- "Being with you all has turned me into the man I need to be, and, uh, this place is special. And you never know when it's gonna be over, so I say, Legends, enjoy the ride while it lasts."
- —Nate Heywood[src]
Dr. Nathaniel "Nate" Heywood is a historian, specializing in deductive historical reconstruction. He is the son of the late Hank Heywood and Dorothy Heywood, the grandson of the late Henry Heywood, the ex-lover of Masako Yamashiro, the ex-boyfriend of Amaya Jiwe and Zari Tarazi, the best friend of Ray Palmer, and the close friend of Ava Sharpe, Sara Lance and Behrad Tarazi.
Due to Nate's skills, he was able to deduce that an aberration-created reality, one in which the Nazis nuked New York City in 1942 (due to the machinations of Damien Darhk and Eobard Thawne) and World War II continued until 1947, was starting to cement in the timeline, supplanting the previous reality. With the help of Oliver Queen, he was able to locate the submerged Waverider in 2016, waking Mick Rory from time stasis. Together with Mick, Nate traveled through time, using his skills as a historian to find the locations and time periods in which different members of the Legends team were stranded. For his support, Nate was made a new member of the team.
After being injected with a biomolecular enhancer created by Thawne and modified by Ray, Nate gained the ability to transform his skin into steel, making him extremely strong and resilient. After Nate learned to use his abilities, Ray gave him a suit and the alter ego "Steel" (after his grandfather, Commander Steel). Among the other nicknames he suggested himself were Corporal Steel, Mr. Steel and Citizen Steel, and he's also referred to himself as the Man of Steel and Steel Man. After his breakup with Amaya, Nate left the Waverider to recover and focus on himself. He soon received and accepted a new job at the Time Bureau, where he runs the magic department. After Ray was possessed by Neron, Nate rejoined the Legends to aid his friends in bringing Ray back, continue his relationship with Zari, and help her care for Wickstable. Nate let himself be killed in order to destroy the demon and save Ray, but his father's spirit and the Legends used magical music to bring him back to life. Zari disappeared since her future changed and her brother Behrad Tarazi appeared in her place. Nate no longer had any conscious memory of Zari since her future was different. However after being briefly subjected to hypnosis it was shown that he unconsciously remembers things about Zari from the original timeline.
Nate was born a hemophiliac, and as a result of his parents' decision to protect him from all harm, he was never allowed outside after one scraped knee at the age of 5. As a child, he was inspired by George Lucas' Indiana Jones movies, deciding to become a historian, spending all his time studying at home. In addition, Nate was always interested in stories about his paternal grandfather, eventually getting his soldier "dog tags" passed down to him. Nate didn't have the best relationship with his father and always referred to him as "Hank". Eventually Nate left home at sixteen for college. He studied abroad at Oxford for a year while completing his master's degree, during which time he dated a girl named Wendy and read an unpublished paper by J.R.R. Tolkien titled The Burden of the Purest Heart.
He graduated and earned a PhD, becoming a historian specializing in historical reconstruction and deduction, calling himself a "time detective". He observed the past and current events of Earth-1, with special interest in vigilantes, as shown by him deducing the identities of the Green Arrow and all members of Rip Hunter's team, identifying them as "the Legends" and figuring out their appearances in the past from research and overview of historical artifacts and written sources.
Becoming a Legend
In fall 2016, Nate started to notice how historical artifacts, and thus reality itself, started to change from what he knew of it beforehand. Figuring out that the Legends ended up in trouble, Nate gathered his courage and tried to sneak past the security at Mayor Oliver Queen's office when he was not permitted through, trusting Queen to believe his findings as the Green Arrow and as a friend of Sara Lance and Ray Palmer. Oliver was easily convinced by Nate's arguments about the changed timeline, in which the Nazis attacked the United States by nuking New York City. Arranging for a submarine to lower himself as well as Dr. Heywood to the submerged Waverider, the two woke Mick Rory from stasis, alarming him. Mick instinctively attacked the newcomers but was quickly subdued by Oliver. Mick confirmed Nate's findings and suspicion and, on Oliver's advice, the two decided to travel through time and gather the Legends' members that have been scattered throughout time, due to the ship's emergency function before it was hit by a nuke in 1942.
Nate and Mick eventually located and saved all team members sans Rip Hunter, before setting up to safeguard both Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric in case the Nazis, or a rogue time traveler, tried to kidnap them once again. The Legends, with Nate as the newest member, appeared in 1942 prior to Albert Einstein's physics symposium in the guise of CIA, convincing the big guy to tell the public of his ex-wife's accomplishments. Einstein happily obliged, making Mileva's support of his research public, and thus prompting the United States government to safeguard them both. Nate listened to Einstein's speech with wonder and adoration, barely able to believe that they changed history for the better. As Nate was ready to leave the premises along with the other Legends, they were halted by the Justice Society of America members.
Nate was excited to meet the JSA, in particular, Commander Steel. The Legends tried to negotiate with the JSA but they insisted on taking them into custody with Nate being knocked out by Commander Steel with a punch. Imprisoned by the JSA, Nate revealed exactly who they were to the rest of the team though Commander Steel thought they were Nazi spies. Nate then revealed that he was wearing the same dogtags that he was and explained to Henry Heywood/Commander Steel that he was his future grandson. They then met Rex Tyler though he insisted that he never met the Legends before and asked them to leave as they had a new mission in Paris.
Sara Lance at first intended to bid Nate goodbye, concerned with his unpreparedness for the dangerous adventure as an untrained historian, Nate vehemently opposed this, wanting to finally do something with his life. He then found that his dogtags were missing which meant history had changed and learned that the JSA never returned from Paris. Nate then revealed that he spoke six languages and Sara wondered why he became a historian due to his background though he said it was complicated. They infiltrated the nightclub where the JSA's target, a Nazi named Krieger was arranging an exchange. A fight broke out in the club that had Nate getting injured. The JSA agreed to work together when they revealed that they never returned from this mission. Sara then learned that Nate had hemophilia meaning that his blood didn't clot normally and that was why he was sheltered his whole life but Nate refused to back down because he finally felt alive. He then visited his grandfather and wondered why the man seemed to be shutting him out and he revealed that his hero worship of him frightened him as he did what he did so others, like him, didn't have to. Nate told him that he just wanted to be a hero like him but couldn't because of his affliction but Henry told him that he didn't have to be a soldier to be a hero.
When the mission to intercept Krieger went south due to him transforming to a berserker creature due to a serum, Amaya Jiwe and Ray Palmer were captured. The Legends and JSA went to rescue them but Henry was left behind to get caught in the bombing run. Nate went to rescue him with a motorbike but they managed to get caught just outside the bombing radius and Nate was injured. His body wasn't healing due to his blood not clotting and was starting to die. Ray then injected Nate with the serum that he stole and modified and his body started to immediately recover. When he came to, he saw that his grandfather had been watching him and hoping to speak to him before they left. Henry told him that it appeared that he was a hero after all. Nate and his grandfather then saw his dogtags had returned which meant that history was back on track.
As Nate was still recovering from his heavy wounds in the Waverider's medbay, Amaya Jiwe snuck on board the ship, trying to assassinate Mick Rory, believing him to be the mysterious time traveler that murdered Rex Tyler. As Nate awoke, he stopped Amaya using his newfound meta-human powers of organic steel transformation. Excited by his new powers, Nate discussed a possible meta-human alias with the team, suggesting "Corporal Steel", "Citizen Steel" and "Mr. Steel". As Sara and Amaya came to an agreement, they watched Nate excitedly testing his powers with Ray, taking shots from the A.T.O.M. Exosuit. In their excitement, the two vigilantes ended up damaging the ship and then freefalling through the timestream and out of the Temporal Zone, ending up in mid-17th century Japan. Awed by his historical surroundings, Nate passed out, before being found by Masako Yamashiro, a local villager. Despite it being dangerous for the villagers to assist a gaijin under the tyrannical rule of Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, Masako and her father, Ichiro Yamashiro, nursed Nate to health. Masako gave Nate a bath, telling him of her unfortunate story of being betrothed to the cruel Iemitsu. Refusing to accept injustice, Nate tried to challenge the Shogun's Samurai, who arrived to the village to inform Masako of the coming wedding day, but ended up unable to activate his powers, getting flattened by an armored samurai, and heavily wounded once again.
