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DC's Legends of Tomorrow Boss Talks Villains, Rip Hunter's Motives and Season 2 Game Plan

How do they fit it all in?

Megan Vick

The CW's superhero universe expands greatly on Thursday with the premiere of DC's Legends of Tomorrow. The series is lead by Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who) as a time master named Rip Hunter who bands together a group of ragtag heroes and misfits to take down the 4,000-year-old-immortal villain Vandal Savage (Casper Crump), who was introduced in The Flash/Arrow crossover in November.

The team is comprised of The Atom (Brandon Routh), Firestorm (Franz Drameh), Dr. Stein (Victor Garber), Sarah Lance (Caity Lotz), Hawkgirl (Ciara Renee), Hawkman (Falk Hentschel) and "villains" Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and Heatwave (Dominic Purcell). Together they will travel through time to learn more about Savage's ultimate plan and figure out a way to kill him before he can take over the world.

Executive producer Phil Klemmer spoke to TVGuide.com about what's in store for the group in the show's first season, Savage's power and of course, time travel. See his answers below.

How The CW's time-traveling DC's Legends of Tomorrow will intersect with Arrow and The Flash

What is it that makes Vandal Savage such an appealing villain?

Klemmer: Ultimately, getting at his rationale and understanding that he's not just subjugating mankind. He views himself as like a beneficent dictator. He sees what he's doing as integral to the survival of human kind. He's crazy as a s--thouse rat. He's totally out of his mind. He's totally cruel and sadistic. He's got a Messiah complex. Once we get into his underlying logic for why he's doing what he's doing, that's a super interesting turn we can reach by the end of the season. Even though he's immortal, he's still a human being and he has his reasons that are more than just, "to rule the world!" A good bad guy is when you don't have to love them, but you can understand them.

Rip Hunter is assembling the team, but how much action is he going to see once the team is together?

Klemmer: In Episode 3, we will flash back to a Rip back story. Like all things Rip, he only tells our heroes as little as they need to know. We will realize he's made a run at Vandal Savage before without our heroes and that run ended rather badly. We'll sort of answer the question of why he needed a team to do this. We'll see how he failed as an individual and his reasons revealed in the pilot aren't as altruistic as he makes them out to be. He has selfish and personal reasons for [going after Vandal]. In his mind, he thought this was going to be a two-hour movie.

How much can we expect The Flash and Arrow to be intermingled with Legends this season, especially considering the time travel component?

Klemmer: They have to produce their own shows so we can't borrow them willy-nilly, but hopefully we will see past and future incarnations of familiar faces. We will let our Legends delve into their own pasts and try to make changes, like we all would if we had the chance to go back in time and interact with our former selves. We'll also get to go to the future and see the consequences of removing ourselves from the time line.

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Captain Cold and Heatwave are the only two non-traditional "heroes" going into this series. How long will they battle with that identity crisis?

Klemmer: I think they'll settle at different rates. It's interesting because it provides a source of conflict between those two. In the pilot, they are sort of a united front. They're partners. They're villains and everyone else is a goody, goody two shoes. Gradually, Leonard Snart (Miller) is able to evolve a little more quickly. The fact that this partnership, these two guys that only trust each other, are having to let themselves become encompassed by a team provides a source of conflict. The "bromance" of Rory (Purcell) and Snart is some juicy stuff. They're like an old married couple.

The producing team has been very clear that this is the cast they want to stick with, but is there room to invite someone like Constantine or other DC superheroes into the fold even if you aren't replacing the whole team?

Klemmer: There is definitely room. This season is meant to be a chapter in the anthology. We have no idea where we want to leave things after this season. Our team can have new members. It can have missing members. It can have people who switch sides. That's the great thing about this show. Season 2 is not meant to be a pressing of the reset button. We want to burn through all of the possible story we can here. We want to make sure that we can never go home again, that the dynamics of this season will be irrevocably changed. Our team for Season 2, if not in the [physical] makeup of the team, will be changed in the way that [the characters] will be different [people]. Season 1 is meant to be standalone. We want to leave everything on the field and figure Season 2 out later.

DC Legends of Tomorrow premieres Jan. 21 on The CW.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies)