Legends of Tomorrow Showrunner Breaks Down Season 7 Premiere and Previews What’s Next

Legends of Tomorrow season 7 showrunner Phil Klemmer breaks down what it means for the team to be stuck in 1925, and what the rest of the season holds for the Waverider crew.

Legends of Tomorrow: Lisseth Chavez as Esperanza "Spooner" Cruz, Shayan Sobhian as Behrad, Tala Ashe as Zari, Jess Macallan as Ava, Caity Lotz as Sara Lance, Adam Tsekhman as Gary Green and Nick Zano as Nate Heywood/Steel
Photo: Colin Bentley/The CW

This article contains Legends of Tomorrow spoilers.

Legends of Tomorrow Season 7 Episode 1

Legends of Tomorrow remains one of the most delightful, unexpected shows on TV. Despite its official title as DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, the show has strayed so far from its comic book roots as to be almost unrecognizable as a superhero show in most episodes.

That isn’t a bad thing, by the way. Legends of Tomorrow is more workplace comedy than superhero show, full of compassionate, quirky weirdos who just happen to have superheroes…and one of the coolest space/timeships in TV history.

And Legends fans have lucked out this year. A cramped post-pandemic schedule means that Legends of Tomorrow season 7 landed mere weeks after season 6 finished, and the season premiere finds the team in slightly different trouble than they normally get into. Namely, they’re stranded in 1925 without that aforementioned cool ship to get them back home. And that is only the start of the misfortunes that await them this season.

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We spoke with showrunner Phil Klemmer about the wild events of the Legends of Tomorrow season 7 premiere, and the even wilder ones coming later this season.

Den of Geek: One of the things I’ve come to love about Legends is how it’s not really a DC show anymore. There’s only a handful of characters who are still from the comics, and your big villains aren’t really beholden to DC lore, either. It isn’t a superhero show in any appreciable way and it hasn’t been for a while. What was the evolution like? Did this just naturally happen along the way?

Phil Klemmer: That’s really interesting. I don’t know if we were ever terribly conscious of it. Being a superhero show I think we just started to think of these characters as as individuals and then we started to complicate them and then we got into this I guess kind of obsessive “what if” world. I mean if you just take Mick Rory as a character, obviously he exists in the comic book canon, but Dominic Purcell forces you to think about more than just a comic book character. He’s an incredibly complicated person and performer so you just keep asking these questions like “well, what if he loses his partner” and “what if he gets a chip put in his head and he gets turned into a bounty hunter” and “what if he starts writing romance novels” and “what if he falls in love and has a daughter that he doesn’t know about and becomes a grandfather and has alien babies?” 

I think a lot of times people think our show is gratuitously absurd but we’re really just following the “what next” [of it all]. And to us it does make sense and I guess the kind of cacophony of the show is that we have so many characters and they’re just growing in weird directions but then hopefully also connecting. I guess that is kind of how it went from being a superhero to a bizarre family drama because…on other superhero shows they don’t have to live together all the time. I think that’s really what’s responsible for it becoming much more of a crazy family show.

The seasons are usually themed. We’ve had the JSA, the anomalies, the magical season, the encores, and of course last season was the aliens. I couldn’t quite get a read on what that theme for Legends of Tomorrow Season 7 is going to be from this season premiere. 

It really is just O Brother, Where Art Thou or The Odyssey or Cannonball Run. It’s just point A to point B, trying to get home, the oldest story in the history of human narrative. We’ve had so many really complicated stories and mythologies, the only way we could kind of outdo ourselves was to sort of undermine that impulse and make this season anti-complicated. 

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It’s just as simple as “we need money to get gas to take a car from Odessa, Texas to the train station.” And for the Legends, they’ve never had to deal [with that]. They’re almost like a-list celebrities where they they’re just like, “how does one hail a taxi cab? How do you go to a grocery store?” 

They’ve been living in this bubble of technological comfort and Gideon has coddled them and they have the ability to just take a time ship and fix something. If they make a mistake, go back and fix it again, high five, on to the next one. But what if you have to stay and live with the consequences? 

This is a season about the Legends having to realize that, “oh, man, we’ve been passing through history, thinking that all these people are just extras, and we’re the heroes.” But now they’re just like, “we’re nobodies, and all the people we’re running into kind of are nobodies. But wait, all these nobodies are actually just as important as the marquee somebodies and…trying to realize that history is made up of all these people who aren’t famous. 

It’s like a different version of history that’s seeing it on a much more human scale, as opposed to flipping through a history book and being like, “that person’s important.” It challenges the assumption of restoring the status quo…because a lot of the status quo sucks.