As Nate was being healed by Masako, he was being asked on his backstory, trying to fit facts that wouldn't seem strange for the Medieval Japanese with his real life, but ended up blundering, remembering that the United States would not exist for many years after 1641, further confusing Masako. Eventually, he was found by the rest of the Legends. Recovering from his wounds, Nate was being trained by Ray to reconnect to his abilities, but to no avail. Masako imparted him with wisdom that, to Ray, sounded reminiscent of that of a fictional character, Master Yoda, whom he claimed to have been his sensei. As the Shogun and his men approached the village, Nate came out to oppose him, but, once again, couldn't activate his powers, sustaining heavy damage from the Exosuit's light blast, getting knocked out. He eventually recovered, just in time to save Ray and Masako from being slain by Tokugawa Iemitsu. Transforming into his meta-human Steel form, Nate grabbed the Shogun's sword, then, together with Ray, confused him in the duel, before catching the Yamashiro family katana thrown by Ray and destroying the Exosuit's alpha-stabilizer with it, leading to a somatic overload that had the suit blown up, along with the tyrannical Iemitsu. Nate checked on Masako, who praised him for blowing up the Exosuit, before going to comfort Ray, who was proud that Nate had "steeled on" and embraced him. As the village celebrated, Masako tried to persuade Nate to take the katana with him, but he disagreed, saying that she was just as worthy to be its wielder. Nate thought to ask Masako if she'd be interested in continuing their relationship, but she pragmatically noted that as he "came from the sky", he'd have to return, and it was impossible. The two parted with one last kiss.
During the Legends' mission to the times of Civil War, dealing with an outbreak of TX-90 brought by a crash-landed time pirate, Nate joined the initial team to scout out the location of the pirate's ship. He later took initiative with informing Ulysses S. Grant, the commander of the United States Army, about the outbreak. However, he was unsuccessful with explaining what a "zombie" is to the 19th-century soldiers, before Sara Lance went on a recon mission and brought a still-moving undead head, causing Grant to prepare his sharpshooters for defense against the deceased Confederate soldiers. Struggling to gain control over his powers, Nate eventually succeeded, taking the infected soldiers' attention with a fiery signal, before making them follow him into a remote location to deal with. Once brought far enough from the Union's troops, Nate finally used his meta-human powers to protect himself, while blowing up the "zombies" that surrounded him with a bomb, getting covered in goo left from their corpses.
On a mission to 1987's Washington, D.C., Nate joined Amaya Jiwe in figuring out what happened to the members of the Justice Society of America. They located an angry Todd Rice/Obsidian, whom Nate ended up knocking out in surprise. After getting healed, the aged Obsidian told the younger heroes about the JSA's fate and their role in the Cold War against the Soviet Union, including a tragic final mission in Leipzig in 1956. Nate, along with the rest of the team and Obsidian, interrupted the exchange between Damien Darhk and the KGB agents, joining the fight to defeat H.I.V.E. Ghosts in his meta-human form. After the mission, Nate and Amaya discussed Henry Heywood, with Amaya telling Nate of his grandfather's beautiful singing voice.
On a mission to 1874's Wild West, Nate teamed up with Ray Palmer and Jefferson Jackson, investigating the influence of Quentin Turnbull first in the guise of tax collectors, then as bandits from his gang. Taking the results back to the team, they joined the fight against Turnbull and his outlaws. When Turnbull prepared to kill the Legends, Rory in particular, with his pistol's light blasts made from dwarf alloy bullets, Nate tried to block the shot with his own body in his form as Steel. He blocked the bullet, but it pierced his metallic skin, snapping Nate out of his meta-human form and damaging his internal organs. Brought back to the ship, Nate was nursed to health as he discussed with Ray Palmer just how hard it is to be brave, to be a hero. Together, they figured out Turnbull's plan to create a new country in place of America, using a train full of dynamite to destroy the railroad and cut off the United States Army from the western half of the country. Nate, Jax and Ray were then sent to stop the train with dwarf alloy. Nate decided to stop the train by himself, riding away from the team and turning into Steel before the train, trying to stop it with sheer strength. Despite his fears, he succeeded, although damaging part of the railroad. Back on the Waverider, Ray discussed the latest events with Nate, and presented him with a Steel suit of his own, made out of dwarf star alloy.
When the Legends returned to 2016 to help their friends with the Dominators, Nate and Amaya stayed on the Waverider so they could watch it. After The Dominators took Oliver, Sara, Thea, Ray, and John captive and placed them under a dream while the aliens begin searching their minds for information on Earth-1's meta-humans, the five managed to escape after stealing an alien spacecraft, pursued by the Dominators' starships, but were picked up by the Waverider, where they were greeted by Nate, who figured out that the heroes were chosen because they were not meta-humans themselves. Regrouping, Nate, along with Amaya Jiwe, Mick Rory, Felicity Smoak, and Cisco Ramon traveled back to 1951, to the site of the Dominators' first incursion at Redmond. Trying his new armor for the first time, Nate was called a "star-spangled idiot" by Mick. At Mick's lead, they prepared to capture one of the aliens, but were interrupted by Agent Smith and taken prisoner. The team managed to escape capture and, at Cisco's suggestion, released the captive alien, hoping for his good fortune. The gesture didn't change the Dominators' minds, but instead empowered their decision due to how a 'normal human' like Smith could be dangerous, believing meta-humans could become a galactic scourge. They offered an exchange: the life of one Barry Allen (seen as dangerous by the Dominators for his changes of the timeline) for the lives of all meta-humans on Earth.
The heroes refused, with Nate joining the battle against one of their major forces as Steel, along with Heat Wave, Vixen, Supergirl, the Atom, the Green Arrow, Spartan, Speedy, Firestorm and the Flash. After the Dominators' retreat, Nate was present at the celebrations with the new President of the United States. He was recognized as "Dr. Heywood" by an older Agent Smith, but reacted coldly to the agent. Nate guessed that Smith was there to try and 'cover up' the good that their team did especially when they acted against Smith's attempts to capture Barry when Kara came over and informed him on some idea pitches she made to the President on alien affairs as well as reassigning Smith to Antarctica. Nate amusingly pointed out Smith should be careful in the future about angering visitors from other planets.
The Legion of Doom
Returning to the Legends' quest of hunting down time aberrations, Nate practiced his abilities in the meta-human form against Ray in the Atom suit, causing quite a ruckus on the Waverider. They two were reprimanded by Sara and Jax, but continued their training with jests. After the team were alerted to a new time quake in 1927, they discussed a plan to stop Al Capone's rise to the Mayor's Office in Chicago. Ray and Nate followed Eliot Ness, but, due to Ray's falling for corrupt cops' ruse, lost him. As Nate explained the historical peculiarities of 1927's Chicago, the team regrouped to stop Al Capone from killing Ness at the docks. While Amaya Jiwe saved the drowning Ness, Nate fought Capone's gangsters in his Steel suit. The Legends brought Ness to the Waverider, seeing that he suffered severe damage and leaving him in Gideon's care. After that, the team decided that one of them should play the role of Ness, with Ray and Nate both demanding the role: Ray for his acting skills, and Nate for his knowledge of history (dismissed by Ray as looking too much like Brad Pitt). In the end, they went together, posing as agents from the same agency, but their trail on Capone has proven false. With Nate's plan not so lucky, Mick Rory gathered the team to do things his way, as criminals, outright stealing important info to take down Capone from his home turf. After a battle against the members of Eobard Thawne's syndicate, Nate and Ray met with the real Eliot Ness and gave him the necessary papers to take down Capone, with Ness hardly believing the possibility of defeating the gangster through tax evasion charges.
Studying historical documents and archeological artifacts, Nate was able to pinpoint that the Spear of Destiny was the artifact searched by Eobard and his cronies, whom Nate nicknamed "the Legion of Doom", in a reference to some old "Hanna-Barbera" cartoon. Gideon later noted that a piece of the Spear was seen in the possession of Rip Hunter before he time-scattered, but he refused to tell her of its origins. Notified about an aberration caused by Merlyn and Darhk in Hollywood, 1967, Nate went on a mission with the other Legends. To their surprise, they located an amnesiac Rip Hunter, now a director under the name "Philip Gasmer". Rip was then attacked by blaster-wielding Darhk and Merlyn, forcing the Legends to protect him. Unsuccessful in catching the time criminals, the Legends retreated, while Rip was arrested by the police under suspicion of starting the shooting incident, and then placed into custody. Rip's failure as a director affected his assistant, young George Lucas, who decided to throw away the movie props, a piece of the Spear among them, and quit film school to become an insurance businessman instead. This caused another aberration, changing the personal timelines of Ray and Nate, who, without watching Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies, were now never inspired to pursue their respective academia. This led Nate to becoming a yoga instructor instead.
