The power of positive representation was celebrated recently at ClexaCon 2018. ClexaCon is a multi-fandom event for LGBTQ women and allies that celebrates LGBTQ women and characters and was held April 5-9, 2018 at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, NV. One TV series with a strong presence at the convention was Legends of Tomorrow, an ensemble show with a diverse cast, as well as positive queer representation, notably from its lead character Captain Sara Lance (Caity Lotz).
Lotz was joined on stage by co-star Maisie Richardson-Sellers, who plays Amaya Jiwe, as they were featured in a panel that provided insight into both characters. Lotz and Richardson-Sellers also discussed why representation is so important to both of them and the show, which just concluded Season 3 on Monday night and has been renewed by the CW for Season 4. Lotz also gave some history and insight into Sara’s relationship with Ava (Jes Macallan). If you couldn’t attend the panel, don’t worry! Read on for some of the highlights below!
Favorite episode to shoot
The fun thing about a show like Legends of Tomorrow is that viewers do not know what to expect week to week. One week you’re dealing with Elvis Presley and the next you can be visiting a young Barack Obama. So which of this season’s crazy episodes were a favorite to shoot for the actresses? “For me, it has to be the pirate,” Richardson-Sellers quickly answered. She said that she’d like “live my life as Captain Jiwe,” and Lotz quickly added that she “would love to see you [again] as Pirate Jiwe.” Both actresses also made sure to add that fans should keep active on social media when they like a storyline or want more of a particular character, a la Beebo. “Do keep putting out there what you want to see,” Richardson-Sellers told the packed house.
Not your typical ensemble
Legends of Tomorrow certainly isn’t the only ensemble show on the CW, but viewers and fans know it feels special in a lot of ways. There aren’t token females or characters and they all seem to really get along well. Lotz attributed some of that to the fact that “our cast is actually really close and each one of us is so different.” She discussed how the actors may be different ages and at different points in their lives, which would make you think they don’t have a lot in common, but it’s just not the case. Lotz said in actuality, “for some reason it’s brought us all closer.” She also added that “we’re not a traditional CW show,” where you have a lot of young, beautiful people, but that’s just fine with her. “I love that about us. I think it shows on screen that we have a lot of fun together and really do love each other,” she explained. Richardson-Sellers noted too that what she really loves about the Legends cast is that “every episode we pair off in different pairs, which helps to bring out other sides to the character.”
It was always Jes for Ava
Caity Lotz recalled for the audience the first time she read with Jes Macallan for Ava and whether or not she knew where the story was headed for the two characters. Lotz admitted she thought “Sara’s relationships don’t last long. This might be ill-fated,” but she did know that Macallan was perfect for the job. Lotz recounted her thoughts on Macallan during their first chemistry read together when Macallan was auditioning for the role. Since Ava is a bureaucrat, she was supposed to be pretty infuriating to Sara, and during the read Macallan would be “ad-libbing and we’d finish a scene and she’d be like ‘that’s all, fine.’ I’d literally walk out like ‘this bitch…’” Lotz said other actresses read who were tall, beautiful model types, but “nobody was as infuriating as Jes Macallan. I was like ‘she’s the one! I know you guys don’t care what I think, but she is the one.’ I knew from the beginning when we test read together that there was so much happening here, it’s so fun to act with her and she makes me feel so many things.”
Sara’s true power
The positive representation that Legends is bringing to the small screen because of Sara’s sexuality “really is the most important aspect of Sara,” said Lotz. She said that meeting fans at events like ClexaCon, or even just getting messages from people on social media, saying “how important it is to have something like this is huge. I can’t count how many girls have said to me ‘I came out to my parents as bi or lesbian because Sara helped me, because it made me feel safe and know this is normal, and that it’s OK.’” She noted that with Sara, she’s so well-written in a way where her sexuality “doesn’t make it a big deal, doesn’t need to be explained” and that’s “tremendous.” “That’s Sara’s super power,” observed Lotz.
Diversifying the screen
The power of positive representation extends beyond just the queer characters on Legends. The cast is also racially diverse and there’s a Muslim character as well. “To be able to be representative and diversify the screen is the biggest honor that I could ever have. It’s an incredible responsibility and I’m so proud to be able to do that,” Richardson-Sellers said. She discussed the importance of seeing people that you can relate to on screen and said she thinks “the CW, at the moment, is doing a really good job at helping to move that forward.” It isn’t just on screen though where diversity needs to happen. Richardson-Sellers said the Legends writers room is just as diverse as the cast of characters and that’s great because “we need everyone at every stage of the process to be more diverse.”
Where might the Legends go next?
When asked where they’d love to see the Legends time travel in Season 4, Richardson-Sellers quickly answered that she wants “to go to the Amazon.” She has a degree in Anthropology that makes her curious about the “Mayans or the Aztecs and back to the beginnings of civilization.” She and Lotz both agreed that they could see Amaya as “an Amazonian Queen.” For her part, Lotz said that even though “we kind of already did Ancient Egypt, but I didn’t get to go. Maybe something like Cleopatra?”
Be who you want
One of the fan questions at the panel dealt with the fact that Sara and Ava don’t follow traditional roles in their relationship and are both very dominate type of characters, something we don’t traditionally see on screen. Lotz then discussed how “it’s really important, whenever you try to define something and stick it in a box, it’s not going to work. Life is fluid. Things are fluid.” Richardson-Sellers added that by Legends doing that with Sara and Ava, they are showing that “we don’t have to try to perform to the heteronorm and we can just explore and be whoever we want to be.” She advised the crowd, “don’t let anyone put you in a box. It’s rubbish.”
What’s Jes coming back for Season 4 mean?
It’s no secret that fans love the Ava and Sara relationship, and now that Jes Macallan has been upped to a series regular for Season 4, Avalance fans are more excited than ever. What exactly does more Macallan mean for the couple? Lotz was very coy about what’s ahead, only saying that she thinks the addition of Macallan as a regular “shows that there will be a continuation of that relationship in some kind and you’ll have to watch and see what it is.”
Thoughts on the LoT panel? What about that Season 3 finale? Share them below!
Legends of Tomorrow will return for Season 4 to the CW and CTV Two.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.