Legends of Tomorrow: Inside Sarah and Ava’s Slasher Movie Adventure

We spoke with #AvaLance about the slasher-themed episode of Legends of Tomorrow and what it means for the pair.

Caity Lotz and Jes Macallan as Sara and Ava in Legends of Tomorrow

This article contains Legends of Tomorrow spoilers.

The latest episode of Legends of Tomorrow was a fun-filled homage to slasher movies, teen romance comedies, and the shoulder-padded glory of the ’80s as the team headed back to catch a new Encore who just so happens to be a supernaturally-powered spree killer.

As dark as that sounds, this is Legends of Tomorrow so it was also completely ridiculous as Ava revealed a passion for true crime and a secret podcasting career, and Sara helped her fulfil her lifelong dream of being a final girl. We recently chatted with the pair alongside EPs Keto Shimizu and Grainne Godfree to talk about the ’80s love letter and what it means for Sara and Ava.

“John Hughes meets John Carpenter was really our ongoing mantra for this episode,” co-executive producer Keto Shimizu explained. “We are genre fanatics, as you’ve probably gathered over five seasons. So we love to pick a genre for an episode and then really live in it. For this particular episode we did a mashup because we’re in the ’80s. We thought let’s take two of our favorite genres from that time period and put them together–so, you know, the kind of teen romance genre, like the Breakfast Club—and slashers.” That was a point that writer Grainne Godfree was quick to build on. “I think we all saw it as not just a slasher movie but also these kind of Say Anything ’80s teen movies.”

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If you’re a big horror fan, then you’ll likely have fallen in love with the horror-drenched episode and its misidentified bullied high school slasher, Freddy Myers, whose name might just sound familiar. “You have the fun of a Halloween style killer chasing these kids, mixed with Freddy Krueger, like it’s a mashup of those kinds of horror movies,” Shimizu told us. Just like Friday the 13th, the real killer is actually Freddy’s mom, Mrs. Myers, which is also a reference to one of Godfree’s favorite horror movies, Carrie. “That film was very formative for me.”

Ironically, when we sat down with Caity Lotz and Jes Macallan, the actors who play the fan favorite couple revealed they aren’t actually fans of slasher films at all, with both of them expressing how the often gory nature of the genre isn’t something that they enjoy. “I don’t like slashers,” Lotz laughed. “I like horror thrillers but not slashers.”

Lotz’s co-star and on-screen girlfriend Macallan agreed: “I keep saying I can’t watch them. I’m like an absolute massive emotional wreck when it comes to blood and guts and gore. I can’t, like it actually affects me in a superficial way.”

That lack of bloodlust didn’t affect the pair’s performances, though, as Ava reveals that she has a huge passion for serial killers and their stories. In fact, in a hilarious turn of events, she has an entire podcast dedicated to them that a sum total of zero of the Legends knew about. This storyline ends up being more than just a funny aside as it also leads to Ava getting to fulfill one of her bucket list goals: becoming a final girl alongside her girlfriend Sara.

The duet of queer final girls feels like exactly the kind of radical fun that Legends does so well, but as Godfree explained it wasn’t always going to be that way: “There were versions of the story where there was a single final girl and it was going to be either Sara or Ava but then we were like… why not final girls? That’s so fun!”

Despite her lack of horror chops, Macallan was well versed enough in slasher lore to know what a final girl’s ultimate role is. “I was like, yes! I know what that is and I was happy because I just don’t want to die,” Macallan laughed.

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The pairing of Sara and Ava, which is known fondly by fans as AvaLance, is a popular one, largely because of how happy the pair get to be. That’s something that has been keen to Macallan when it comes to shaping the character. “I said it already last season, I’m not breaking up with her again! I love her! Write something else, we went to Ikea purgatory together!!”

While Lotz loves the pair together, she’s got slightly conflicted feelings about the pairing in regards to how much it defines Sara’s life and what it can be outside of the loved up couple. “It’s complicated because sometimes I’m like, ‘Can we have a storyline that isn’t about her relationship?’ That’s the only downside. I love the AvaLance and their relationship, it’s awesome. But then sometimes when you’re like, ‘Wait, Sara also still just has issues and things to deal with other than their partner.’ Which I’m hoping we get to do some more of that exploration.”

On screen, though, Sara will do anything for Ava, including making her dreams of being a final girl come true, even if she couldn’t personally care less. “For Sara, this adventure is mostly about how much Ava loves horror and that the idea of being a final girl is like a big deal to her. Sara couldn’t give a shit about it, but she loves how much Ava loves it. So I think it was a cool experience because it’s like if your partner gets to do something that they love and you get to do it with them. I think that was a big part of it and then what we’ll see after that episode–because I was prepping to direct mine–is that she then gives Ava this big responsibility.”

Lotz continued, teasing a little about what it means that Sara hands control of the Waverider over to Ava next episode. “I think that means she trusts her a lot and knows that she went from being the big boss at this corporation to the girlfriend on the ship, so she probably needs some responsibilities.”

You can watch Legends of Tomorrow at 9PM ET on The CW.