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The Real Reason Arthur Darvill Left Legends Of Tomorrow

DC's Legends of Tomorrow is gearing up for a sixth season in the Arrowverse in 2021, and when it does so, it'll once again be without one of the main characters involved in the superhero group's founding, Rip Hunter. 

Played by Arthur Darvill, Hunter was a time traveler from the 22nd century who died at the end of the series' third season when he sacrificed himself in the fight against Mallus (John Noble). Of course, the roster of the Legends crew looks much different than it did at the beginning, as Darvill isn't the only actor who's left the show. Still, the fact that such an important character left the series early brings up plenty of questions — questions like, why did Darvill leave and was it a natural consequence of the show's evolution, or is there something more to the story? 

Darvill was a fixture during the first two seasons of the show, but he was much less present in season 3. Could that have also played into his ultimate departure? Based on what we know, the truth is not exciting — in a good way.

Hunter's death on Legends of Tomorrow was a creative choice

It appears that Rip Hunter's story was completed, and that was the reason Darvill exited Legends of Tomorrow. There was no contract dispute or acrimonious personal falling out. And although Darvill did take a step back in the third season, appearing as a recurring character instead of a regular cast member, his reasons for doing so had as much to do with his shooting schedule for the final season of Broadchurch as anything going on within the Legends storyline. 

Before the third season aired, he talked a bit about what was coming with Digital Spy, and it's unclear whether or not at that time he know that Hunter was going to die in the final episode. "It's very exciting, what's going to happen," Darvill said about the third season. "I'm very happy with what we've come up with. They're very good at keeping us involved in how our stories pan out, so I'm really excited to see where it goes in the future. I think there'll be a few surprises in store for people!"

Indeed, Hunter's death was a bit of a surprise, but it appears not to have anything to do with any behind-the-scenes drama. Showrunner Phil Klemmer, speaking at 2018's San Diego Comic-Con, said, "I believe he's done, for this season ... But, I mean, Arthur Darvill is the greatest. We've got a terrible habit of killing the greatest people. It's totally stupid" (via Screen Rant).

Producers have left the door open for Hunter's eventual return

The door remains open for Darvill to return thanks to the impermanence of consequence in any story that permits time travel

Executive producer Marc Guggenheim has absolutely left the door open for Darvill's eventual return. "We love Arthur, we love having Arthur on the show, and I think Arthur enjoys being on the show," Guggenheim told Entertainment Weekly in 2018. "Because it's a time travel show, and because we never saw a body, anything is possible. I think Arthur is totally willing to come back and play with us if we have a cool idea."

It doesn't appear that writers have yet generated the perfect vehicle for Hunter's return, but keep your fingers crossed. This is a superhero story on television, based on the DC comics universe. Deaths are not necessarily permanent in either medium. Having Hunter reappear after a few years in cold storage (or after gallivanting across all of time and space) wouldn't be odd at all under those circumstances, so stay tuned.