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SYFY WIRE DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Legends of Tomorrow showrunner explains that surprise exit, teases alien battles in S6

By Trent Moore
DC's Legends of Tomorrow

The fifth season of DC's Legends of Tomorrow ended with a battle against Fate itself to set reality right, and once the dust settled, two Legends exited the Waverider — seemingly for good. So why did it all have to go down that way?

The biggest surprise was the departure of longtime star Maisie Richardson-Sellers, who has been on the show since Season 2 (playing Amaya Jiwe at first, then returning as shapeshifter Charlie the past couple seasons). With the Fates defeated and the Loom destroyed, Charlie decides to retire from the Legends and follow her dreams of punk rock stardom. For real. Co-showrunner Phil Klemmer told TVLine they've been planning her exit for a while (Richardson-Sellers had wanted to pursue other opportunities), and they tried to craft her arc to bring Charlie full circle by the end of this season.

"This was something that was well over a year in the works. We knew that [Maisie] was wanting to make her mark as a filmmaker on her own, and so that allowed us to craft a story that would, hopefully, make for a satisfying conclusion," he said. "The finale was sort of all about her. For me, it's so bittersweet, bringing it back to that punk club and The Smell… The good thing is that people are allowed to come back and have come back."

The other departure was for the OG version of Zari, who had been trapped in her totem most of the season and replaced by a version of herself from a new timeline (isn't time travel fun?). But as of last week, both versions of Zari were in the real world and working to set reality right. Though it seemed like both versions might be able to stick around, the OG Zari comes to realize her presence is causing the death of her brother Behrad, since he died in her original timeline and the time stream is trying to "correct" that if she remains in the new timeline. So, OG Zari decides to voluntarily return her spirit to her totem. So yeah, OG Zari is also gone — but the new Zari is sticking around.

Klemmer told Entertainment Weekly the decision to only keep one Zari was partially a logistical and budgetary one (it's kinda hard to shoot one actor as two people on a daily basis), but also a storytelling decision — so they'll be able to explore the dynamic between Zari 2.0 and Behrad in Season 6.

"I guess the thing is, we really didn't get to explore much of the Behrad-Zari 2.0 brother-sister relationship. In the beginning, it was a little contentious and then Zari 2.0 kind of worked her way into the Legends' hearts, but then Behrad died," Klemmer told EW. "They haven't really existed in that bro-sis [place]; like, I want some bickering siblings on this show. That was the promise of bringing Behrad onto the show. We haven't given them a chance to just exist as co-equal adult siblings, and that's really fascinating to me — like how people bring their baggage from their childhood."

Looking ahead to next season, the network's synopsis for Season 6 revealed the Legends will be facing off with aliens, after Sara (Caity Lotz) was abducted in the final scene of Season 5. The team will have to recruit a new Legend, a woman abducted by aliens who now has special alien-fighting powers, to save the galaxy. Klemmer teased tackling a story this silly should be a palate cleanser for a show that has gotten a bit dense with its mythology the past few years.

"To think about little green men with laser guns who just want to rule the world, you know, Marvin the Martian kinda shape, you're like, 'Yes, that's what we need!' Not having to understand who our villains are on any kind of emotional scale means we can focus on the emotional stories of our characters, but then it's just a story of how do we kick these guys' asses," he told EW. "I'm sure, guaranteed, that we'll find a way to humanize and find the emotional complexity of Marvin the Martian [laughs], and by the time we get to the finale, we'll have to spend like half our time realizing they weren't so bad, they were just misunderstood. At this moment, we want to keep it real simple so that we can find the complexity with our characters. We'll totally screw it up, I'm sure."

DC's Legends of Tomorrow is slated to return in midseason 2021. The fifth season is set to hit Netflix in a few weeks.