happens to be a deadly assassin, a girl with wings and a man who can fly and set himself on fire? If you answered a particularly heavy night out, then stop reading now.
That unlikely bunch of miscreants is due to hit TV screens later this year as the latest superhero show to try and dominate small screens. Legends of Tomorrow, as it’s been called, is another spin off from the critically acclaimed Arrow, itself a reworking of the DC Comics hero Green Arrow.
If you’re a fan of superhero TV, you’ll probably be aware of the hits and misses of the last few years, including how well Arrow, The Flash and Gotham have been received, and the praise Daredevil has been gathering since premièring on Netflix. Let’s not mention Agents of SHIELD shall we?
Legends of Tomorrow takes some of the most well-loved characters from Arrow and The Flash, and gives them their own show. It’s a pretty simple premise in as much that they’re asked to – inevitably – save the world. The difference being that they’ll do it in the future. If that all makes it a bit confusing, then this should clear it up:
So if you’re more than a bit confused as to whom that lot are, allow me to introduce you to them:
Atom (Ray Palmer)
That’s the guy in the armoured suit, and before you think “budget Iron Man”, he’s actually a long established DC Comics character. In the books, he doesn’t have the armour, or the money that the TV version has. He’s a physicist who develops the ability to shrink to minute size to do jobs that other heroes can’t do (and I don’t mean cleaning the plughole in the bath). He’s been an established member of the Justice League for years too. In the TV show, he’s played by Brandon Routh, who was Superman in 2006’s Superman Returns. The character here first popped up in Arrow, uses his suit to fight crime, and so far hasn’t shrunk – but that does change, as the trailer attests.
White Canary (Sara Lance)
That’s the blond haired “undead assassin”, as she’s called in the trailer. Sara Lance in the comics is Dinah Lance, the Black Canary, who uses her powerful scream to subdue her enemies. In the TV show, she was killed off at the end of season two of Arrow after helping Oliver Queen, and becoming his love interest. She’s been resurrected by use of a Lazarus Pit, used by Arrow villain Ra’s al Ghul to ensure his immortality. Sara’s position as a former member of the League of Assassins and Oliver’s former love will probably be the reason she’s brought back to life.
Captain Cold and Heatwave (Leonard Snart and Mick Rory)
Two men of villainous persuasion whose roles in the show pretty much reflect their comic backgrounds. Both members of Flash’s “Rogue’s Gallery”, they have guns that operate in the hot and cold spectrum. Snart’s gun uses cold fusion to freeze anything and ultimately destroy it, while Rory has combustion cannon that heats up material to the point of its destruction. Snart is very dispassionate but has a code of conduct he tries to keep the Rogues adhering too, despite their questionable background. Mick is far more emotional and impetuous, and both have become a thorn in The Flash’s side.
Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond and Dr. Martin Stein)
Introduced in The Flash, Ronnie Raymond was a young scientist thought dead in the wake of that show’s pilot episode, while Martin Stein was a brilliant physicist thought dead in the same explosion. In reality, both had been fused together by equipment Stein had been carrying into one being. Firestorm is now an ally of The Flash, and can fly, project flames and heat objects using his powers. The two have to agree to “merge” to become Firestorm, controlled through the matrix Stein was carrying at the time. Ronnie’s body is that of Firestorm, while Stein controls the mind. In the comics, Firestorm has been combined from several different people, and is generally reckless, impulsive, and could prove to be the wildcard of the group. Interestingly, only Victor Garber, who plays Stein, is confirmed for the series, leading to questions about where the other half of Firestorm might be.
Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders)
In the comics, Hawkgirl has a far more exotic background than the one she appears to have here. Her real name is Shayera Hol, a warrior from the planet Thanagar, who comes to Earth and joins the Justice League. In various incarnations she’s fallen in love with a Green Lantern and turned out to be traitor who led a Thanagarian invasion of Earth. She’s a completely new character to the DC TV Universe, so little is known about her background, but it’s a safe bet her alien heritage will rear its head at some point. And yes, she has huge wings and can fly.
Yes, that WAS Arthur Darvill, late of Doctor Who, in the trailer. He’s playing Rip Hunter, a time traveller who returns to the past to recruit the heroes to fight the big bad who’s causing all the trouble (more of him in a second). Rip is a charismatic anti-hero and has blinked in and out of existence more times than he did in Doctor Who thanks to a variety of temporal meddling by DC. Expect him to take the lead role in the series and also to have one or two dark secrets he won’t share with the group for the sake of polluting the timeline.
If you’re doing a DC show about time travel, there’s only one villain you can use: Vandal Savage. He’s immortal, and has spent his entire life trying to destroy the earth and time itself for a variety of bizarre reasons. That aside, he’s pretty much the original evil, having been at several points throughout history to be incarnations of the Devil, Cain of the Old Testament and the man who destroys the entire universe. So he’s quite a big deal.
So that’s the brief. Will it succeed? Well, DC hasn’t done much wrong yet when it comes to its TV franchises – I suppose it’d really like to look to tomorrow, to see the show will become a legend itself.