WHY WE FEEL LEGENDS OF TOMORROW SHOULD BE SAVED
(AND NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN CANCELLED IN THE FIRST PLACE):
AN OPEN LETTER FROM FANS TO WBD, NETWORKS AND STREAMERS
We, the fan community of the television series DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, hope to prove to you through this letter, our public efforts on social media, and our worldwide advertising, that the show is a viable investment with monetary, social, and personal positive impacts for all involved.
Regarding the program’s ratings on the CW, viewership actually grew during the pandemic as many people found it on various streaming services and latched onto its escapist and hopeful messages during these trying times. Overall, the show was poorly marketed for several years so increased viewership numbers were organic, primarily the result of word-of-mouth recommendations from fans. Not to mention, the attention brought to the show from the numerous news platforms referring to Legends as “the best superhero show,” “one of the best sci-fi shows of the 21st century,” “one of the best shows on network television,” etc.
Many seasons are still not available to some international markets and there has not been a consistent streaming service worldwide for international fans to find Legends on. Despite these disadvantages, Legends of Tomorrow has amassed an impressive fan base on every continent that receives consistent television signals. Part of our campaign to prove the breadth of the international fandom is to post billboards and posters on every continent and in every country that has fans of the show. We’ve only just begun this effort with billboards in North America, Europe, and Asia, with more on the way.
Additionally regarding the monetary issues for the program, we fans want to point out that the lack of merchandise has been a shortsighted decision on the part of WBD. Fans have taken to creating their own merchandise of homemade Beebo plush dolls, custom Funko Pops, and apparel because none of it exists as official merchandise. Fans would love to have official Funkos of the current team, seeing as the existing set is outdated, Lego sets, coloring books, and more if only you would produce the merchandise.
As to how and why Legends of Tomorrow is a good investment now: over the course of the next fifty years as Batman and Superman enter the public domain, Legends of Tomorrow and its potentially various iterations and spin-offs will still be viable licensed material. If you think the next fifty years is too long of a time frame to consider for the company, remember that your two mainstay characters Batman and Superman are over 80 years old but have proven to be significantly integral to DC Comics and WBD media for many of those years.
Now is the time to invest in the future of DC Comics and WBD, and the future is unique and inventive programming like Legends of Tomorrow. The Greg Berlanti-led CW collective universe, colloquially known as the “Arrowverse,” is the next iteration of what comic books once were. From one show, Arrow, several others were born, with most of those shows only ending due to cast members wishing to move on (Arrow and Supergirl) or through short-sighted cancellations (Legends and Batwoman). The potential for the shared Arrowverse programming is a greater asset for WBD and DC than the shared Justice League movies, because thus far the WB DC movie franchise has failed to keep up with the Marvel franchise. Why try to compete with the MCU when you could corner the market on excellent superhero television programming?
One of the reasons that the Arrowverse connected universe was successful is because television, by nature, allows for more fleshed-out world building and character arcs than one-and-a-half hour blockbuster movies allow for. Television is also a more personal medium as the viewers invite the program and those characters into their homes for hours upon hours over the course of years. This strengthens the bond between the audience and the characters. With the increased presence of fans, cast, and creators on social media, this bond is further strengthened between the audience and the cast/crew behind the show. DC is not alone in this.
An often overlooked reason for Marvel’s successful film franchise was the integrated television branch. While this may be a colloquial example, some fans have pointed out on social media that they invested in watching the Marvel films because of their love for the television programs, namely Agents of Shield, and the potential for crossover elements. There was a significant desire to see a new Marvel movie on opening weekend because fans needed to be caught up in time for the next episode of Shield.
The Arrowverse has played a sustained positive role for DC and WB throughout the renaissance of Marvel’s comic, film, and TV worlds for more than ten years. Legends of Tomorrow has grown from its introduction on Arrow to be the next leader of this franchise machine. Since season 3, Legends has taken creative risks that have paid off to create one
of the most entertaining and heartfelt superhero shows on television. What Legends of Tomorrow has created and contributed to the industry is exactly what television needs now more than ever. There is significant untapped potential remaining within this “flagship” show, with many unexplored storylines that could be an asset to any network if they were to pick the show back up, as it poses many opportunities for potential spin-offs that the fan and wider community would continue to watch.
One of the aspects of Legends that should be of significant importance to you is that the
show is constantly reinventing itself to keep its concepts and scenarios fresh and creative. This is a recurring theme many television reviewers have noted as to why Legends is the “best superhero show on television” (TVGuide) and even ranked in the top 50 best television programs by TVGuide for 3 years straight. Part of this renewal is the cast turnover. Legends is the only Arrowverse show that is not entirely focused and dependent on one named character. As the Doctor Who franchise has proven longevity through the Doctor’s regenerations, Legends can continue with cast “regenerations” for many years to come.
