DC's Legends of Tomorrow might be the Arrowverse's zaniest show, but it looks like the goofy time-traveling series is reeling it in next season. The Season 4 finale ended on a major cliffhanger that suggested the show will be returning to its history-based roots next season, with classic foes staging a comeback.
"Hey World!" saw Neron continue to wreak havoc in Ray's (Brandon Routh) body by inciting the worldwide fear of magical beings through his monster-spotting app, which featured a hidden clause that granted him ownership over each user's soul. In order to assuage the rampant paranoia and stop Neron once and for all, the Legends turned Hank Heywood's (Tom Wilson) imagined themed park for mystical creatures into reality, inadvertently changing Zari's anti-magic, authoritarian future in the process. To prevent this from completely altering who she was, Zari (Tala Ashe) sat back in the Temporal Zone, which served as a buffer from the effects, while the rest of the team handled things on the ground.
Shoutout to Legends for delivering the best Monitor (LaMonica Garrett) cameo when he showed up at HeyWorld munching popcorn as chaos ensued around him. This marks the fourth setup for this year's Arrowverse crossover, "Crisis on Infinite Earths," after Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl dropped easter eggs in their respective finales.
A final showdown with Neron ended with the demonic overload being ejected from Ray's body after killing Nate (Nick Zano), allowing Constantine (Matt Ryan) to finish him off for good. Unwilling to idly stand by while Nate died, Zari rushed his side just in time for the gang to revive their fallen friend using Neron's magical staff. Realizing that she had little time before the effects of her altered future kicked in, Zari hugged Nate one last time and was subsequently replaced by her formerly deceased brother Behrad. With the new timeline in full effect, the gang — which now includes Nora Darhk (Courtney Ford) — set off for their next adventure, unaware of the major change.
Back in the underworld, an adult Astra Logue (Olivia Swan), who was killed and damned to hell in a botched exorcism by Constantine, cashed in on those soul coins she collected while teaming up with the chain-smoking occult detective. The episode wrapped with her releasing numerous historical baddies, like Genghis Khan, from hell, setting the stage for a more focused Season 5 as the gang takes on some returning villains.
With that finale twist opening the door for some familiar faces to head back to the series, TV Guide hit up showrunner Phil Klemmer to dish on what's in store for Season 5. The Legends boss opened up about that finale twist, what Zari's timeline change means for next season, and why now is the perfect time to bring back Season 1 villain Vandal Savage (Casper Crump).
The episode ends with Astra Logue unleashing some old enemies from hell. How does that set up Season 5?
Phil Klemmer: As much fun as we had mixing around the world of magic and monsters and creatures and all that, I think we wanted to kind of get back to the roots of the show and root it more firmly in history and historical periods and figures and true villains. The scariest villains of all are the ones that existed.
Right before that, Nate dies in order to save Ray but is then brought back to life by the power of love. Did you always know that he would live or did you consider letting him stay dead?
Klemmer: There was a version where it would have been heartbreaking and it would have been a true heroic sacrifice, and there are a lot of other shows that would have done that. I guess we lack some essential ruthlessness on Legends where we didn't have the heart [to kill him permanently]. We didn't want it to just be arbitrary that he came back to life, but so much of this episode has been about music and magic. We wanted there to be a positive message coming out of it. Obviously, the idea is not the most obtuse, the fear of magical creatures. But with everything we have going on with the real world, we just wanted there to be a message of optimism at the end. And man, it was hard to leave Nick Zano dead. When we had that beat up on the board, that thing came back and haunted me. Of course, once we realized that his resurrection gave us the chance to bring Tom Wilson back on the show, we were like, "Oh yeah, we're definitely doing it now."
I loved that Nate got closure with his dad. And that was a wonderful send-off for Tom Wilson.
Klemmer: Originally, he was supposed to be our villain of the season and at a certain point, we fell in love with that character in a way that we had to do away with that story.
Nate's life may have been spared, but the Legends lost Zari, who changed her future after stepping out of the Temporal Zone to help him. What's going on with her? Is she gone for good?
Klemmer: Well, she's not dead. You have to just imagine a world in which her dystopian, authoritarian future never happened. The only reason she was on the team is because of all the horrible things that happened. She was a product of an awful experience, and she was a triumphant person. She was a force of nature, and she's brilliant and resilient. What we want to play around with next season is getting at the irony that sometimes, if you give a person everything, that maybe if she lived a more charmed life, she wouldn't be the Zari that we know and love. That doesn't mean it wasn't totally a victory [in the Season 4 finale]. But you know, in saving the world, you would lose her as maybe a less savory or less cool Zari I think we might be encountering in the future. I think we might experience what happened if Zari were a little spoiled. Because moving forward, she's a bit of an internet celebrity of some sort. It's the girl who tamed dragons.
In her place, we have her formerly deceased brother Behrad. Nate sensed something was off, hinting that he might be aware of the alternate timeline. How will that come into play in Season 5?
Klemmer: We played a little bit with Constantine in "Legends of Legends of To-Meow-Meow," having to deal with dual realities, and it drove him pretty bonkers. I guess you could say that there's a similar reckoning in Nate's brain. What we're trying to say is you can change reality, but some things are too powerful to be erased from someone's memory, like being in love with his woman. I guess we're gonna have to see whether next season's Zari is really worthy of that love.
Zari and Nate did have that sweet moment together before she changed into her brother.
Klemmer: We never knew if that relationship was gonna work. It's all being tested before America's eyes. There was a moment where we were just like, "I don't know if this is going to work." Then there was that moment where she straightened Nate's tie before his dad's funeral and you're just like, "OK, it's gonna work."
It was really cool to see Vandal Savage return in such a surprising way. What a lovely nod to Season 1. What made you want to bring him back?
Klemmer: Casper Crump is so delightful in the same way that Arthur Darvill [is]. Arthur and Cas play these pretty stern, somewhat joyless characters in Season 1, and then as soon as you called cut, you realize that these guys are incredibly animated and hilarious and multitalented. And so, if our show has a shot at redemption, we figured that Casper deserved at least as much. Just as a human being, he has always been a Legend, and we were forcing him into straight villainy but it never quite fit. Whenever he was playing Vandal Savage, there was always a twinkle in his eyes that indicated he was slightly tongue in cheek. He actually belongs on our show now more than ever because he's delightful. However many episodes we do next season, if we can find that number of people from hell to be our bad guys, I think we're gonna have a great season.
What are some of the themes and stories you'd like to explore next season?
Klemmer: It seems like this time every year, we come back to the same question. It's always about growing up. The Legends are kind of living in this Neverland, the best time travelers. And it's like the tension, they always feel it like that's a fantasy, that you would never have to grow old. You would never have to succumb to adult responsibilities, but it's also a nightmare. Because on one hand, you have mortgages and jury duty and all kinds of horrid stuff. But then, you also have children and long-term relationships. There's a wonderful flip side to that coin. At a certain point, all of them are gonna grow up. They're like a band, and everybody wants to keep the band back together, but everybody has a life outside of that band. Next season is gonna about: How do you grow up without moving on?
We heard mention of Damien Darhk who is said to be going mad in hell. Is that something you plan to explore further?
Klemmer: We would die to have Neal McDonough on the show again.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow is expected to return in the midseason
(Disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)