7 Reasons Why Legends Of Tomorrow Needs To Get Better At Time Travel

sara lance rip hunter legends of tomorrow

The CW has established an impressive empire of superhero series. The next TV season will see four connected comic shows on four different nights, and each drama focuses on a different aspect of the DC comics universe. Arrow covers a non-superpowered superhero, The Flash revolves around a metahuman speedster, Supergirl is all about an alien with powers galore, and Legends of Tomorrow has an ensemble of travelers going on adventures through time and space.

Unfortunately, Legends of Tomorrow often falls short on how it handles those timely adventures. The shortcomings didn't stop Legends from earning a second season, but the series really needs to improve the ways that it uses time travel for the exploits of Rip Hunter and Co. Take a look at our breakdown of 7 reasons why Legends of Tomorrow has to get better at time travel for Season 2.

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The Show Is About Time Travel

Legends of Tomorrow is literally about time travel. The show may feature action sequences filled with superpowers and mystical powers and an assassin kicking ass with her bo staff, but it is fundamentally about a team's journey through time and space. The ONE thing that Legends of Tomorrow always needs to get right is time travel. The rest of the issues of the show might not be so problematic if it was firmly and irrefutably established what can and cannot ever be done with its central premise. The rules of time travel on Legends feel like they're being made up as the series goes along, and the characters very rarely face permanent repercussions when they break what rules there are, despite whatever warnings have come up about such timeline alterations. For anybody who has ever seen a quality time travel movie or episode of Doctor Who, Legends of Tomorrow can be tough to watch in that respect.

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These Legends Are Super Irresponsible

The titular team in Legends of Tomorrow have been impressively irresponsible with how everyone conducts themselves when they travel through time. Rip Hunter's entire scheme to stop Vandal Savage to save his family would have changed the timeline of the entire universe in such a huge way that even the most grieving husband and father should have known better than to attempt it. Members of the team interacted with their past selves and versions of their past families only vaguely considering how changes in their past could affect their present. Characters used futuristic technology in past eras without trying particularly hard to conceal what exposure to such tech could do to the locals. This mod-lite squad saved the lives of people in days gone by without knowing how significantly each death might have influenced history. They're incredibly foolhardy with their immense power, and it can be hard to root for that behavior.

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The Show Is Getting Bigger

The final episodes of Season 1 cut down the ensemble of Legends of Tomorrow by three when Leonard Snart was killed and the Hawks decided to leave behind their adventures in the Waverider. The cliffhanger, however, featured the introduction of a character known as Hourman who will, in some way, serve as the gateway to the Justice Society of America of DC comic lore. Executive producer Marc Guggenheim has revealed that viewers are in for many, many more DC characters from every corner of the DC universe, which means new time travelers will be joining the crew as regulars in Season 2. The show will be getting much bigger and fuller on all fronts in the very near future, so if the time travel that drives the expansions doesn't make more sense than it did in Season 1, the bigger world of Season 2 won't have a solid enough foundation to hold it all together.

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New Characters Will Come From Different Eras

The whole crew of Season 1 of Legends of Tomorrow was picked up from the present day. Kendra and Carter were technically reincarnated ancient Egyptians (from an Egypt filled with a lot of non-Egyptian people and English text) who had been alive in some form or another for thousands of years, but they had all the knowledge and experiences of contemporary lives. (None of Rip's comrades had read about their adventures in the history books.) Season 2 will be plucking characters out of past timelines to join the series as regulars, so the series needs to show the people from the past adjusting differently than the contemporary characters to life in the Waverider, and it needs to explore what the characters from eras past can and cannot do to change their futures when their histories may have affected the lives of the rest of the crew. Simple enough, right?

sara lance rip hunter legends of tomorrow

The Legends Are The New Time Masters Now

One of the biggest twists of the first season of Legends of Tomorrow was that former Time Master Rip Hunter and his crew removed the active Time Masters from their positions as guardians of the timelines of the universe. The heroes were warranted to a certain degree, insofar as the Masters had been corrupted, but it was a bold move getting rid of those particular overlords and taking on the responsibilities themselves. They're now responsible for protecting and correcting timelines, which will be much harder now that they don't have access to the resources that enabled the Masters to know how events were meant to unfold. Season 2 is set to follow the team as they act as the Masters, and it won't work at all if Legends of Tomorrow doesn't give the new Masters a concrete set of time rules to adhere to responsibly.

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Time Travel Affects More Than Just Legends Of Tomorrow

All four shows that will comprise The CW's DC universe are connected, and almost the entire cast of Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 made their DC TV debuts on Arrow and Flash, with the Flarrow-verse's ties to Supergirl-verse coming during Barry's accidental jump from his Earth to Supergirl's Earth. So what Legends of Tomorrow does with time travel can (and arguably should) affect what happens on any and all of the other shows in The CW's DC universe. Legends of Tomorrow mishandling time travel would be like Oliver Queen failing at archery, Barry Allen failing at running really fast to save the day, and Kara Danvers failing to be super. A huge crossover is in the works, and all four shows will need to deliver well on their premises. For Legends of Tomorrow, that's time travel.

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The Flash Does It Better

Time travel was introduced into The CW's DC universe on The Flash, and The Flash continues to handle it better than Legends of Tomorrow. The Flash isn't always particularly good at how it lets Barry race to the past, but it does usually show consequences for when Barry irresponsibly changes things during his trips backward. With the Flashpoint storyline in the works for The Flash Season 3 after Barry went back to save his mom from ever being murdered, we can expect a thorough look at why it's a bad idea to mess with big events that have already unfolded. But The Flash is about a speedster who occasionally messes with time, and yet it does time travel much better than Legends of Tomorrow, which should at least needs to be the best time travel show in The CW's DC universe. Is that so much to ask?

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.