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Legends of Tomorrow Co-Creator on How Arrowverse Crossover Prepared Him for Directorial Debut

And how the Legends set comperes to Arrow

Keisha Hatchett

DC's Legends of Tomorrowis staging one of its most ambitious episodes yet as the Legends find themselves trapped in different TV shows in the episode "The One Where We're Trapped on TV," which airs Tuesday, May 26 at 9/8c. The fun-filled hour, the season's penultimate episode, will see the CW series spoofing megahits like Friends, Downton Abbey, Star Trek, and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and will be a particularly special outing for Arrow and Legends co-creator Marc Guggenheim, who steps into the director's chair for the first time ever. It's a bold move that can be partially credited to Arrowverse architect Greg Berlanti, who suggested that Guggenheim do something outside of the box for the series.

"[I was] absolutely terrified," Guggenheim told TV Guide of his directorial debut. "About a year and a half ago, I was having lunch with Greg Berlanti and I was feeling a little bit in a creative malaise. And he said, 'I think you need to do something that scares you.' and he suggested directing. It did scare me, but he was also right that it was a great creative jolt in the arm."

With Crisis on Infinite Earths also on his plate, Guggenheim pushed for a later episode in the season so he wouldn't be pulling double duty working on the five-part mega event in post-production while also directing for the first time. As a result, he wound up with the second biggest episode of the season. "The One Where We're Trapped on TV" is packed with an abundance of scenes across different, somewhat elaborate sets that required a huge effort to piece together. Guggenheim admits the experience pushed him both physically and mentally, given that he went into the episode already running on fumes.

Caity Lotz and Jes Macallan, DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Caity Lotz and Jes Macallan, DC's Legends of Tomorrow 

Jack Rowand/The CW

"I started directing the episode pretty much right on the heels of both Crisis ending and the Arrow series finale being shot and I was about as exhausted mentally and physically as I've ever been when I started directing, and yet the experience was so invigorating that it felt like a vacation -- which I know sounds crazy. But also, going from juggling so many different things to focusing on just one episode, that was a vacation compared to what I had been doing," Guggenheim explained.

As a key figure in the Arrowverse, Guggeinhem has seen firsthand how the CW's superheroes operate behind the scenes. When it comes to Arrow and Legends, two shows that are drastically different in tone, Guggenheim says both shows have at least one thing in common: They're fun to work on.

"Both are wonderful sets staffed by really wonderful people, a lot of people who had been with both shows for the life of each show," he said. "One thing I've noticed across all the shows is that the groups tend to reflect, and this includes the writers as well, the tone of the show. I've always felt like the Arrow writers, who I actually love to death, were always the most serious writer's room because it had the most serious show. And Legends, it's such a wild, crazy set because it's such a wild, crazy show, which is not to say it's not disciplined or anything. Legends is an incredibly ambitious show with different time periods and everything. It wouldn't be able to be produced if it didn't run like a Swiss watch, but it runs like a Swiss watch with a big smiley face on it."

Catch this zany Swiss watch with a big smiley face in action when a new episode of Legends of Tomorrow airs Tuesday, May 26 at 9/8c on the CW.