As the aberration started to set in, Nate's meta-human powers and Ray's A.T.O.M. Exosuit also disappeared. Trying to now, hunt down both Lucas and the Spear, the two ended up trapped with George and Amaya in a trash compactor by Darhk and Merlyn, forced to find and give them the spear. As the four were about to be killed, Nate, Ray and Amaya pleaded Lucas to believe in himself and reaffirm his wish to dedicate his life to film making. Now ready to believe in the impossible, George shouted about how much he'd want to direct, removing the aberration and giving Nate and Ray their powers back. With them all back to normal they escaped from the villains' trap, along with the piece of Spear and even took back the medallion. It seemed like they would be able to defeat Darhk and Merlyn but then their speedster enemy reappeared and turned the tide of the battle back for the Legion. Rip Hunter then appeared, seemingly have gotten his memory back but it was quickly seen as just an act to try and distract the Legion. Nate and his team watched as the Legion captured him and then retreated.
Resting on the Waverider, they saw that history was back on track and all of the movies that Lucas was to make had returned and Nate had back all of his historical knowledge. Nate and Ray decided to treat themselves and Amaya to some popcorn and have a movie night dedicated to George Lucas's films.
Nate was trying to find some clues to the identity of their speedster enemy when Martin revealed that he had caused an aberration which resulted in him having a daughter, Lily. Lily was brought onto the ship as she believed that she would be able to network the amulet with Gideon to be able to locate pieces of the spear for them. He and the others kept trying to find the speedster's identity when Nate realized that perhaps the reason they couldn't find anything about him was because he had somehow been wiped out of existence but was still somehow around. Martin then realized that the speedster was Eobard Thawne. They then learned that he had forged the Legion of Doom in order because he couldn't be in one place for too long or else his non-existence would catch up with him.
Relationship with Amaya
Nate and Amaya were talking of how they loved what they did though they would like to get off the ship at times when they were docked in the Temporal Zone. Nate began to talk of dating in the future and how it was different from 'courting' in Amaya's time when there was a massive time quake that made her fall into his arms. The quake was from Christmas of 1776 which Nate knew was when George Washington crossed the Delaware during the American Revolution. The team learned that Washington had been killed. They figured it was a trap by the Legion but they had to save Washington. Nate and Amaya posed as wealthy newlyweds which caused a few heads to turn because of the racial prejudices of the time. They were then attacked by Redcoats wielding automatic weapons and Nate shielded Amaya from the bullet barrage with his steel body. They returned to the Waverider to learn that Rip was in 1776 and was working for the Legion as he went and shot Sara. Nate and Amaya went on the trail to get back both Mick and Washington but were ambushed and Nate ended up falling into the freezing river but was saved by Amaya. She heated him up with her body heat to keep him from succumbing to Hypothermia and ended up sleeping together. After, they quickly reached the British camp and helped Rory and Washington escape. Back at the Waverider, the two agreed that what they had was "fun" though they weren't going to let it interfere in their work.
The team then found that Lily's algorithm had located a fragment of the spear in 3000 A.D. While most of the team was excited to travel to the future, Nate wasn't too thrilled with the idea. Amaya told him that if he didn't want to go then he should just stay on the ship. When the team discovered Dr. Mid-Nite dead and the spear gone, they realized that Rip must've had something to do with the JSA. They then found another fragment in 507 A.D. in Britannia. Nate was excited to be back in the past though immediately shot down Ray's expectations of knights and jousts based on Arthurian lore. He also commented that what the medieval times weren't like the stories that the team seemed to grow up on when they were suddenly surrounded by knights. Ray then spoke to them in a dialect that Nate hissed was incorrect, however, it pacified the knights. One of them revealed themselves to be Guinevere, the queen of Camelot. When they were taken to Camelot, Nate quickly commented that this place shouldn't exist at all. They were taken before King Arthur who called for his adviser Merlin to see if they were trustworthy. They were all shocked to see that Merlin was really Stargirl.
Nate, Ray and Jax feasted together in the castle when Ray pointed out Sir Galahad. Nate was wondering how he knew that and Ray informed him of the legendary seat reserved for him though Nate told him that there was a difference between legend and history. When Arthur returned from a hunt, it looked like he had captured the Black Knight that was terrorizing his kingdom. However, it was seen that it was a trap set up by Damien Darhk and Rip Hunter who had Arthur under their control from futuristic mind control tech. They demanded the spear fragment in return for Arthur and Camelot's safety. Nate was present for Guinevere speaking to the knights and calling them to fight and protect their kingdom from Darhk's army. He told Ray that they all didn't stand a chance and if it was worth it for a dream and Ray told him that it was as that dream meant the world to him once. As Ray left to join up with the knights, Nate looked through a manuscript of Arthurian lore and saw an image of Ray at his funeral.
When Amaya and Sara found the spear fragment and were preparing to leave, Nate went to collect Ray. He had taken Galahad's sword and infused it with Ionic energy from his suit. Nate then told him that they were leaving as they found the spear but Ray refused to leave as he couldn't abandon the knights. Nate then told Ray about his death but Ray was determined to stay. When Nate returned to the Waverider, he told the team about Ray's decision and argued that they couldn't just leave him. Amaya told him that they couldn't risk losing another fragment to the Legion and that it was Ray's choice but Nate wouldn't have it. The team then realized that they couldn't abandon Ray, Stargirl or Guinevere's army. Nate headed to the battlefield with Amaya and Sara and when Ray asked if he came to fight for an imaginary kingdom after all, he told him that he came to fight for his dumb friend. When Ray left to try and stop Darhk from getting away, Nate yelled after him and eventually followed him, finding him seemingly dead after Darhk shot him and escaped. Nate panicked until it was revealed that Ray had been wearing his suit under the army for extra protection due to Nate's warning. Back at the ship, Nate admitted that maybe legend and history weren't so different as both could teach future generations and help them reveal who they could be.
Nate started getting nervous when Gideon couldn't locate the final fragment of the spear that was carried by his grandfather. Everyone, including Amaya, assured Nate that they would find Commander Steel before the Legion did. However, Rip Hunter managed to override the ship's controls and had swiped the medallion. Nate moved to intercept him with Amaya and Rory. They cornered him before he could escape and he went and destroyed the medallion in front of them before Rory knocked him out. The Waverider then crash landed in Cretaceous times and had lost a vital part during the crash. Nate went with Ray and Amaya to look for it though his heart wasn't too into it as they had now lost the medallion. Amaya managed to cheer him up when she helped to take a snake that was wrapping around him and sent it on its way. Nate moved to give Amaya a kiss but Ray had interrupted when he tried to warn them of a T-Rex named Gertrude had locked in on his scent. They then learned that Gertrude had a grudge against Ray for stealing one of her eggs to eat when he was there last time.
They then regrouped in a hut that Ray had built for himself when he was stranded in this time. Ray offered to catch an iguana for them to eat but Nate told him that he brought energy bars from the ship. Ray left the two of them alone and Nate and Amaya were ready to try and kiss again when Ray quickly came back with his catch before they could. Later that night, when Amaya left to gather firewood, Ray went over to Nate and told him that he couldn't be with Amaya as she had a future to go back to in 1942. He told him about his granddaughter Vixen that was a superhero in Detroit and about what happened to her village. Nate wanted to tell her what happens but Ray said that he couldn't do it and risk all the good that Mari was meant to do. The next day, the group found the part they were looking for in Gertrude's nest. They managed to get it but Gertrude returned. Nate and Ray were ready to fight but Amaya used the power of her totem to pacify the dinosaur to their amazement. Nate assured Ray that he would stop his relationship with Amaya though when she told him that she would be waiting for him in her room, he told himself that he would start tomorrow.
