Warning: spoilers for the Legends of Tomorrow series premiere are ahead!
For months, we’ve been under the assumption that Rip Hunter recruited the lead characters in Legends of Tomorrow because they would be seen as great figures in the future. Well, it turns out the Time Master from 2166 was lying, as last night’s series premiere featured Rip admitting to everyone that he only picked them because they barely left an impact on history. So if something bad happened to them on their mission to stop Vandal Savage, there would basically be no negative effects on the time stream. It was a stunning blow to the 2016 residents, but originally, this reveal was supposed to come later in the show.
Legends of Tomorrow is continuing its pilot storyline next Thursday, and executive producer Marc Guggenheim told TV Line that Rip Hunter’s admission was originally supposed to show up at the end of Episode 2. Guggenheim said:
We were planning on revealing that secret to the team at the end of the second hour [of the two-part premiere] rather than at the end of the first. But as we go through the storybreaking process, we always realize, ‘Pull it up, pull it up, pull it up!
After recruiting the heroes and villains in the opening minutes of Legends of Tomorrow, Rip Hunter brought them to 1975 to seek help finding Vandal Savage across time from Professor Aldus Boardman, who would be dead only 24 hours later. Unfortunately, in Hawkgirl and Hawkman’s attempt to save Boardman - who it turns out was their son from a previous life - from his mysterious death, he was mortally injured by the bounty hunter Chronos. Following that death and the crew’s angered reaction, Rip told the truth about their mark on history, and they all responded differently to the news. On the far end of the spectrum, Ray Palmer, a.k.a. The Atom, felt the same feelings of insignificance he had when he was presumed dead by the public following the Arrow Season 3 finale. On the other end, Captain Cold and Heat Wave didn’t seem to care, as their only goal in life is to steal as much as possible.
Despite Rip’s revelation, the team decided to stick with him, determined to change how history looks at them. Next week, they’ll be remaining in 1975 to find Vandal Savage, who has gotten a hold of a nuclear warhead. Although Episode 1 was fast-paced, it’s probably for the best that the protagonists learned their fates sooner rather than later. Now that this is all out in the open, they can try their hardest to fix their futures while attempting to save the world from destruction. That shouldn't be too hard, right?
Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.