We further believe that a renewal of Legends of Tomorrow is necessary for the positive social and personal stories and positive representation the show has provided. The messages we see through Legends of Tomorrow are messages that the world needs right now. In Legends, we learned that hope prevails and love always wins, that being an underdog or an outcast is not a weakness but a strength. It allowed fans, especially those struggling with anxiety and other mental disorders, to feel like they belong and to know that their struggles don’t make them lesser people. Legends, unlike other shows, tells us that anyone can make a difference, whether you have powers or not, and that our greatest superpower is our humanity. Legends taught us to never give up on the things we love and believe in, which is why we will continue to fight to save Legends of Tomorrow for as long as it takes.
Furthermore, the diversity and representation within Legends has been praised and loved for years and has been nothing short of groundbreaking. Legends of Tomorrow gave us TV’s first live-action Muslim superhero when the Iranian-American character of Zari Tomaz, portrayed by Tala Ashe, was integrated into the show in season three. Eventually, the writers introduced Behrad Tarazi, portrayed by Shayan Sobhian, who became the second Muslim superhero on the show, and subsequently the first live-action Muslim male superhero. While Marvel Studios has accepted significant credit and acclaim by promoting their first Muslim superhero with Ms Marvel, DC and WBD have failed to promote the positive representation of the Tomaz/Tarazis on Legends.
Since the beginning, the Legends of Tomorrow production team has been extremely caring and responsible in delivering accurate representation of the Muslim community by bringing in writers from within the community itself: writers who appropriately integrated customs and traditions that are part of their culture, and avoided all the stereotypes typical of Hollywood productions, actions which were praised by many, especially the press as “...a fantastic example for how Hollywood can represent Muslim, Southwest Asian characters with dignity and respect” (IGN, March 2022). They addressed important systemic issues within our society and shined a light on the experiences Muslim people have faced for decades, which the media landscape has historically ignored.
We also saw wonderful representation of the Black community within LoT, with actors like Olivia Swann, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Franz Drameh, Tracy Ifeachor, and more, who played strong and inspiring Black characters on the show. In an interview with ESSENCE Girls United, Olivia Swann stated that true representation to her meant seeing Black people’s stories told with as much passion as white-centered stories. We see this true representation throughout the several seasons of Legends, as the writers developed each of these characters and highlighted their individual stories, all while staying away from Black and POC stereotypes commonly used in television.
Legends also gave us the first ever asexual superhero, and one of the only live-action Latina superheroes on broadcast television, Esperanza “Spooner” Cruz, portrayed by Lisseth Chavez. Whilst the LGBTQIA+ representation on television has slightly increased, albeit not all of it respectful, Ace representation is still lacking and rarely acknowledged. Legends was on a pathway to providing and exploring said representation whilst they followed Spooner’s journey after identifying as Ace. There was an overwhelmingly positive response from the audience to the asexual representation, and many people felt as though they were seen and understood, as they had been given a character in whom they could finally see themselves.
A discussion of the positive LGBTQIA+ representation on Legends would not be complete without mentioning “Avalance”, the name given to the relationship between Captain Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), an openly bisexual woman, and Co-captain Ava Sharpe (Jes Macallan), a lesbian woman. Unfortunately in the history of television, relationships between two women are often portrayed as insignificant and disposable, with either the relationships ending in death or tragedy, or due to overused tropes like disagreements over one partner wanting children but the other not wanting them. Legends of Tomorrow has broken out of that mold and has given us one of the healthiest, most honest, and raw portrayals of a romantic relationship with Avalance. Two women that independently are fierce and strong, qualities which remained and only were enhanced as the relationship grew. At the end of season 7, they were married and awaiting a child, and we would love to see how the writers were going to have the Captains explore motherhood while still managing the team and of course figuring out how to get out of jail in season 8.
Other significant LGBTQIA+ representation in Legends includes another bisexual character in John Constantine and a gay character in Dr. Gwyn Davies, both portrayed by Matt Ryan. The story of Gwyn is one that many people found themselves identifying with, as his story highlights the struggle between sexuality and religion, a topic which we don’t often see on television. Last but certainly not least, we have Gary Green (Adam Tsekhman) who is pansexual and Charlie (Maisie Richardson Sellers) who is a genderfluid pansexual. Legends of Tomorrow celebrated the LGBTQIA+ community and gave to so many people within the community what we wish the rest of the industry would. We want to see more characters like us on television, and more diversified characters in general, and LoT gave us all of that and more.
Perhaps the best aspect of the representation on Legends of Tomorrow is that most of the characters’ sexualities, genders, or religions don’t necessarily play into their main story arcs. They simply exist as their true selves in a dynamic mosaic as a team of misfits coming together to save the world. The Legends, the crew of the Waverider, strive to show us all that no matter how lost or alone we may feel, we can create a found family who will accept us, help us grow, and change the world at our sides. Through zany humor, some outlandish plots, truly human characters, and so much love and heart, Legends of Tomorrow is one of the most hopeful and inspiring shows in television history and it deserves to continue for many years to come.
The Legends Of Tomorrow fan community