Warning: The following contains spoilers for Wednesday Legends of tomorrow. Continue at your own risk!
on Wednesdays Legends of tomorrow, told newcomer Dr. Gwyn Davies to Zari about the tragedy in his past that he is still trying to rectify – hence his quest to invent time travel – and in turn the scientist revealed something very personal about himself.
A few years after World War I, Gwyn and a fellow soldier were tasked with delivering a letter to a unit, but the other man was killed along the way. And by the time Gwyn got to their destination, the unit was gone. Gwyn thought God had spared him so he could go back in time and save them all. But because he continues to fail, Gwyn now believes that God is punishing him for being a coward and for his sins.
Among the men who perished was Gwyn’s best friend, who could “light up a room with a smile” and wrote him “the most delightful poetry,” Gwyn describes.
“You loved him, didn’t you?” Zari noted quietly, understanding dawned on her.
“God forgive me, I loved Alun more than anything,” confirmed an emotional Gwyn.
In “telling a story about someone who has trouble with the way he feels about someone else because of the social constructs imposed on him from the moment he comes out,” and then exposing that character to time travel, “there is a world of discovery out there,” Matt Ryan, who plays Gwyn, tells TVLine. “Portraying a person going through this tremendous development and discovery and opening within themselves is a story that needs to be told.”
Given the oppressed and fraught timeline of 1925 where Gwyn comes from, it won’t be an easy journey to self-acceptance. “He’s not a guy who just turns around and says, ‘I love the guy,’” Ryan notes, adding that that love “would be very different [compared] that at the present time he was in a relationship with a man… It was illegal to love a man that way. There were so many social implications.”
“The interesting dichotomy of his being religious and his love for a man, there’s a… enormous conflict that many people go through today,” Ryan continues, “and telling that story in the context of 1925 and a man who is tied to the ropes of society is a really interesting way to explore that. I just felt like this is a really important story to tell, and if we can mine that and get under it, that’s a really good thing.
Gwyn now also shares something with Ryan’s previous Legends team member John Constantine, who is bisexual. Both characters are part of the show’s exploration of LGBTQ relationships. “It’s great to continue that theme in a way” with Gwyn, Ryan says. “The funny thing was that John would sleep with… everybody or something. I think in one of the animations I did, there’s a line when he turns around and says, “Oh, my ex is over there,” and it’s King Shark. That’s what I love about him, because he transcends every form of sexuality that exists today. And [Gwyn’s story] is a bit more specific and crafty and rooted in some of the issues people are dealing with today.”
What made Gwyn’s confession even more special was the fact that he confided in Zari 1.0. It hasn’t escaped Ryan’s attention that he and co-star Tala Ashe, who previously shared scenes as lovers Constantine and Zari 2.0, are still playing big emotional moments together – but this time as completely different characters!
“I have to say it’s so unique to do that on a TV show or anywhere,” Ryan shares, comparing the experience to “when you’re doing repertory theater and the same cast doing four different plays. That’s the only comparable medium.” where I can put it in a little bit.”
For Ryan, Zari was “a perfect person” for Gwyn to share his truth with, because “Tala has such an amazing quality about her on the show and in real life,” the actor exults. “She has that touch that allows her to open people up in a miraculous way. And it was really fun playing those scenes as different characters.”