Legends of Tomorrow returned last night in top form. Once again the group — including Sara Lance (Caty Lotz), Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), Martin Stein (Victor Garber), Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh), and Nate Heywood (Nick Zano) — are underdogs in the struggle to maintain the timeline. While their current foe appears to be the mysterious Mollus, they also face the constant watch of Rip Hunter’s new Time Bureau while a new Legion of Doom lurks somewhere in the shadows.
But in the production realities of the series, the group will face the loss of one of their key members.
Deadline reports Victor Garber will leave the show in the midst of its third season. The actor, a Broadway veteran, will return to the New York stage in Hello, Dolly! with Bernadette Peters beginning January 20th. The time commitment involved in a Broadway show indicates he will leave the series very soon — at least as far as production is concerned. But the report also mentions he will continue to be listed in the credits as a series regular even after Stein is written out of the show.
Though he may return for guest spots, Stein’s departure was telegraphed in last night’s season premiere. He was depicted as the only Legend happy to be home. Reunited with his wife and daughter, he was also thrilled to share with Jax the impending arrival of a granddaughter. A later conversation aboard the Waverider made the tension between them clear: Jax wants to be a superhero while Stein is ready to leave Firestorm behind.
Which leads to an important question: what happens to Jax?
Though Stein is one of the more constant members of the Firestorm entity, he is not always required for the hero to exist. At various times, characters like Ronnie Raymond, Mikhail Arkadin, and Jason Rausch have merged with other people or each other to create Firestorm. It is possible Jax will find a new partner able to contain the energies necessary to become Firestorm. In fact, Jax emerging as the veteran half of the entity is an interesting dramatic hook.
But no matter the story solution, the presence of Garber as Stein will be missed.
Legends of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays on The CW.