The truth, albeit a suspected (and logical) one, is finally out:
The Legends of Tomorrow… are, as Jax put it, “the opposite of legends.” Meaning, the eight of ’em were recruited by Time Master Rip Hunter (Doctor Who‘s Arthur Darvill) because the dent they leave on history will be so infinitesimal, they’re meaningless to the future timeline — and thus are expendable, should the mission go sideways.
“That was always the design [of the show],” says exec producer Marc Guggenheim — albeit at one point with a tiiiiiny tweak.
“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,” he shares. “But as we go through the storybreaking process, we always realize, ‘Pull it up, pull it up, pull it up!'”
How did the Legends react, learning sooner versus a bit later? Rather than use that terribly sad tidbit from Rip to fuel years upon years of therapy, Ray Palmer, Sara Lance, Professor Martin Stein, “Jax” Jackson, Leonard “Captain Cold” Snart, Mick “Heat Wave” Rory, Hawkgirl and Hawkman ultimately decide to stay on mission — hunting Vandal Savage, the immortal mad man who murdered Rip’s wife and son — and, in (possible) success, perhaps change their own humdrum fates.
Part 1 of the CW premiere opens with Rip soliciting the servitude of each team member, which in specific cases leads Ray and Sara to seek counsel from Oliver and Laurel, respectively. (As luck would have it, Laurel already had contracted Cisco for a White Canary suit, so that her sis can be a hero in the light.) Only one candidate, Jax, shows hesitation — an issue remedied by a not-a-roofie from Firestorm’s gung-ho other half, Professor Stein.
Upon enlistment, the Legends meet Rip’s on-board AI, Gideon (voiced by Amy Pemberton); learn the ins and outs of “temporal navigation” aboard the Waverider (including blindness and vertigo); and first boogie on down to 1975, to meet a professor who specializes in all things Vandal Savage — and thus knows of the Hawkpeople. In fact, Dr. Aldus Boardman knows Kendra and Carter quite well, being their son from another era and all!
While the Hawks, Ray and Stein deal with Boardman, Leonard, Mick and Sara hit a ’70s bar, where they grab a buncha dollar beers and wind up in a brawl. They return to the Waverider in time to help Rip and the others fend off Chronos, a bounty hunter sent by the Time Masters to thwart Rip’s rogue mission. During the melee, Aldus takes fire and eventually dies from his wounds.
Aldus was fated to die soon, regardless. Besides, Rip says in explaining one of the show’s key rules to time travel, they cannot revisit a moment in which they have already participated. Or, time folds in on itself, Marty McFly’s parents disappear… and all that.
The hour closes with Savage laying his mitts on a nuclear warhead in 1975 Norway, setting the stage for what will be his first encounter with the legends now chasing him — in next Thursday’s Part 2.