Legends of Tomorrow’s Caity Lotz on ‘Fun’ Sara and Playing a Bisexual Character

Photo: Joe Scarnici/FilmMagic

As any fan of Arrow or Flash knows, one lone superhero is not enough to protect a single city. For every Barry Allen, there’s a Cisco or Caitlin in the wings. So it’s not surprising that a superhero show centered on saving the world is going to require a major group effort. In DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, the ambitious time-traveling superhero CW series that premiered Thursday night, “time-master” Rip Hunter (Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill) is trying to stop a psychotic madman named Vandal Savage from destroying the world in 2166. To do so, Rip gathers a very loose collective of superheroes, each with his or her own skills and baggage, to track Savage through time — all the while trying not to cause too much damage to the timeline.

One of the superheroes Rip recruits is Sara Lance, a.k.a. White Canary. DC Comics fans unfamiliar with Sara’s character shouldn’t start thumbing through their collection for more info just yet: Sara is an original creation from the team behind the Arrow television series. Sara Lance — played by Caity Lotz (Mad Men) — is the sister to Laurel Lance and a former assassin who went by the moniker Canary. She’s also formerly dead, as she was killed off in the premiere of Arrow’s third season in 2014, before the Legends pilot was picked up. Lotz’s Sara was such a fan favorite that Legend’s creators — the same team behind Arrow and Flash — resurrected her for the new show via the mystical Lazarus Pit, which has left Sara with a taste for blood.

Unlike Sara, White Canary originates in the DC Comics world, but the similarity ends with the name. “Everything we’re doing — the origin story — is completely different,” Lotz says.  Vulture spoke with Lotz in between filming scenes for the series’ tenth episode in Vancouver to find out more about Sara 2.0.

On Arrow, you play Canary. On last night’s Legends, you became White Canary. In your mind, what’s the distinction between these two personae?
I think White Canary has a different goal. Before, as Canary, she really didn’t have a specific purpose, she didn’t know what she was doing. She was trying to do something with her life and her skills. And now, as the White Canary, yes, she’s trying to be a hero, but she also has a very specific purpose [in hunting down Savage]. That’s the main difference. She’s also a bit more fun. I mean, she’s died. Imagine that everything that could go wrong goes wrong. At some point you just gotta go, “Fuck it.” So I think that’s where Sara is. 

Sara definitely doesn’t seem as hard on herself as she was on Arrow, at least in the first two episodes.
That comes back a little bit. We definitely see that complicated, weighted Sara, because she’s still dealing with the bloodlust [from the Lazarus Pit resurrection]. So we’ll see a bit more of the old Sara after the first two episodes.

The old Sara was also bisexual. In the premiere, a cute girl in a bar briefly catches your eye. What kind of discussions did you have with the writers or producers about Sara’s sexuality on Legends?
That was a big, important thing for me, that she stays bisexual, and they were 100 percent game for that. I go to [fan] conventions, and I’ve had a lot of girls come up to me and say how much it’s meant to them to have a character representing them on TV, and I think the show does a really good job on that with Sara, where it’s not like, “Oh yeah … hot girls, making out.” There’s an actual relationship and love there [with Nyssa al Ghul on Arrow]. And Sara is bisexual, so she loves men, too. I think Sara just loves a person for who they are.

There’s quite a range of personalities on Rip’s team. There are criminals, scientists, a former Egyptian priestess. Who does Sara get along with the most?
She gets along with the more villainous type, like [Flash’s Leonard] Snart. They’re both kind of reluctant heroes. I’m hoping to get more stuff with Kendra and Sara. They haven’t had too much yet, but we still have a ways to go, so hopefully there’ll be more there.  There’s friction with Rip [Hunter]. He’s the leader of the group, and Sara doesn’t do too well with authority.

You’ve also had your share of friction with your sister, Laurel, on Arrow, but you’ve seemed to make peace with her. In last night’s episode, she even encourages you to join Rip’s group. How active of a role will Laurel, or even Sara’s father, Quentin, play in Sara’s life on Legends?
The logistics of crossing over is extremely difficult because we’re all just pretty much working every day on our own shows. There are some fun crossovers, but we haven’t seen Laurel or her father come back. Hopefully we will. It’s so hard to do, availability-wise, for any of us to go on other shows.

Not to mention that you’re traveling through time.
Yeah, we’re traveling through space and time. It’s not like I’m in Star City. 

Are there any time periods that you’re hoping Sara gets to visit?
Ooh, the next one we’re going to I’m really excited for, but I don’t think I can say what it is yet. But one that I’m not sure we’re going to but I would love to go to is 1920s Berlin. I think that would be a rad, eclectic place. 

Arrow is a pretty dark show. The Flash is brighter, more colorful. What kind of tone can viewers expect from Legends?
There is really nothing like this on TV.  It has the darkness of Arrow. There are some dark things happening, but the tone is so much lighter. It doesn’t take itself seriously. Somehow, it manages to mix it all in and create its own kind of vibe. It’s very unpretentious fun.