Legends of Tomorrow Season 8 Set-Up & Cliffhanger Explained by Showrunner

By Jennifer McDonough Posted:
Legends of Tomorrow wallpaper

Showrunner Keto Shimizu detailed what was planned for the Season 8 of Legends of Tomorrow that never came.

Legends of Tomorrow began life as a series about time-traveling superheroes that played things pretty straight. Then, near Season 3, Legends pivoted into a zany, madcap series about a found family who happened to have superpowers.

As part of the changes that came along with its home network, CW, getting bought out, Legends of Tomorrow was unceremoniously canceled after seven seasons on the air. Unfortunately, it was also axed on a not-insignificant cliffhanger.

[ How to Watch All Arrowverse Crossover Episodes In Order ]

What Could’ve Happened in Legends Season 8?

Caity Lotz as Sara Lance in Legends of Tomorrow Season 7
The CW

Legends of Tomorrow executive producer and showrunner Keto Shimizu spoke to Multiverse of Color about the Arrowverse series’ abrupt cancellation in 2022 and what was planned for the show’s eighth season in the event of a renewal.

As Shimizu noted, the team that was responsible for making Legends is “powerless” to bring the series back.

“We’re really powerless; once a network makes a decision not to bring a show back, there’s really nothing we can do about it. There’s no amount of begging or trying to negotiate, the decision has been made at that point.”

She also explained that Season 7's  cliffhanger could have been reworked into a proper finale if the production was given enough time, “It sort of came too late:”

“The only chance that we might have had was in the early days of the final season. But at that point, we were just trying to get episodes written, produced, and it sort of came too late. These discussions of ‘What if we have to end?’ or ‘What can we do to try to get people excited for next year?’ We were like ‘We are halfway through our season and now you want to talk about this?’”

Shimizu was planning on stepping away from Legends of Tomorrow following the seventh season and she had structured the storyline to really “[lean] into that cliffhanger” because it was assumed that the show would be renewed for Season 8:

“I was already not planning on coming back, so I had already sort of said my goodbye to the show, but I had hoped to leave the show in such a way that it was undeniable to get another season or at least a final season to wrap everything up. That’s one of the reasons why we leaned into that cliffhanger as much as we did and it was sort of a little too late after the script had been written and was already in pre-production when someone was finally like ‘What if we want to actually end this?’ I’m like ‘Are you kidding me?! The train has already left the station, guys, and now you want to hedge your bets? We gotta just go full steam ahead’ and I feel badly for fans who feel disappointed by the ending.”

Still, Shimizu looks upon the series’s final episode as somewhat fitting. Legends was undeniably a show that went against the grain, and to have it conclude on, as Shimizu put it, “a ballsy ending”, makes sense for the type of program it presented itself as.

“I still love it in a way because it is such a 'Legends’' way to end things. If this is the end, it’s kind of a ballsy ending for a show that never did anything or tried not to do anything cliché or expected. It kind of works, I think, so I feel bad if there are fans who are completely unsatisfied with that ending. I do hope that some of them, at least, can understand the sort-of-joke and fun of it and knowing that ‘Yeah, in our hearts, the Legends went to jail and had adventures busting out.’”

Despite this, she conceded that the ending “might not also feel very satisfying” for devotees:

“It was tons of fun, but I think that if we had more of a traditional closing or an ending, it might not also feel very satisfying to true 'Legends' fans.”

Additionally, the showrunner was asked about whether the network was supportive of Legends’ creative staff as it underwent a major buyout and period of transition. CW, as it existed under its previous regime, led by CEO Mark Pedowitz was quite supportive of its programming, even if a series happened to be struggling.

According to Keto Shimizu, the fact that Legends of Tomorrow went full-steam ahead towards a major, season-ending cliffhanger “was probably our hubris”, despite being aware of the CW’s ongoing shake-up:

“We knew of all the shake-ups happening, the potential sale and all of those things were coming as we were, again, very deep into writing and producing our season. It didn’t really seem like a possibility that we wouldn’t get a chance to wrap things up in a satisfying way, with at least half a season. Again, this was based on the decade-plus of precedent really set by The CW and them always giving shows a chance to end things their own way, even shows that didn’t have much of an audience. They’re always like ‘And there’s going to be eight episodes to wrap this up,’ so to us, and again, this was probably our hubris in a way – we just didn’t think that it was possible that we would get cut off at the knees without a chance to really make a satisfying conclusion.”

With all now said and done, Shimuzu admitted that Legends “could have pivoted fairly gracefully” into a fulfilling conclusion:

“If we had known going in, we could have pivoted fairly gracefully into an ending that was still fun and irreverent but that would have felt more like an ending.”

[ How to Watch All Arrowverse Shows In Order (Chronological) ]

The Slow, Agonizing Death of the Arrowverse

The Arrowverse was, in essence, DC’s answer to Marvel’s MCU, but on television. A group of interconnected superhero shows, all set in the same Multiverse. And while it was often prohibited from utilizing the Blue Brand’s flagship characters like Wonder Woman and Batman, the Arrowverse made household names out of slightly lesser-known heroes like the Flash and Green Arrow.

Things kicked off in 2012 with Arrow, a dark and gritty take on Oliver Queen, the man who would become the arrow-flinging vigilante Green Arrow. Then came a fun, lighthearted take on the lightning-quick Barry Allen with The Flash. A Supergirl series was added in 2015, and further installments were incorporated in the coming years, such as Legends of Tomorrow.

In its absolute prime, DC’s Arrowverse was bringing high-flying heroics and quality human drama to TV screens everywhere week after week. And that’s to say nothing of the franchise’s yearly crossover events which were ratings juggernauts as they brought together characters from each series and united them against common adversaries.

Then, in 2020, mere months after their biggest crossover ever, the pandemic hit, and the death march for the Arrowverse began to sound. With social distancing restrictions in place, completely gone were the television productions’ ability to stage inter-series crossovers.

Making matters worse, Arrow ended after eight seasons and Supergirl after 6. If at that point, it felt like the fictional universe was getting smaller, it’s because it was.

One by one, the rest of the programs either ended on their own momentum or were canceled, with Flash, the last truly connected show still standing, finally having reached the finish line in 2023.

Today, all that remains is Superman & Lois, which is not set within the Arrowverse’s continuity and takes place on another Earth entirely. Superman & Lois’ upcoming fourth season will also be its last.

So, as Keto Shimizu indicated, it’s extremely improbable that Legends of Tomorrow’s cliffhanger, with the entire team held in confinement, will ever get resolved. The DC Universe seemingly has much bigger fish to fry with the introduction of James Gunn and Peter Safran’s new DCU.

To many viewers, that stands as a great shame, especially since Legends had finally been granted permission to introduce well-known DC time traveler Booster Gold (played by Scrubs’ Donald Faison in Season 7) Booster was poised to have a much larger role going forward and was even going to wear his supersuit.

Sadly, barring some unexpected twist of fate, those scenes will only ever exist in the imaginations of fans.

All seven seasons of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow can be streamed on Netflix.

- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.