The fourth and last character appearing in Legends of Tomorrow episode Camelot/3000 is another unexpected twist on the source material. By the end of the episode, when Queen Guinevere and Sara Lance share a passionate kiss, the queen states that she prefers “Sara Lance, a lot”, to which the assassin realizes she’s the one starting the legend of Sir Lancelot, a name that’s supposed to be a misspelling of her own. If Medieval Sara is not exactly the common idea of the legendary paladin, the comics version is much closer to the source material, even if, like many other mythological characters in DC Comics, he’s never been treated with a minimum consistency over the years. Let’s take a look.
Possibly the most famous and admired knight of his time, Lancelot du Lac was the son of King Ban of Benwick and of Queen Elaine. When he was an infant, his parent’s kingdom was conquered by King Claudas, and the royal family was forced to flee. The situation was desperate: Ban died during the escape, and Elaine could only try a convent for shelter, but didn’t know what to do with the baby… but Merlin had foreseen a great future for him, so he sent the Lady of the Lake, sister of his pupil Nimue, to save the baby, who was raised by her in a magic pocket dimension. The Lady of the Lake instructed him to be a champion of good and virtue, and when he finally left her magic kingdom he roamed the land, punishing the guilty and protecting the weak, earning himself a fame as the mysterious White Knight. He even saved Gawain, one of the Knights of the Round Table, and when after this he defeated a knight who challenged him to a duel for testing his skill, he found out he had bested King Arthur himself. Impressed, the king made him a Knight of the Round Table, and in little time he became his first knight and most trusted friend… but there was something that could come in the way of their friendship: Queen Guinevere, who Sir Lancelot fell desperately in love with. Lancelot’s life at Camelot became legendary, both for his valor as the kingdom’s greatest knight, and for his forbidden love with the queen, that at last brought Camelot to ruin, causing a civil war eventually exploited by the evil Mordred. What wasn’t known, was happened after the fall of Arthur, when Camelot was attacked by the pitiless, undead time travelers known as the Sheeda.
Despite his past betrayal, Sir Lancelot was still regarded as the best among the Knights of the Round Table, so he guided the warriors against the monstrous invader. On the battlefield, his sword clashed with the one of an enemy general, one of the most powerful warriors of the Sheeda: Neh-Buh-Loh, the sentient universe. His enemy disposed of superior weapons, and he shot Lancelot, wounding his shoulder. Never knowing defeat and even less surrender, Lancelot died gloriously in battle, spurring his soldiers to keep on fighting no matter what. This was the end of him only apparently (and only in a timeline: in some other reality, where the Sheeda never traveled back to Camelot, he died a monk, trying to atone for his betrayal), as his spirit remained tied to Earth because of a spell cast by Merlin on him and some other Knights. He reincarnated in the year 3000 in France as Jules Futrelle, one of the richest men in the world, a famous industrialist and businessman, and a renowned philanthropist. Despite the wealth and the fame, his life felt like lacking in some way, and Futrelle realized why only the night when, coming back to his penthouse, he found a stranger waiting for him… a stranger that he immediately recognized as his king and liege, King Arthur. Kneeling in front of Arthur, Jules Futrelle remembered who he was and what was his place in the world, and when he came back to his feet he was Sir Lancelot again, ready to follow his lord to yet another mission. Unfortunately, also Guinevere had been reawakened in 3000, and the ancient passion was ready to consume them once again…
Sir Lancelot du Lac is rightfully famous for being a noble and brave knight, loyal to his king and his people, always ready to do battle with the wicked and the evil (or even just as sport to boast his skills), but he’s also prey of passions he never learnt to control, passions strong enough to make him forsake also his honor and loyalty. As Arthur’s first knight, his swordsmanship, equestrianism, tactics and leadership skills are unmatched, as he’s able to defeat in combat even the mighty Arthur; he wears a magic ring that dispels all enchantments, and has some knowledge of the magic world due to his upbringing. A hero, but a most human one, Sir Lancelot strives to live up to his own legend, and while he most definitely has quite an ego to nurture with all the stories told about him, his flaws appear to be much bigger than they are due to his fame of untainted and pure champion of good.