Rip Hunter revealed to the team that he left Henry Heywood in 1965, Manhattan. Nate went with Rip, Amaya and Sara to a moment after Rip had left Henry to find that he was gone. They went back to the ship and reviewed clues to where he could've gone and found a newsclipping image of Henry as a mission control manager of NASA in 1970 for the Apollo-13. They went to 1970 and Nate was reunited with his grandfather. He informed the Legends that he left his fragment of the spear on the moon in Neil Armstrong's flag which Nate thought was very clever. They moved to retrieve it when they learned that history had already changed since the Apollo-13 avoided a catastrophe that it was originally supposed to have. Nate's grandfather was cold with Rip Hunter for leaving him in 1965 and forcing his wife to raise their son by herself though Nate told him that Rip lost his family. Henry then suggested that he go back to 1956 and have it so it would be like he never left and Nate was happy at the thought of his father being able to have his own father back in his life and possibly making the man not become as cold as he presently was. Amaya then confronted Nate about the ramifications of changing his father's childhood as that would effect how Nate turned out himself but Nate was sure that events would be altered for the better. Amaya then informed Henry about the truth of time travel and the risks of going back to his son would have on how he grew up and what it could do to Nate. Henry asked Nate why he didn't tell him of all this before but Nate told Henry that his father needed him. Henry then reminded Nate that they can't forget that the mission must come first for the greater good, even over their own family. Nate became angry with Amaya for telling Henry about the risks but Amaya told him that it would change who Nate was and she liked who he was. Nate however told Amaya that they didn't have a future together and she had a destiny to go back to in 1942. He then spitefully alluded to her granddaughter and the fate of her village and asked her if she would still choose history over family. Nate went with the others to meet up with Ray as they picked him up from the moon with speedster weapons ready as he also brought in Thawne as their prisoner.Before they could return to Earth, Stein and Rory contacted the team to tell them that Nate's young father Hank had arrived because he won a contest to see Apollo's mission command. Henry then revealed that he had rigged a contest because he wanted a chance to meet his son. When the ship needed to be angled a certain way to re-enter the atmosphere, the team saw that someone would have to open the cargo bay door but that person would be killed. Nate saw to his horror that his grandfather was missing. He then ran off in time to see that Henry had closed the door into the cargo bay trapping him inside. Nate frantically tried to tell his grandfather that his son was waiting for him back on Earth but Henry told Nate that he had to do this. He also made Nate promise to destroy the spear so that this wouldn't happen again. He then watched as his grandfather opened the door to angle the ship and was then sucked out into space. Nate went over to mission command where he saw his teenage father. He noticed that his dad was wearing the dogtags and Hank told him that they belonged to his father though he never knew him as he died when Hank was a baby. Nate told him that he didn't have a close relationship with his own father but he was sure that both his father and Hank's were sorry.
The Spear of Destiny
After losing his grandfather, Nate grew depressed, becoming apathetic toward the entire mission. However, he perked up after learning that the Spear, when burned with fire, displays a secret message, one that translates to, "Born of blood, undone by blood". Nate alone figured out that it obviously means that Jesus Christ's blood empowered the Spear - and that His very blood destroys it. Due to the dangers of the Legends traveling to the crucifixion to take some of Jesus’ blood, Nate pointed out that they can investigate a theory on Sir Gawain, the knight who set out for the Holy Grail. That theory states that he in fact brought back the blood of Christ, and that he was buried with a vial of it somewhere in Northern France. To find a clue regarding the blood's precise location, the Legends agreed to find the theory's author: J.R.R. Tolkien. Eventually, Rip and Nate found Tolkien suffering from trench fever during World War I and managed to move him away from his commander and onto the Waverider. Nate filled him in on what they were looking for and managed to convince Tolkien by talking about how the darkness of the war will pass one day, and how they're fighting a much bigger battle for the sake of humanity. In the long run, Nate's kind words and heroic actions as Steel convinced Tolkien that the latter's not a coward, and gave him ideas for his future book series; The Lord of the Rings.
Nate took Tolkien with them when the team went to check out the chapel where the research said that Sir Gawain's remains could be found along with the blood of Christ. Mick found a golden goblet which helped both Nate and Tolkien navigate through the clues in the chapel's floor that led to the pillar where Gawain's remains were. However, they didn't find the blood with him, but a shield with an engraving. The team was then surprised with the sudden arrival of Leonard Snart, whom the Legion had gone back in time and recruited from before he joined the Legends. He and Darhk also brought in some World War I German soldiers and Nate moved to shield Tolkien from the gun fire. After Tolkien got the engraving, Nate took him back with the others to the Waverider. With the engraving, Nate and Tolkien found that it was a depiction of the site where the blood had been hidden, which was the current battlefield of the British and German armies.
The team was trying to come up with a way to get to the blood without getting killed from the warfare raging on the plain. Amaya proposed that they use the spear's power to erase the Legion but Sara and Rip were against the idea as the spear's power was too great and could tempt anyone. Eventually, they came up with a plan to get the two armies to call a cease fire. Nate left Tolkien with his regiment and then went off with Sara, Amaya and Mick to get the blood. They found a flask of it in a box buried in the middle of the field. However, Snart and Darhk arrived and held them at gunpoint, demanding the spear. Mick had it and when Sara grabbed the blood from Nate to destroy it, Mick took it away. He decided to use the spear to spare his own past and even asked Amaya to come with him but refused. Snart then threw a bomb into the air to spark the fighting back up between the two warring sides. Nate took cover and then tried to save the flask of Christ's blood but the gunfire shattered and destroyed it. He then watched as Thawne sped through and took Darhk, Snart and Mick to safety.
Back on the ship, Nate was lamenting on everything that had happened. He especially was upset about failing Tolkien as he had given him hope for a better future and instead had him cured of his disease so that he could return to horror of the war trenches. He wanted to go back in time and prevent Tolkien from ever having been involved, no doubt ruining the future impact of his stories, but Rip pointed out that with the spear in the Legion's hands that might be mute point. However, Nate still had hope as he guessed that even though the Legion had the spear, they didn't know how to use it. What he didn't know was that they had acquired the means to use it and his reality was then changed along with everyone else's.
Nate's life was altered so that he became a conspiracy theorist that ran a site that only his mother really read and he lived out of her basement. He began to have 'reality scars' which made him look into how the current reality was not right. He decided to go to Eobard Thawne of S.T.A.R. Labs to get his help to make sense of things, not realizing that he was going to the ones responsible. He managed to get through Thawne's security and made it to his lab where he found Thawne with Snart and Rory. Thawne listened to his theories and told Nate that he was onto something. Nate was happy that Thawne seemed to believe him but that went away when Thawne ordered for Snart and Rory to kill him. They took him out to the woods outside Central City to kill him though Nate didn't understand why, until he realized that his theories were all correct. Snart was ready to kill him but Rory stepped in and stopped him as he was starting to think that the changes to reality weren't what he hoped they would be. He then told Nate about the Legion and the spear and drove him to find Ray as he felt that he was their only chance.
Nate and Rory found Ray in a run down apartment, as he had been made a lowly janitor for Star Labs. However, Ray told them that he felt that things in the world weren't right either and made a device to try and undo changes done to the mind. Rory took it and used it on Nate and he instantly remembered everything, and he quickly punched Rory for his betrayal. They then restored Ray and were about to try and find the others, when Sara and Amaya barged in on them. At first, Nate and Ray were happy to see them but Rory informed them that they didn't know who they were and worked for Damien Darhk in this reality. Nate also realized that even though he had his memories back, he no longer had his powers but still tried to get through to Amaya but couldn't reach her as she and Sara tried to kill them. They managed to drive Amaya away and then restored Sara's memories. To avoid the Legion finding them they had to go into hiding and Nate brought them to his basement as he felt that would be the last place the Legion would look. Sara went to go get Amaya back, and then Jax, and they regrouped in Nate's basement. Jax then told them of Thawne's new project, a thermal reactor, which they realized he was going to use to destroy the spear and make this reality permanent. They then made the choice to try and get the spear back before that could happen and have Amaya use it to reset things back to how they were. Nate was able to find the incantation, with Rory's help, but the group felt that they couldn't trust Rory after what he had done.
They infiltrated S.T.A.R. Labs' new reactor but Stein, still under Thawne's influence, managed to alert the speedster. Thawne had the spear in his possession and called for his security force to surround the Legends. Stein then revealed that the reactor was complete and Thawne was about to toss the spear in to destroy it but the rest of the Legion arrived, with Mick, intent on betraying him and taking the spear for themselves. This caused a small fight to break out with everyone trying to get the spear. Nate managed to grab it but Darhk got to him. Thawne sped for them but Nate used it to launch the speedster across the room and knock him out. As soon as he did, Darhk then knocked him aside and took the spear from him. The spear kept changing hands before Mick got his hands on it and then chose to give it to Amaya to set things right. However, Nate watched in horror as Snart used his Cold Gun to freeze Amaya and then kill her by shattering her to pieces. Soon after, Thawne regained himself and stole back the spear and then tossed it into his reactor, destroying it and cementing the reality. Thawne then chose to spare the Legends so that they could spend the rest of their lives living in agony and defeat in the new world as he felt that was a fate worse than death for them. They all returned to his apartment, unsure of what to do now that the spear was destroyed. Sara then proposed that the only move they had left was to go back in time and stop the Legion from ever getting the spear in the first place, but for that they needed to find where Rip and the Waverider were.
