Legends of Tomorrow Suffers From Back To The Future’s Biggest Problem

Legends of Tomorrow’s entire premise has to do with time travel, but the series also…

Legends of Tomorrow’s entire premise has to do with time travel, but the series also suffers from the same inconsistencies from Back to the Future.

Legends of Tomorrow suffers from Back to the Future’s biggest problem. The concept of time travel can be incredibly fun. In Legends of Tomorrow, the entire premise is predicated on the team of superheroes time traveling in the Waverider, a time ship that sends them through a vortex to various decades and moments in history. However, time travel can get really complicated and the The CW series can be hindered by it. 

Before Legends of Tomorrow took off, the only other Arrowverse show to implement time travel was The Flash, which saw its titular character run back to various points in the past. The scarlet speedster’s actions landed him in plenty of hot water and the changes he made to the timeline — both directly and unintentionally — altered major events, creating ripple effects that echoed throughout the present and future. While these tended to be isolated incidents, Legends of Tomorrow’s entire plot is about the characters’ time travel adventures, all of which have grown more confusing and convoluted every season. 

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Too much time travel leads to a lot of plot holes and the superhero series has fallen into the trap of figuring in massive changes to history — such as Genghis Khan, the 13th century leader of the Mongol Empire, showing up in 1997 — without really expanding upon the cataclysmic aftermath of such alterations. The fact that it happens so often, be it with time aberrations or encores (resurrected villains), means that Legends of Tomorrow is littered with inconsistencies to the timeline. The series deals with these plots by turning them into something entirely fixable, similar to how sending Marie Antoinette back to hell adjusts the timeline without issue. Conversely, when faced with changes like that of the original Zari’s disappearance from the timeline, the Legends can’t rely on a quick fixer upper approach to undo the damage that time travel has caused.

The Back to the Future franchise also hinges on a time travel plot. In the first film, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) goes back in time and interacts with his parents in ways that permanently change their (and his) future. The time travel idea is simple in this instance because the point of change seems rather small in the grand scheme of things. Marty and his siblings still exist, but his parents are much more confident and happier in their marriage. However, in Back to the Future Part II, Marty and Doc’s visit to the future directly affects their past and present to the extent that it creates an entirely alternate 1985. The film deals with it by having them go back to the 1950s to stop the Biff of the future from colliding with the Biff of the past. 

In turn, these changes cause even more trouble that leads into Back to the Future Part III. The more time travel there is, the more the superhero series and movies had to pivot back to correct them, only to breed more problems for the characters. All that said, both Legends of Tomorrow and the Back to the Future deal with the issues that time travel brings up, but one can argue that their attempts to bring the timeline back to its original form ultimately fail because of the complexities of time travel itself. The premise of time travel is ultimately an issue unto itself and its employment in Legends of Tomorrow is cause for plot holes that fans probably shouldn’t think about so much. 

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