TV shows based on comics always require some serious suspension of disbelief for the premises, and The CW’s superhero universe is no different. Back in 2012, we had to accept Oliver Queen as a gravity-defying archer extraordinaire with a penchant for working out shirtless on Arrow. In 2014, we saw Barry Allen acquire super speed and super healing after being struck by lightning on The Flash. The upcoming year will see us needing to suspend our disbelief a whole lot further for spinoff Legends of Tomorrow, which centers on the tricky concept of time travel. Fortunately, producer Phil Klemmer is quick to promise that there will be some rules.
According to Screenrant, Phil Klemmer had this to say about the rules of time travel on Legends of Tomorrow:
No, death means death; if you lose that, you get the kind of ‘get out of jail free card.’ You know, we do construct a rule on our show that if you kill me right now with a hatchet, the rest of the team can’t just go on for a show, then go back in time and stop you from hitting me with the hatchet. Our rule is that when try to interfere with events that you participated in, that creates a time paradox, and black holes, and horrible things happen. So we want to keep those tensions alive; when our characters are in moments of mortal peril, that they do have consequences – they they’re not just like, ‘well, it’s Groundhog Day, we’ll start over tomorrow.’
While Klemmer’s promise does have something of an ominous ring to it – especially considering the size of the Legends cast that certainly could be trimmed for maximum tragedy at any point – the rule of death meaning death will keep the stakes nice and high. Without a single lead character, tension that any character could die at any point will likely work in the show's favor. It also sets Legends apart from sister shows Arrow, which have already seen resurrections bringing back major characters. In fact, principle Legends character Sara Lance will be returning from the dead on Arrow in order to take her place in the spinoff.
Sara Lance is not the only character that we’ve already met who will be joining the team for Legends of Tomorrow. In addition to Sara, Arrow will be contributing Ray Palmer as the Atom. The Flash will be sending Martin Stein of the original Firestorm twosome, Captain Cold, and Heatwave. We have yet to officially meet Hawkman, Hawkgirl, or Rip Hunter, but there’s still plenty of time in Season 4 of Arrow and Season 2 of The Flash to set up Legends even further so that the latest spinoff can hit the ground running.
We haven't yet seen for ourselves if it will be necessary to tune in to all three shows in order to understand or enjoy Legends of Tomorrow, but Phil Klemmer’s promise that death will mean death on the newest show in The CW’s comic universe has already set itself apart and raised the time travel stakes in an entirely unique way.