While the rest of the team worked to find the Waverider, Nate was off by himself, grieving for the loss of Amaya. When the team found Rip, they had to break into Star Labs to get Ray's suit so that they could enlarge the ship which had been shrunk to a small size. Nate helped fight off some of Thawne's security while the others managed to find the suit and get passed Damien Darhk. With the Waverider back, they traveled back to 1916 against Rip's better judgment. Jax asked what would happen if they did managed to destroy the spear and they all realized that they would be erased as they wouldn't exist if the Legion never got it, making them the aberrations. The team tried to get the blood of Christ to leave it for their old selves to find but Thawne guessed what they were up to and arrived to destroy the blood. He then went and killed Ray. They then decided to try and sneak aboard the ship and steal the spear and simply time jump away with it. Nate went with Rip and Mick to the ship while their past selves went to the church with Tolkien. Nate went to the library where the past Stein and Jax were and told them that the mission to the church was a dead end but was taken aback when he saw Amaya again, alive. He then tried to point the team to the Galapagos Islands and left to rejoin the others. They had been waiting and he apologized for getting held up but found they couldn't leave as their past selves were returning. Jax and Stein realized they weren't the true them and attacked them but their past selves then realized that they were the future versions of themselves and not the Legion in disguise.
Future Nate and his friends shared what happened with their present selves and let them soak it all in. Present Nate was crushed to hear that Amaya had been killed when he was visited by his future self who told him to stop trying to be calm and nonchalant about his feelings with her and tell her that he loved her. Nate argued that Amaya had a destiny waiting for her but his future self told him to forget about that as he knew what he felt and wanted as they didn't want to lose her. The ship then began getting attacked by the Legion and when they tried to time jump away, a time storm emerged and made the ship crash. They then decided to go to the future Waverider but the future versions of them knew they couldn't go with them or risk another time storm. All of them, the present and future Legends, prepared to face the Legion to get the spear out of there. Future Nate moved to point them to the Waverider but he was surprised from behind by Damien Darhk who stuck a sword into him. Sara went to fight him while Amaya held him as he slowly died. He then sent a reminder to his present self about their feelings for Amaya before he died. Nate and the others had taken care of Snart, Merlyn and Darhk but they were then surprised by Thawne who had returned with versions of himself throughout time. Nate and the others, save for Present Sara, were knocked out by the multiple speedsters. Sara quickly used the spear to depower it before Hunter Zolomon arrived and then erased Thawne from existence.
The Legends then moved to get the Legion back to their proper places in time and Amaya was getting ready to do the same. Nate went to Amaya and told her that he decided to go with her to 1942. Amaya tried to talk him out of it as she felt his place was with the Waverider but he told her that his place was to be with her. Amaya then decided to stick around with the team for a bit longer as her destiny could still wait for her. The team then decided to celebrate by going to Aruba per Rory's request but before they could arrive, they were hit with another time storm. They arrived in Los Angeles, 2017, to find that the past, present and future were all jumbled together as a result of them interacting with themselves.
As the Legends tried to figure out how to fix the now disheveled timeline, they were nearly attacked by a dinosaur only for it to run into a portal leading back to its own time period. Various portals soon opened up with Rip himself stepping out of one to explain to the group that their services were no longer needed as Rip revealed to them that in the time that he had left (15 minutes for the team; 5 years for him) that he had established the Time Bureau, a more organized and professional organization able to fix anachronisms without the extra damage the Legends usually caused, and relieved them of their duties along with the Waverider. Nate and Amaya decided to settle down in Central City and he helped Team Flash out as a vigilante, becoming in his own words the "second most famous hero in Central City". However, soon after settling down, Amaya left him on his birthday to see her granddaughter in person, which eventually led her to go to Rip, asking him to take her back to 1942, for which Nate resented her. After this incident, Nate started using dating apps.
When Sara contacted him and Ray about Mick running into Julius Caesar in Aruba, they agreed to find the Time Bureau to see about returning to their old time traveling lives. The three of them found the bureau but were greeted with hostility when they arrived. Rip arrived to quell the hostility, but Nate quickly grabbed him and angrily demanded that Rip tell him if he was the one to convince Amaya to return to 1942. He told him that it was Amaya who came to him and asked to return.
Shortly after, they were kicked out of the Time Bureau headquarters after Mick caused chaos by picking a fight with who he thought was Julius Caesar, but in reality was a tourist. After witnessing Mick force out a Roman Aereus from a vending machine, they realized that he was telling the truth about seeing Caesar. With this in mind, they stole the Waverider and reunited the Legends, sans Amaya, whom Nate refused to see.
After traveling to Aruba and capturing Caesar, the Legends made the decision to return to 1942 on their own. However, when Nate took a selfie with Caesar, he inadvertently allowed Caesar to steal his history book on Rome, allowing Caesar to learn about the future and allowing him to conquer the entire world. The Time Bureau arrived before the Legends could act however, and attempted to take over the operation only for Agent Sharpe to be captured and the operation to end in abject failure. After some persuasion, Rip allowed Nate and the Legends to finish the job, and Nate and Ray retrieved the book successfully: thereby setting history back on its proper course.
After their mission, Nate was in the library staring at Amaya's file when Ray came in, asking if he was okay. Nate confessed that he was thinking about her but admitted that he was glad to be back on the Waverider, which Ray commented was their home. Nate decided that he was happy if Amaya was. However, neither Nate nor Ray realized the trouble Amaya was actually going through with her totem.
Return to time travel
After Nate, Ray and Jax reverse engineered stolen Time Bureau technology to track anachronisms, the Legends settled on a Level One anachronism in 1870 Wisconsin, specifically P.T. Barnum's fledgling circus. After some digging, Nate, Jax and Ray found the anachronism, which turned out to be a sabertooth tiger. Upon attempting to contain it however, they inadvertently enlarged the tiger and allowed it to escape its enclosure. Knowing that none of the Legends had handled animals, Sara sought out Amaya, much to Nate's displeasure.
Frustrated, Nate went with Ray and Jax to a nearby bar for drinks, during which Nate revealed his powers to P.T. Barnum in a bar fight. When asked by P.T. Barnum regarding his abilities, a drunken Nate revealed the abilities of Jax, Ray and Amaya. After Barnum offered to give them a "private show", a cover for his kidnapping them for the circus, Nate declined in order to talk to Amaya, but ended up passing out in the cargo bay, where he was found by Sara, Mick and Amaya. After finding Ray and Jax dressed as conjoined twins in the circus tent, Nate and Amaya attempted to free them, but were in turn captured by Barnum's troupe. While in captivity, Nate expressed how mad he was at Amaya for leaving him on his birthday to go back to Zambesi. Amaya revealed to Nate that she had gone to Detroit to see Mari first before going to Rip to send her back to 1942 to prevent Mari from disappearing.
When the crowd began to lose interest in the performance, Barnum coerced Nate into "steeling up" by threatening first him, then Amaya. Barnum then shot Nate multiple times despite Nate's protests, angering Amaya to the point where she attacked Barnum, driving him out of the tent. Before she could kill him, however, Nate talked her out of it, reminding Amaya about her past with the JSA. They made their way back to the Waverider, where Amaya revealed to the Legends her lack of control over her powers.
Fight against Mallus
Joining the Time Bureau
After helping defeat the Legends' first fugitive, a demonic unicorn, Nate traveled to present-day Washington D.C. to begin what he called "Operation Dinner with Dad". While eating out with his father, Nate belatedly realized that as a Legend, he had no money, so he sneaked into the Time Bureau headquarters to spend the night and ran into Ava Sharpe. Ava recruited him, as well as Gary Green, for help in convincing the Department of Defense to give her extra funding so that the Bureau could address the fugitives, but Nate discovered with horror that the person they had to convince was Hank himself. Nate stayed behind while Ava and Gary spoke to Hank and presented the evidence of Gary's unicorn-bitten nipple, but Hank shut them down, saying that he needed better proof. Ava found Nate and gave him a pep talk and convinced him to return to the Waverider in search of better proof. This proof came in the form of Ray and Mick, who had been turned into pigs by the Fairy Godmother. Nate interpreted Ray's grunts as the latter explained the situation to him and agreed to go to the Bureau as proof of magic. Carrying Ray in his suit jacket, Nate approached his father and presented Ray, but nothing happened. Nate continuously raised Ray in the air, pleading him to turn back into a human. Eventually, when the Fairy Godmother was released by her host, her spell on Ray was reversed, causing him to spontaneously turn human in Nate's arms and forcing Nate to reveal his powers to Hank in order to keep his hold on Ray. However, this convinced Hank to give Ava the $4.2 billion she needed to work on the fugitives.
