But it turns out, Neron wasn’t supposed to be the big bad of the season. The writers changed, well, just about everything about this latest season, for one very good reason: Biff Tannen.
In an interview with TVLine, Legends of Tomorrow showrunner Phil Klemmer revealed how the main villain and storyline of season four was altered after Tom Wilson was cast as Hank Heywood, Nate’s father.
Originally, the plan was for the season to focus on a government conspiracy to turn magical creatures into super soldiers, with Hank at the center of it all. With Nate joining the Time Bureau, and yearning for a better relationship with his father, this had the potential to turn Commander Steel to the Dark Side.
However, Klemmer said they partially threw this storyline out the window (wouldn’t be the first time) after casting Wilson, who notably played Biff in the Back to the Future series.
Apparently, Wilson was so nice and loveable, it didn’t make sense to have him be this irredeemable villain who could only be destroyed by a giant stuffed animal and its killer hugs. While the kidnapping magical creatures storyline is still there, the show turned Hank into an accomplice for a much darker evil with its own agenda, meaning Neron.
“Our notion of the Big Bad was always a military guy who works for the Pentagon who is going to torture [magical] creatures and turn them into super soldiers,” he said. “When we saw Tom Wilson in action, and got to know him as a person, immediately our plans were dashed. We were like, ‘He can’t just be the bad guy. There’s something deeply loveable about this human being.’”
According to Klemmer, the back half of season four will show Hank’s allegiances changing as he learns the demonic truth about Neron and his plans. Much of that will be thanks to Nate himself, and their growing relationship, changing the story from “son corrupted by his evil father” to something more about forgiveness, redemption, and the power of love.
“We realised it was more interesting to see how a dad would be changed by a reconnection with his son. What would it be like for this stern, ‘Master of the Universe’ guy to be changed by his bohemian, dipshit son?” he said.
After all, it’s strong and it’s sudden and it’s cruel sometimes. But it might just save your life.