Whenever matters of time travel get a little too sticky on the CW's upcoming series, "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," executive producer Greg Berlanti always comes back to one tried and true place: "Back to the Future."
"We try and exist by the rules we establish for ourselves. Our real goal in all of it is to make something emotionally true and truthful for the characters," Berlanti shared Sunday with journalists at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena. He said when they encounter timeline issues in the process, they ask, "Is this like 'Back to the Future?' Is it like '12 Monkeys?'
"As Andrew [Kreisberg, executive producer] always says, as far as we know, time travel isn't real," Berlanti quipped, "so there's no rule book for it."
"Legends of Tomorrow" is the latest comic book series for a network that already hosts "Arrow" and "The Flash." It follows heroes and scoundrels as they're transported through time to take on the greatest villain humanity has ever known.
That the show exists at all is actually thanks to the number of comic book characters that the CW already has featured, Berlanti explained, saying, "We had this wealth of characters and actors and wondered internally if we could do a team-up. We got really excited about the idea of an 'Oceans 11' or 'Dirty Dozen' style of mash-up characters on a singular quest."
Geoff Johns, chief creative officer of DC Entertainment, isn't worried that this latest delve into the DC back catalog will result in oversaturation of the comic book television market. "As long as shows are diverse, as long as they have different schematics, as long as they're all great shows, I don't think there's a problem."
Berlanti added, "The only reason to create this show is to create something we really want to watch."
The series also offers Berlanti a perfect opportunity to bring together a group of talent and continue to battle TV's representation problem.
"As we said since we started out doing 'Arrow,' our heroes need to represent the people that they're saving. The world isn't just singularly white," Berlanti said. "That said, I think everyone can take things even further, both in front and behind the camera."
"DC's Legends of Tomorrow" premieres at 8 p.m. Jan. 21 on the CW.