When DC’s Legends of Tomorrow was first announced, there was always an understanding that it would have a kind of revolving door of characters. Five seasons in, we’ve learned that those parameters can be met through a myriad of ways. In all of its humor, Legends never shies away from the deep, difficult moments. As a matter of fact, finding a marriage between the two opposites has been the series’ crowning achievement. One moment we’ll be having a laugh and making a joke, the next Leonard Snart is sacrificing himself to save the timeline and his team. Whether it be through death, a difficult choice, or no longer narratively needing the misfits that are the Legends, we’ve said goodbye to a lot of friends and favorites over the years.
It’s never easy to say goodbye to a character we love. But time travel, shapeshifters and at one point, the multiverse, mean that saying goodbye to a character doesn’t always mean saying farewell to a beloved actor. That’s true for the entire Arrowverse. Tom Cavanagh’s many iterations of Wells are a perfect example, one that’s currently a major plot point this season on The Flash. The aforementioned Snart has come into play as his own doppelgänger as well, allowing Wentworth Miller to live his truth as a gay man on screen for the first time.
Legends of Tomorrow changed the game with time travel. A character no longer had to hail from another earth to look like one of our heroes. We first saw this come into play with Maisie Richardon-Sellers’ Amaya Jiwe. Despite falling in love with the charming Nate Heywood and finding a new home with the Legends, Amaya couldn’t abandon her village. When this storyline came to a close, many were worried that we’d be saying goodbye to Maisie for good. Thankfully, the ever-clever writers of Legends of Tomorrow had a trick up their sleeves.
Richardson-Sellers would return the following season, but with a twist! Amaya Jiwe stayed in her village, protected her people and lived a good life. But sometimes a charming shapeshifter can’t resist a pretty face, and with that, Charlie was born. While the character is essentially Amaya’s antithesis, she eventually found a home with the Legends. After all, what better place for a runaway misfit who also may or may not be one of the Fates?
Then we lost Zari Tomaz.
For those who don’t remember the events of Heyworld as they occurred in the previous season, Zari altered the timeline so that Nate would live. Unbeknownst to her at the time of this sacrifice, it also stopped the Anti-Metahuman Act of 2021 from passing, erasing the tragic future that she originally came from. Unfortunately, it also meant that her entire life was altered. Including her time as a Legend.
I’ll be honest, I’ve struggled more with Zari’s character shift than I did with the transition from Amaya to Charlie. But with that in mind, I’m also starting to come around. Tala Ashe’s performance is great both as a snarky and annoyed hacker and as a self-absorbed socialite. That is to say that the issue was never her. Part of it’s due to transition—change is always hard! Part can also be chalked up to the fact that we didn’t see a ton of her at the beginning of this season due to Ashe’s other commitments. But the biggest reason lies in the fact that there are several fundamental differences between the way Amaya became Charlie and how Zari became Zari 2.0.
Narratively speaking, Amaya Jiwe is gone. Though tragic, we were all given time to come to terms with that throughout her character arc. Zari Tomaz (currently Tarazi), on the other hand, is a different ballgame. Not only is the same woman with a different past running around on the Waverider, there’s also something going on with the way the timeline shifted that’s allowing Zari to have flashbacks to who she was.
There have been some clever ripples from Zari’s character shift that affect more than just her own personal story. Nate’s always been a bro, make no mistake. But without the introduction of our embittered future hacker—and with the addition of her charmingly stoned brother—this timeline’s version of Nate is the bro-iest of bros.
That said, one thing remains true for Nate: he’s still madly in love with Zari. Whether that will play into Charlie’s new admitted role as a Fate or is simply because of Zari 1.0’s last message remains to be seen. It’s all very curious, but the biggest question is still how we’ll see Legends of Tomorrow marry the two iterations of Zari. How much of our donut-loving, sass-throwing super genius will we get back, and how many traits of this new version will remain?
As we see more of Zari 2.0, I realize that maybe there’s no wrong answer to that question. Personal tastes will always result in my preferences leaning towards snarky women who will forever be fine with shoving a whole donut in their face without a care in the world about what anyone thinks, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the Zari we’re seeing now. She’s selfish, vapid and more than a little catty, but those are far from the most offensive qualities of folks who’ve joined this team of vagabonds. After all, watching them become the heroes they’re meant to is always the best part!
DC's Legends of Tomorrow airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. CST) on The CW. Visit our official Legends of Tomorrow page for more news, features and articles on the Waverider's journeys.
Amelia Emberwing writes about comics, movies and TV for DCComics.com and is a frequent contributor to the Couch Club, our weekly television column. Look for more of her writing on Birth.Movies.Death., Collider and Slashfilm, and follow her on Twitter at @BrowncoatAuror.