Ever since Captain Cold died to save the crew of the Waverider — and all of time — in Legends of Tomorrow Season 1, fans have been desperate to see the beloved character return. But despite Wentworth Miller's crossover contract with The CW, and the promise that Snart would appear in #LegendsOfTomorrow Season 2, we've only caught the briefest of glimpses at him so far — and Mick's vision was nothing if not baffling.
Lurking in the shadows, Snart returned in "The Chicago Way", taunting Mick and urging him to leave the Waverider — which is a sharp turnaround from his characterization in Season 1.
In fact, this version of Snart seems a lot more similar to the villain we know from The Flash, than the hero he became in Legends of Tomorrow. As Wentworth Miller hints, this is no accident — because the Snart who returns to the Waverider won't be the one who died at the Vanishing Point.
Remnant From Another Time
First appearing on #TheFlash Season 1, Wentworth Miller's charming criminal Leonard Snart has been a favorite of many fans. Miller brings a nuance and depth to an already interesting character from The Flash comics, and Snart's slow-burn development from hardened criminal to self-sacrificial hero was one of the highlights of Legends Season 1.
Yet all of Leonard's potential for heroism was evident in The Flash, thanks to his loyalty to Mick Rory and his protective relationship with his sister, Lisa. It soon became apparent that while he'll never be citizen of the year (except maybe in Flashpoint), a warm heart lies under Snart's cool facade.
So it was surprising to learn that when Captain Cold returns in Season 2, he'll be part of the Reverse Flash's Legion of Doom. Recently, Wentworth Miller told Entertainment Weekly that Leonard hasn't gone back to villainy — he just hasn't left his criminal ways behind him yet.
"My sense is that if Snart comes back into the storyline via his present day incarnation, then he’s a straight up villain. He hasn’t gone on that first season 'Legends of Tomorrow' journey yet, so when we meet him again — quote unquote alive in 2017 — I imagine that he’s going to be much like when we first met him the first season on 'The Flash', which I’m looking forward to, because it means I get to arc to a completely different place."
Considering the many different timelines in the #Arrowverse (not to mention the alternate Earths), the Leonard Snart that returns to Legends of Tomorrow Season 2 could be from anywhere — or rather, anywhen.
But from Miller's comments, it seems that this Leonard is from 2014 (or thenabouts), probably persuaded by the Reverse Flash to join the Legion of Doom before he joined the Legends.
Snart's Still A Villain
The idea that this Leonard comes from a time before Legends of Tomorrow Season 1 actually makes a lot of sense. This would explain why he was sneering at Mick's choice to stay with the Legends in "The Chicago Way" — if Eobard Thawne did get to Snart before he joined the Legends himself, there's no way Leonard could understand the bond between Mick and the team. Miller explains how Snart feels about Mick working with heroes.
"I think he’d be disappointed. I also think some of that disappointment would steam from being triggered by watching his former buddy, a hard criminal, show a softer, more heroic side, because that might mean to Snart that he, too, is capable of showing a softer, more heroic side. I’m looking forward to their interaction for sure."
Of course, it's possible that the Leonard we saw in "The Chicago Way" is actually just a hallucination, but it seems more likely that he hid on the ship while Thawne was causing havoc, coming out just to mess with Mick and start him on the path towards the Dark Side. As Cisco would say, Leonard was totally "Cloud City Vadering" his old buddy.
But enough of the character development stuff, what does this mean for the Arrowverse's theory of time travel? Huge, continuum shaking things, to be honest. There's two ways this whole Leonard-from-the-past thing makes sense.
Time Loop Or Paradox?
First, it's a time loop, the theory of time travel used in the third Harry Potter book, and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (which is awesome, you should check it out). A loop would mean Leonard eventually returns to 2016, joins the Legends, and goes through all of Season 1 knowing part of what's going to happen to him (which would explain his choice to sacrifice himself). If done well, this would be an excellent inversion of the time travel theories Legends usually operates on.
There's some nice narrative tension here too, when we consider the second option — Thawne taking Snart out of the timeline before he joins the Legends could create a paradox that erases all of the events of the show thus far.
Until the story plays out, we won't know which of these theories — paradox or time loop — is in effect. It could be that the Legends, knowing the importance of Leonard's role, embark on a mission to direct him back on the path that will lead him to join the team in the past — because there will be dire consequences to them, and the space time continuum, if this doesn't happen.
Basically, to prevent a paradox, the Legends will have to ensure this becomes a time loop. Which makes sense. Kinda.
The ultimate tragedy, though, is that this isn't Snart's triumphant return from the dead, as we had hoped. If this Leonard really is from 2014, then his death is still in the future — and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it.
Where, or when, do you think this Leonard comes from?
[Source: Entertainment Weekly]