Tala Ashe on Zari’s Place in ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Time Loops, the New Kid (Flash)

Tala Ashe as Zari on 'Legends of Tomorrow'
Robert Falconer/The CW
Tala Ashe as Zari on 'Legends of Tomorrow'

Even without officially being called oh mighty Isis (yet), Tala Ashe’s Zari Tomaz has flown to the top of our list of favorite Legends.

Introduced at the beginning of the season as a hacker from the dystopian future after the gang broke time, Z is clever, a little quirky and, and as Ashe puts it, still unsure about committing to being one of the team.

That may all change after this week’s episode, “Here I Go Again,” which finds Zari in a perpetual reset mode. This might finally help her see that being part of TV’s super-dysfunctional family is what really makes a Legend.

So, it sounds like we’re getting a very cool episode for you. What is this?

Tala Ashe: Yeah, it is definitely. It’s a Zari-centric episode, for sure. I think it’s really great in terms of character development. We’ve seen a little bit of Zari’s back story and just a little bit about why she joined the team. But I think there’s still sort of a wariness that she has in being called a member of a team. She’s always kind of gone it alone. So this is new for her and she also has a different agenda. I hope as the season and maybe as subsequent seasons go on, we’ll find out more about that. But her endgame is a little bit different than the Legends.

Which can put her at odds with them, I’d assume?

That’s sort of the starting point of the episode… there’s quite a bit of friction between Zari and Caity Lotz’s character, Sara. And that’s sort of our jumping off point. It gets a little spicy between us.

Ruh-roh. And this is like a Groundhog’s Day episode, right?

[Laughs] Yes, there is a time loop. There’s lots, actually. It’s really fun to shoot and such a great idea. You can imagine how a Groundhog’s Day [scenario] would drive anyone crazy and outside of their normal, day-to-day persona. So it does that to Zari and allowed us to show parts of her that you’ve definitely not seen at all in this show so far. That was fun to do and to see.

We’re also supposed to learn some things about the rest of the team because part of that had to do with the loop.

Yes, there are some secrets being kept. I’m trying to think what I can say without spoiling it. What’s fun about the episode is that you get to see—especially with a couple characters—what they do on their off-time. Week to week, we’re usually on a mission and we’re going out and getting bad guys. But there’s a lot of time on the ship where people are doing mundane things, doing maybe secret things, maybe working on projects that we have not seen before. So there’s some really fun stuff [and] some very surprising closed-door behavior.

Love that idea. But for you guys, as actors, filming one scene is kind of like Groundhog’s Day because you can do it like nine, 10 times and then you have turnarounds.

Yes, yes, exactly.

Then how was this, having to film slightly varied versions of the same scene over and over? How did you all keep track of which version of each scene you were shooting?

It was very complicated! For me, since I was in every scene basically, I went through my script and I was like, “Loop number 1. Loop number 2. Loop number 50.” Just for myself to know where I was in terms of my mental health at that point. [Laughs] And then Ben Bray, who is our incredible director, so amazing, he was really, really helpful in keeping track of that, as was our script supervisor.

But yeah, it definitely got confusing. What Ben did was really smart… he didn’t shoot the scenes the same way. So even when we had basically the same scene, we shot it a different way, which also looks more dynamic when you see the finished product. But yeah, there were definitely days when we were like, “What is happening?!” [Laughs]

And was this primarily set just on the ship?

Yes, this is our bottle episode. It’s all ship, except there’s a little something that happens at the end.

Amy Louise Pemberton as Gideon and Tala Ashe as Zari

What do you think this episode will do for Zari’s dynamic with the team?

I do think this is the episode where she fully embraces being part of this team. And just through the nature of the time loop, she spends so much time with them. She sort of puts in her 10,000 hours with them, even though they don’t know it. There is a really nice payoff in terms of seeing her embrace them.

Speaking of embraces, I think a lot of us have noticed that they tend to put you and Brandon Routh [Ray] together a lot.

Mm-hmm [Laughs]

What can you tell us? Where is this heading?

I will say that I think they’re really good buddies but they’re too different. I think it would not work very long in a romantic setting between Zari and Ray. There’s a lot of yin and yang there in terms of the friendship and he’s gonna have sort of his own storyline which has nothing to do with Zari.

Alrighty! And then what can you tell us about any further adventures for you guys as a team?

A really great thing that’s happening is Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale from The Flash] joining the show. He’s added a really interesting dynamic and it sort of revs up into the totem mythology that this season has sort of been about.

And we’re going to learn more about Amaya’s journey in that and what her role is in all that. I think the rest of the season is going to be about exploring the totems and getting more into [the demon] Mallus. The finale pays off on a lot of the things that we’ve seen.

Legends of Tomorrow, Mondays, 8/7c, The CW