Nick Zano Exits Legends of Tomorrow After Six Seasons

Nate Heywood's time on the Waverider is over. Following the events of tonight's episode, The CW confirmed that Nick Zano will be leaving the series, where he has been a regular since the show's second season in 2016. Fans have expected the news for some time; not only did Zano reportedly make some remarks on social media that suggested he could be done (they were later removed), but his season 7 plot has revolved around the decision to "move in" with his girlfriend, the Zari of the original timeline, who lives inside of the Wind Totem with her ancestors.

Zano is the latest in a series of departures; last season, Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell) and John Constantine (Matt Ryan) both left the show, although Ryan returned to play Gwyn Davies this season, joining Maisie Richardson-Sellers in the proud Legends traditions of playing two different characters in the same series. We don't count Tala Ashe, since Zari is technically the same person from different timelines. Time travel is fun!

That's actually where Nate's departure took root: when Zari changed the future and saved her brother and parents from being killed, the altered timeline resulted in a future where her brother Behrad got the Wind Totem instead of Zari. In this timeline, Zari became a social media influencer, and only ended up with the Legends after Nate remembered that he was in love with the previous version of her. When it turned out the old Zari was still alive inside the Totem, Nate started to be able to occasionally date her, whether she was trading places with Zari 2.0, or he was visiting her inside the Totem.

This was all set up, starting with the beginning of season six, in order to facilitate Nate's departure -- a decision that Zano made, explaining it in simple terms: his contract was up, and in the time he has been in Vancouver shooting more than 100 episodes of TV, he and his wife have had two kids. This represents a chance to spend some time with his family.

"It was something I decided," Zano told ComicBook on Wednesday. "And when I decided it, I had a really good, beautiful, constructive conversation with Phil Klemmer, and we kind of mapped it out and talked about it. When we went into last season, he and I and the writers knew. My castmates didn't know for several episodes, and then the story started changing in the script. Things started being said in the script that everybody was kind of like, 'Wait a minute,' and then we all had the big talk."

Since Nate had a doomed romance with Amaya Jiwe, a Justice Society member from the past and Maisie Richardson-Sellers's first character, he had to reckon with the frustration of Zari not being able to live in the "real" world full time early this season. Rather than break it off, the pair decided to commit to living together, in a place outside the timeline where Zari's existence wouldn't threaten that of Behrad and Zari 2.0.

"Phil did it," Zano said of Nate and Zari's love story. "Phil and I would touch base periodically throughout the season, and he gave Nate the ending like Nate deserved, which is finally having a love that's not going to run away, or crumble before his eyes. We give him the happiness and safety that he has always longed for, and in television, that's pretty much the greatest gift your showrunner could give you as an actor: an exit that's honorable, loving, and caring."

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You can catch the first six seasons of DC's Legends of Tomorrow on Netflix, with season 7 set to hit the streaming service in March. You can also find more recent episodes on The CW's website or app, or buy or rent them on digital platforms like iTunes and Vudu.