Later, after making plans for another meal with Hank and describing his travels with the Legends, Nate celebrated his victory with Ava and told her that he was always happy to help. Ava replied that she could use his help in the Bureau and help him get some income in the process. When Nate hesitated, she left him alone to think about her job offer. After getting new clothes, Ray met up with Nate so that they could travel back home by time courier. Nate announced that he would remain in the present temporarily to accept Ava's offer, work at the Time Bureau, and continue to reconnect with Hank, but he promised that they would "see him for the next one". The two hugged goodbye while exchanging playful slaps, and after a final glance, Ray returned to the Waverider alone, leaving Nate behind in 2018.
Nate later told Sara about his decision and revealed that other than his father, the real reason he was taking a leave of absence was that being on the Waverider made him think of his ex-lover Amaya, but he was over it. Because of this, Sara decided not to tell him about Charlie, a new fugitive whom John Constantine had trapped in the appearance of Amaya, as planned and instead told him that she liked to watch him grow and maybe the break would be good for him. Just then, Ava came in, Nate quickly left the room, and the two women went on a date.
On Thanksgiving, Nate and Ava planned to take the day off and attend the Heywoods' Thanksgiving dinner, as Nate could keep connecting with Hank and Ava didn't have a family to celebrate with. Nate arrived and introduced Ava to his mother, uncle, and cousins before they revealed that dinner would not be ready for about 6 hours. Exasperated, Nate and Ava drank during the long wait. At the same time, Gary, who was left in charge during Ava's day off, received food from his friend Mona, whom he invited to eat with him. As Gary and Mona were preparing, a Baba Yaga, a Chupacabra, and a Kaupe that were being incapacitated by the Bureau woke up from their tranquilizers and escaped, wreaking havoc. Gary called Nate, who had Ava distract Hank while he went to help Gary and Mona. Nate quickly deduced that they were starving. Mona rattled off the foods that each creature liked before escaping to go find them. Meanwhile, Hank soon realized that something was wrong and forced Ava to portal him to the Bureau and find his son. Hank and Ava arrived just as Mona returned with the food, which the fugitives eagerly ate. Nate and Gary updated them on the situation and praised Mona, who was later hired as the Bureau's official creature handler.
Hank complimented Mona and told Nate that they both had a similar eye for talent. Nate realized that his experience must have been how Hank felt when he left family gatherings, but Hank admitted that he partially did it to escape from the house. Nate playfully called him an "old so-and-so" as Ava joined them so that they could return to the Thanksgiving dinner. The three arrived just as dinner was ready, and Nate began to cut the turkey. However, Hank's phone rang, and Nate dismissed him so he could take the call. Hank went into a private room and told an unknown individual that the fugitives were controllable, and "Project Hades" was go.
Nate was working one day when his father came up to him, complaining about the deficits that had been caused by the Legends. Nate offered to take him aboard the Waverider to see what the Legends did and prove that their efforts were worth the high deficit. Though Ray was very excited to see him and vice versa, Nate was surprised to find John Constantine living in his library, Gideon with a new look made by Zari, and "Amaya", who turned out to be Charlie and slapped him when he tried to embrace her. Ray and Sara filled Nate in on the situation but the three raced out after realizing they'd left Hank with John and Mick, leaving an annoyed Charlie alone. Nate, Sara, Hank, and Mick went to the Cafe du Dome to talk with some of the locals, including both Heywoods' idols, Ernest Hemingway (Hank) and Salvador Dalí (Nate). Nate and Mick approached Dali and listened to his story of the fugitive. Nate had Dali draw him a picture as Sara and Mick supervised Hank, who was busy hanging out with Hemingway.
While questioning the locals, Nate ran into Charlie, who asked if he was lost. Nate snapped that he didn't need directions from her, but Charlie reminded him that regardless of what happened with Amaya, he shouldn't let it out on her. The two were approached by F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, exciting Nate. Charlie told them that she and Nate were not a couple, but the Fitzgeralds insisted on taking them for drinks. Nate reluctantly let Charlie pull him after them. The four of them settled down in a restaurant and discussed the Minotaur. Charlie interrupted the Fitzgeralds with the fugitives' side of the story: the Minotaur had been rejected by his father, and he had chosen to stay in the maze in order to avoid the problems. Nate realized that Charlie's myth applied to him, abruptly leaving to find a way to stop the Minotaur peacefully. Just then, Sara and Mick returned with Hank, who had been injured by the Minotaur. Gideon sedated Hank, and Nate and Sara left to work on stopping the Minotaur. Nate eventually remembered the story of Daedalus's lute, which had been used in mythology to lull the Minotaur to sleep. Hank, who had been healed, complained at the plan and tried to get Sara to back him up, but Sara supported Nate, saying that his benevolent approach to the fugitives made him a Legend, no matter where he was. Nate, Hank and the Legends (save Zari and Charlie) headed back to Paris, where Nate brought and began to play a lute for the Minotaur. Unfortunately, he failed and was smacked across the room by the creature. However, Hank retrieved a guitar and began to sing a James Taylor song, and to everyone's surprise, Hank's music was enough to sedate the Minotaur, causing the latter to pass out on the spot.
After everyone had switched to casual clothes, Hank told Nate and Sara that the mission was messy but fun, and he now understood the Legends' purpose. Nate opened a portal for his father to return to the Bureau headquarters, leaving him alone with Sara. Nate admitted that at this point, being a Legend felt like "the old days", and Sara joked that they of all people should know how confusing time is. Nate said that he loved the Legends, but he now belonged at the Bureau. Sara understood, telling him that she was proud of him and sending him off to do his "adult thing". The two were about to hug goodbye, but Sara suddenly asked if he was in a rush. They headed to the galley, where the Legends threw a pizza party that Nate had suggested earlier. Nate distributed beer while rattling off suggestions to make the Waverider more fun, such as softball, piñatas, and unionizing. He then comforted a miserable Ray, saying that he would always be in his friend's heart and the Legends could visit him anytime at the Bureau. Nate told the Legends that he had boarded the Waverider trying to run from his problems at home, but being with them had shaped him into the man he needed to be and made him realize that he didn't have to run anymore. Nate then called for a toast, reminding the Legends that they never knew when their journey would end, so they should all "enjoy the ride while it lasts". He moved aside to speak to Charlie, telling her that because he had found his place with the Legends, he knew that she would too. The two new friends shared another toast as the Waverider flew away.
The destroyed timeline
On one of his first days of full-time Bureau work, Nate ran into Gary, who was attempting to flirt with Mona. Gary made terrible pirate jokes, and Mona eventually left him behind. Nate approached Gary and scolded him for following such misogynistic dating advice. Gary asked Nate to help him ask Mona out, but Nate said that they weren't in high school. Realizing that "high school" was a trigger phrase for Gary, Nate changed his mind and reluctantly agreed to be Gary's "time bro wingman". He later approached Mona, who revealed that she had a crush on one of her coworkers. Mona was afraid that she would lose her job if he confessed her feelings, but Nate told her that he would personally ensure that Ava would not fire her for following her heart, adding, "Carpe datum!" Mona left to confess her feelings, exciting Gary. However, neither of the boys realized that Mona's actual crush was Konane, one of her fugitive clients.
During these events, Constantine had gone back in time in an attempt to save the life of his ex-boyfriend Desmond by breaking up with the latter before he could become attached to Constantine. His actions caused a giant temporal explosion of light that struck the entire timeline, including the Time Bureau headquarters. Nate was unseen during the events, but he was presumably frozen in time, along with other employees such as Mona, as the new timeline settled in.
When Constantine's joining the Legends was erased from the timeline, Nate's retirement from the team was erased as well, making him a prime victim of the new timeline. Constantine and Charlie's attempts to fix the timeline left him once the leader of the Custodians of the Chronology, once a Puppet of Tomorrow, and twice murdered by fugitives. Eventually, after restoring Nate's status as a living Bureau agent, Charlie distracted Sara while Constantine undid the events that had started the first temporal explosion, triggering a second one that restored the correct timeline.
Rejoining the Legends and relationship with Zari
A while after Nate's encounter with Neron in the Bureau headquarters, Nate and Zari were sent on a mission by Sara and Ava, who were attempting to set the two up, to find a golden egg in the 1930s. They decided to gather the remaining reinforcements on the Waverider, and Nate went to get Ray, who was acting strange. Nate wanted Ray to be his wingman, but he suddenly remembered Nora, who was in a coma, and apologized for being a bad friend. They attempted to hug it out, but Ray's hand suddenly began to snap Nate's neck. Confused, Nate left for the mission with Zari. As they went, they began to realize that Sara had set them up for their first date by giving them an easy mission under the aliases of the Indiana Jones main couple. Suddenly, they were attacked and captured by Nazis, which they assumed was also part of Sara's plan. However, when they contacted Sara, she told them that the Nazis weren't supposed to be there.