For a show that often feels like it has no rules, we get a couple of hard and fast rules from the Time Masters handbook in ths season premiere. We get Rule 44 and we get Rule 23, but how many of these rules have you written out in the writers room as far as what can and can’t be done with time travel on the show?

This is actually talking about season eight, if we’re lucky enough to get it. It really has forced us to think about next season and where we’re headed, because this whole season is about Gideon, who’s now a human being who has this AI of all of history at her disposal, and she’s been able to tell us “this is what should happen, this is how you can fix it, etc.” 

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But who programmed Gideon? Presumably that was a person or a group of people and they weren’t infallible. They were just people. We’ve been kind of following Gideon’s guidance…but it’s also made us think about whose version of history? That’s the thing about the status quo. What if what if you don’t like it? You’re forced to decide between are you going to play God and change history in ways that you might not understand the consequences or are you kind of like a time fascist if you just return things that you know were no good? 

This season is also about them having to consider, “have we been doing the right thing all along?” This is this is them being forced to wonder, “are we obsolete? Do we let the computers do all of our jobs?”

Change has been baked into this show from the beginning with it right from when it started. This lineup changes all the time. 

The great thing about bringing new Legends on board is they bring their own perspectives. I think that’s a really interesting thing for Sarah and Ava. Sarah is the only one who’s been around since the beginning. [Part of my job] as a showrunner is bringing new writers in and not to say “you’ve been doing it perfectly since season one.” They love the show but they also have new perspectives on it and that’s what you know Astra and and Spooner bring, too. We have Matt Ryan rejoining us as a totally different character separate from John Constantine and it’s just great.

I feel like the Legends are constructed almost like a Dungeons and Dragons party. You have your tank, you have your fighter, you have your mage. Especially now that you’re dealing with so many new characters how do you balance these various power sets as well as their personalities?

I think the interesting thing about this season, I was sort of alluding to it with Sarah and Ava having to kind of throw the rulebook out the window. It’s not like their leadership is being challenged. But I think this season is a much more egalitarian Legends because, again, if you don’t have a ship, and you don’t have the pecking order of who’s in charge, and the specialization of the team…it just kind of allowed for us to have episodes where, you know, other people with their skill sets will kind of be driving the episode. It’s kind of a a testament to Sarah’s leadership and Ava’s leadership that when they don’t know what to do, they’re happy to open up the floor. 

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It’s kind of a chance for people who…Zari wasn’t interested in being in charge of anything other than her own business empire. But if you’re stuck in 1925, she’s clearly got an incredible, powerful, intelligent person and it’s interesting to think about what if she took those powers and actually focused them on the task at hand. That’s one of the one of the discoveries we made this season was just getting everybody a chance to wear the captain’s hat… and the confidence to be like, “alright, we’re going to trust you on this one.” 

You wouldn’t put Zari in charge of anything two seasons ago. She was way too self obsessed. But being stuck in 1925 is good for people in a surprising way. I guess that’s our big analogy for the pandemic. Look, it’s awful. It’s terrifying. But hopefully everybody has some kind of silver lining…if you found deeper connection with fewer people in your life, or you found some weird Zen kind of peace with the simplification of things. That’s kind of that’s what the Legends are going through being stuck in 1925. 

Last season was great for these really clever, incongruous musical moments. Is there gonna be any more of that coming in season seven?

Yeah, there’s a good bit of it. We have a little bit of a reprise of a musical theater number in our 100th episode. And then we kind of have a burlesque number. You can probably imagine who’s who’s doing the burlesquing. We have a kind of aerial performance that was done by Jess Macallan and Caity Lotz in real life. We recorded an original original song that was done in the style of like, 20s kind of cabaret music that our composer did for us. 

Part of the fun of this show  is we have this incredible composer [Daniel James Chan] who isn’t just doing score. It’s just so cool because we start doing these episodes and it’s like “we’ll just find a 1925 song and we’ll re-record it with actors singing.” But then you’re like, “what if we did our own song and what if we go to Capitol Records and what if we bring in 35 live musicians?” 

And as it turns out, Amy Pemberton is not just a great voiceover artist. She’s a wonderful singer as well. I just really love that we we do the highbrow/lowbrow thing. I mean it’s so beautiful and you know, then we also do silly stuff. We’ll do “The Thong Song or we’ll do Bell Biv DeVoe…we have a lot of meathead stuff on the show, too. To tell you the truth. I don’t even remember how music even became an obsession for us. It’s the sort of thing you like do it once and you get a little addicted to it. 

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We’ll have much more with Phil Klemmer about Legends of Tomorrow Season 7 very soon!