'Legends of Tomorrow': A Beginner's Guide to CW's Latest Superhero Mash-Up

Everything comic book newbies and weathered veterans need to know about all the heroes (and villains) behind this ragtag, time-traveling team.
Jeff Weddell/The CW

The CW's latest drama is like taking a bunch of comic book shows and putting them into a blender, with the end result being a delicious but jam-packed DC Comics smoothie. There's more than one show's fair share of heroes, some villains switching teams to become heroes (begrudgingly), and enough time-travel to confuse even the most seasoned of superhero fans. It's fun, but it's a lot to take in without any pre-show preparation.

The latest spinoff from The Flash and Arrow comes from the minds of uber-producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg and Phil Klemmer, and premieres Thursday with part one of the pilot (part two airs next Thursday). So from all the new and old characters to the time-travel mumbo jumbo, here's everything you need to know before tuning in to the series premiere of Legends of Tomorrow.

Origin Stories

The origins of this new show actually aired as the big Arrow and The Flash crossover event last fall. Hawkman/Carter Hall (Falk Hentschel) and Hawkgirl/Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renee) thought that Barry (Grant Gustin) and Oliver (Stephen Amell) defeated the immortal villain Vandal Savage (Casper Crump) who kills them in each of their reincarnated lives. But since Malcolm Merlyn/Ra's al Ghul (John Barrowman) recovered Vandal's ashes, he was able to regenerate and continue to cause havoc all throughout time.

A Global Takeover

In the future, Vandal manages to do what no one else in history has ever accomplished: take over the entire world. That's why Time Master Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) becomes motivated to go back to 2016 and assemble a ragtag group of heroes. He wants them to join him aboard his time machine ship called the Waverider and attempt to thwart Vandal across time, hopefully stopping him before the horrible future where Rip comes from happens. 

The Truth Hurts

Fans will learn more about Rip Hunter's history. Though he may seem to be an altruistic Time Hunter working to save the world from Vandal Savage, there is actually a heartbreaking backstory propelling him. His former mentor at the Time Master Academy, Zaman Druce (Martin Donovan), will also surface. A respected member of the time council, Druce is tasked with tracking Rip down to convince him to give up his hunt for Savage. If he can't convince him otherwise, Druce may have to kill the pupil he saw as a son.

Familiar Faces Unite

Rip's team consists of both heroes and villains introduced on The Flash and Arrow. From The Flash comes the new Firestorm duo of Dr. Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh), reincarnated lovers Hawkman and Hawgirl and villains-turned-hero-hopefuls Captain Cold/Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller) and Heat Wave/Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell). From Arrow, Rip tracks down resurrected former-assassin Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) who now calls herself the White Canary as well as The Atom/Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), coming off a false death declaration himself. 

Surprising Choices

Expect more than a few crossover Easter eggs in the premiere episode as each member of the potential Legends team mulls over whether they want to join Rip in his crusade across time. Fans will be surprised by who is immediately for it and who is staunchly against it, as well as who ends up convincing some members of the team to join. Some of the potential team members might not even be a part of this team permanently. 

Alternate Heroes

Because the villain is so closely tied up in Carter and Kendra's backstories, expect to learn more about their history as well. This may not be the only versions of Hawkman and Hawkgirl the Legends team encounters over the course of this season. And that opens up the door to meet younger/older versions of the other Legends team members as well. The second episode in particular explores the 1970s and what Dr. Stein was like back when he was a single college professor.

Changing the Course of History

The laws of time travel definitely apply. Since Rip and his Legends team are trying to change the timeline, that opens up the possibility of each team member accidentally changing their own history/fate. One wrong move could even erase them (or their loved ones) from ever existing in the first place. Things will get tricky, and viewers will be forced to say goodbye to characters they love as a result of mistakes.

A Disassembled Team

The team won't always act as a team. On missions, they'll get split up into pairs, trios, or small groups, and each episode will feature different combinations of team members. This will lead to some surprising relationships being formed aboard the Waverider. And yes, there will be romance (or at least adrenaline-fueled lust) between the team members this season.

More Big Bads

Vandal won't be the only villain the Legends team will face. Arrow's season four big bad Damien Dahrk (Neal McDonough) shows up in the second episode for a memorable appearance. And some allies might actually turn out to be villains down the line.

Legends of Tomorrow premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. on The CW.

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