Nate and Zari fought off the Nazis and escaped their bonds. They went in for a kiss until they were joined by Sara and Ava, who were thrilled that they had successfully hooked them up. They belatedly realized that Ray was supposed to be tracking Nate and Zari, but he hadn't been in touch with them. Nate contacted Ray, who told them not to enter the ship under any circumstances. Confused, they decided to split up, with Nate checking on Ray while Sara and Ava took over for him. Nate apologized to Zari for their failed first date before heading to the Waverider. Ray appeared, explaining that his hand had been possessed, but Nate initially doubted him until Neron summoned a meat knife. Ray begged Nate to leave before Neron killed him, but Nate refused, saying that he believed Ray was stronger than the demon. Ray successfully dropped the knife, but Neron took over Ray's body and pinned Nate to the floor, punching him bloody and unconscious. Ray finally allowed Neron to possess him completely in exchange for Nate's life, and Neron left Nate crumpled in the galley. Nate eventually made his way to the bridge, where he broke the news of Ray's fate to Zari, Sara, and Ava.
Nate was in the med bay, healing while struggling to locate Ray, when Zari came in to check on him. As Zari examined his injuries, she told him that she often didn't openly express her feelings but gave him a kiss, saying that that was how she felt. Nate confessed that he felt the same and was about to kiss her back when the golden egg, which Zari had retrieved, started moving. Gideon then revealed the creature inside the egg was a dragon.
Nate was killed along with the other inhabitants of Earth-1 when the multiverse was destroyed by a wave of anti-matter. However, he was revived on Earth-Prime when Oliver Queen and the Paragons rebooted the multiverse. Later, he was on the Waverider with Ava Sharpe when he learnt that Sara was shanghaied to another crossover without them.
Meeting the new Zari
Nate travelled to 2044 with Behrad Tarazi to attend the latter's father's birthday and to meet the mystery woman in the video, who he learned was named Zari, a social media influencer and the former "Dragon Girl". He tried to make her remember something from their time in the Waverider, but Zari misconstrued it as Nate trying to hit on her, to which she caught on, before being interrupted by Behrad. Zari later realized who Nate is after remembering re-watching a video of him and Behrad at Heyworld, and tried to tell the truth to their parents, before Behrad portalled her to the Waverider to keep her mouth shut.
A few weeks later, Ray got married to Nora Darhk, during which Nate walked Ray down the aisle and presumably served as best man. After the Legends' next mission, Nate, the other male Legends, and Charlie decided to throw Ray a late bachelor party in Victorian London, but they all got drunk and caused a bar fight. They revealed their powers, not realizing that William Shakespeare had been watching them, which changed Romeo and Juliet from a romantic tragedy to a superhero novel and interrupted Nora's bachelorette party. The Legends returned to London to convince Shakespeare to fix his play, but Nate overheard a conversation with Shakespeare in which Ray revealed that he was leaving the Legends. Upset about not hearing it from him directly, Nate lashed out at Ray, called off their friendship, and told him to leave right away. Sara attempted to talk about it with him, but he refused.
Later, the Legends decided that the only way to fix history was to perform Romeo and Juliet themselves. Nate, as Juliet, began to act out the balcony scene with Constantine as Romeo, but he suddenly realized how poorly he'd acted and ran backstage. After getting a pep talk and an understudy out of Zari, Nate tore off his drag and rushed back to the Waverider to see Ray off before it was too late. He apologized to Ray for his behavior and assured him that he was still happy for him and Nora. Ray responded by telling Nate that he wished that everything and nothing could change at the same time. After exchanging a final "I love you", the two tearfully shared a long hug before Ray and Nora departed from the Waverider.
Sara later found Nate alone on the bridge, and they discussed how friendship starts because you need each other, but you need each other less if you do it right. Sara offered to be there for Nate, and they attempted a bro hug. Unable to sleep that night, Sara and Nate met up again in the galley, joined by the rest of the Legends minus Constantine. After they all poured glasses of Ray's favorite green juice, Nate led a toast to Ray for teaching him how to be a better friend by being better than he deserved.
- "First time in my adult life, I told my dad I love him. Years of therapy couldn't even get me to do that. Hey, speaking of, I love you so big. I love you so big. I love you so big."
- —Nate Heywood to the Legends[src]
Nate is an easily excitable individual, with great passion for his work and a tendency to ramble off when describing his findings or hypotheses, clashing in character with the no-nonsense attitude of Oliver Queen. Nate is altruistic, ready to go and save a team of complete strangers at the bat of an eye, just because he noticed something terrible might have happened to them in a certain period of history. He is also brave, risking his skin to get help from Oliver and revealing to the vigilante's face that he knew Oliver's secret identity. Nate is resourceful as well, securing both human resources (Oliver's help) and relevant historical artifacts to help him locate the Legends throughout time.
Despite calling himself a "time detective", Nate is awed and humbled by the concept of time travel, at first refusing the call, saying that he only intended to go on a salvage mission, before being persuaded by Oliver that this adventure is something Nate had been waiting for his entire life. He also experienced a nerdy thrill the first time he traveled in time, similar to that expressed by Ray Palmer and Professor Stein when they first time traveled and later, Cisco Ramon and Felicity Smoak. His adoration of time travel is further shown when he looks with awe at Einstein's speech, commenting on how he can't believe the Legends, him included, had just changed history. However, it is seen that traveling to the future makes him uncomfortable as it's too uncertain and his historical knowledge is of little use. It also frustrates him when he encounters something that history has regarded as legend or fabrication but turns out to be true such as the legends of Camelot, though in that case it was partially a case of a time traveler changing history according to the legend retroactively.
Throughout his life, Nate suffered from his hemophilia, spending half of his childhood in a hospital and never leaving home until he went off to college at the age of 16. Sheltered at home and unable to make his own decisions, Nate longed for a life as an adult, where he took the choice to go on an adventure as soon as one came up. Brave and dedicated, he refused to agree with Sara's suggestion to have him leave the Waverider in fear for his safety. Instead, Nate risked his life for the team and the Justice Society of America, ending up on the verge of death, but recovered after Ray injected him with a dose of Eobard Thawne's biomolecular enhancer that Ray's modified to drastically increase his strength, as well as grant him accelerated healing and enhanced durability.
After gaining powers due to the enhancer, Nate showed even more childlike excitement, testing out his strength against that of Ray's A.T.O.M. Exosuit rather recklessly, ending up with a damaged timeship and two time travelers freefalling through the Temporal Zone. Arriving to Medieval Japan, Nate immediately recognized the time period, claiming it to be awesome, before passing out. Despite being a historian and trying to make his story of a "gaijin merchant" to Masako Yamashiro seem believable, he ended up blundering when he referenced the United States, before realizing those weren't supposed to exist yet. Nate also shown himself to be a fan of popular fiction, referencing the fictional "Master Yoda" when listening to Masako's advice, further confusing her. During his stay with the Yamashiro family, Nate showed both a flirtatious side in his interactions with Masako, and, once again, his altruism when trying to protect her and the village's freedom from the Shogun's Samurai. Despite his infatuation with Masako, Nate agreed with her pragmatic response regarding their possible relationship: as a time traveler, he could not stay with her. He also was willing to kill in battle, as he personally took the life of Tokugawa Iemitsu when he destroyed the A.T.O.M. Exosuit Tokugwa was wearing.
Nate is courageous and willing to try new things for a good cause. When the Legends visited Liberty, Colorado in 1874, Nate stopped a train containing a large amount of dwarf star alloy that Quentin Turnbull was using to create his own country. Nate stood in front of the train and, using his steel powers, pushed against it until it came to a stop. This ultimately fixed the time aberration.
After the Legends went their separate ways when Rip disbanded the team, he went off and worked with Team Flash in Central City, forming a bond with Wally West. The two shared similar backgrounds with formerly-absentee fathers, similar stories of accidental powers, and similar personalities when it came to being heroes, thus giving them much in common.
Possibly because of his lack of paternal care growing up, Nate has shown to have somewhat parental instincts. When he and Zari recovered a dragon egg from the 1930s, Nate quickly began researching and applying the best ways to care for eggs and babies, even going so far as giving the dragon a name, playing classical music, installing a space-heated incubator, and carrying the egg on his chest when the incubator was powered off. Both Nate and Zari even hesitated to loosen up in their relationship until Nate realized that intimacy would generate extra body heat for the egg. They also made sure to secure the egg while the Waverider was in flight.
- "This sucks... but I love you."
- "This totally sucks... but I love you, too."
- —Nate Heywood and Ray Palmer's last words to each other[src]
Nate is approachable and friendly, able to easily bond and make friends with all of his fellow Legends. He has grown especially close to Ray, forming a strong friendship to the point that Nate was even able to hold a naked Ray without being flustered and was the loved one that Neron chose to pursue while attempting to possess Ray. Sara has remarked on their bromance and "sibling rivalry", and they have exchanged hugs, high fives, chest bumps, cheek kisses, and even a forehead touch on one occasion. Nate was also the first person to whom Ray confessed his feelings for Nora Darhk, implying that they trust each other with their secrets. Nate has shown to be protective of Ray to a degree; he did everything in his power to stop Ray from risking his life in Camelot and panicked when he thought he had failed. This protectiveness has been returned by Ray, who sat with Nate in the med bay after the latter's first injury in battle and showed extra concern whenever he heard Nate's urgent voice on comm or discovered that Nate had not been sleeping well. Their friendship has even saved Nate's life: when Nate's anger was about to drive him into becoming a vessel for Neron, Ray immediately went after Nate even as the latter punched him in the face, and Nate's guilt from hurting Ray was enough for him to regain control. Ray eventually gave Neron his body in exchange for Nate's life, inspiring Nate to rejoin the Legends in Ray's honor. Nate later died to return Ray's soul, and Ray, along with the rest of the Legends, channeled love into Tabitha's staff to bring him back. After being resurrected, Nate continued to support Ray and his relationship with Nora (despite his fear that it was rushed) and eventually had the honor of being Ray's best man at their wedding. Nate was the most impacted by Ray's departure from the Legends and misses him dearly.
Powers and abilities
- "You injected me with Nazi serum?"
- "Which I redesigned to quintuple my own strength and transform my skin into an alloy a hundred times stronger than steel."
- —Nate Heywood and Ray Palmer[src]
- Meta-human physiology: As a result of Thawne's biomolecular enhancer, Nate's DNA cells were altered, augmenting his physiology to access his powers.
- Organic steel transformation: As a result of Eobard Thawne's biomolecular enhancer that Ray Palmer altered and injected into him, Nate gained the ability to transform his entire body into steel, though Ray claims that it is actually an organic form of alloy. In this state, his body increases somewhat in height and build. Despite being entirely constituted of steel in his altered state, Nate appears to retain his normal level of mobility, leaving his agility unhindered.
- Accelerated healing factor: A bonus effect of the biomolecular enhancer cured Nate's hemophilia. To which, Nate's enhanced body is able to recover from injuries much faster than a normal person. Even a direct hit to his chest by the A.T.O.M. Exosuit's blasters only knocked him out for a minute before he somewhat recovered shortly afterwards. Upon transforming, any injuries his body has sustained fully heal immediately.
- Superhuman durability: Nate is far more durable than any normal human, approximately 100 times stronger than steel, according to Ray. This makes him extremely resistant to injury from low to high-caliber bullets, landmines, knives and even ion blasts from Ray's A.T.O.M. Exosuit and super-accelerated hits from the Reverse-Flash. He could also survive falls from great heights, such as when he fell from the Temporal zone, through the skies, and eventually crashed into solid ground in Feudal Japan while showing no physical injury. Nate's durability is not without limits, as he can be affected by bullets or any weapons molded from Dwarf star alloy and possibly any metal/steel strong enough to penetrate his body.
- Superhuman strength: Nate is far stronger than any normal human; Ray stated his physical being quintupled from its normal level, however it seems to actually be much more. He was able to overpower Vixen, who was channeling the spiritual might of a gorilla, with ease and go toe-to-toe against Ray and his A.T.O.M. Exosuit. He is strong enough to lift and fling a full-grown man and even a Dominator like a rag doll, also knocking one out with a single punch (whereas Supergirl had a certain difficulty doing so). His strength was further tested when he tried to stop a train carrying eight boxcars of Dwarf star alloy, which was moving at full speed and was able to slow it's momentum until it completely stopped in its tracks, equaling to 320 tons total including the locomotive. He also has a higher-than-average level of strength in human form, though still at a human level.
- Timeline change/Reality alteration awareness: Nate seems to be able to sense changes in the timeline or reality itself, as shown when he detected changes to the past, such as New York City being nuked by Nazis in 1942, causing World War II to last until 1947, and when the Legion of Doom changed reality using the Spear of Destiny, he knew someone had "operated" on reality. However, this still has its limits, as when Zari Tarazi's past was rewritten, Nate knew something was missing but didn't know what it was and eventually dismissed it.
- Organic steel transformation: As a result of Eobard Thawne's biomolecular enhancer that Ray Palmer altered and injected into him, Nate gained the ability to transform his entire body into steel, though Ray claims that it is actually an organic form of alloy. In this state, his body increases somewhat in height and build. Despite being entirely constituted of steel in his altered state, Nate appears to retain his normal level of mobility, leaving his agility unhindered.
- Earth Totem: This totem allows its user to control the Earth. When battling Mallus, Nate wielded the totem, tapping into its Earth-based powers. After the demon was defeated once and for all, this totem, along with the Spirit, Water, Fire, and Death totems, was returned to Zambesi.
- Geokinesis: The totem allows its user to manipulate stone, soil, and shape and affect it in any conceivable way. Nate used this totem to create powerful waves of rolling earth as a projectile weapon.
- Totem connection: The totem connects to other totems when in the presence of them or from a far and can also let the other users know if a totem bearer has died.
- "I'm a historian. I specialize in deductive historical reconstruction. In layman's terms, I'm a time detective, which I really don't have to be to look at a calendar to see one week after you came to this city, Robin Hood showed up."
- —Nate Heywood to Oliver Queen[src]
- Genius-level intellect/Master historian/Master investigator: Nate is a very intelligent individual, being a highly accomplished and resourceful historian, priding himself on deduction. With his deduction skills and extensive work with sources, Nate deduced the identities of Green Arrow and Rip Hunter's Legends, as well as the locations of time-scattered members of the Legends throughout history. Nate is very observant and sharp-witted, able to recognize that the timeline was starting to change due to aberrations, despite previously not being acquainted with the mechanics of time travel. He immediately thought to bring his findings to Oliver, Green Arrow and mayor of Star City, requesting assistance with saving the them. Nate's talents for deductive reasoning and analysis proved their worth even in the Legion of Doom's rewritten reality, where he soon realized how the world had been unnaturally altered.
- Animal care/interpretation: For unknown reasons, Nate was able to perfectly understand Ray's grunts and snorts when the latter was turned into a pig. He also knew how to take care of pig-Ray and hold him comfortably while escorting him to the Time Bureau.
- Expert engineer: Nate has been proven to be highly trained with machinery. After learning about how time travel works, he was able to design an alarm system to detect aberrations in the timeline.
- Multilingualism: Nate is fluent in English, German, French, Japanese, Italian, and Latin.
- Musical acumen: Nate seems to have some musical skills, at least in guitar-like instruments. During his final mission before his leave of absence, he played a lute in an attempt to lull the minotaur to sleep, which would have succeeded had he not been attacked by the creature. Nate also seems to be a decent singer, as he performed many songs with Ray and Sara as the Puppets of Tomorrow in an alternate timeline.
- Skilled hand-to-hand combatant/Brawler: Since joining the Legends, Nate has begun sparring with his companions (especially with Ray) to better his combat skills. Despite not being as skilled as other Legends such as Sara Lance, Mick Rory and Amaya Jiwe, Nate can hold his own in a fistfight, partly because of his powers. Nate's style of fighting is mostly that of a brawler mixed with basic boxing, which he most likely learned from Ray. Nate was also able to briefly overpower Malcolm Merlyn, using his steel powers before pushing him back.
- Drawing/Sketch artist: Nate is proven to be a decent sketch artist, drawing accurate sketches of the Askaran Amulet from memory, as well as designing the "Steel" suit himself.
- Acrobatics: Nate was able to successfully escape and evade a number of security guards on his quest to reach mayor Oliver Queen. He was also flexible enough to successfully maneuver through a course of trip wires without getting hurt.
- Acting: Nate is a decent actor. He briefly portrayed Juliet in the Legends' production of Romeo and Juliet, only having to stop because he was overwhelmed after getting in a fight with Ray.
- Dwarf star: Although Nate is able to easily deflect normal bullets without getting affected, he was once shot with bullets laced with dwarf star, nearly costing him his life.
- Emotional state: While Nate's new powers make him very strong, his ability to access and maintain them are all dependent on his focus and emotional drive. If too careless, he could end up leaving himself completely vulnerable.
- Tranquilizing drugs: Tranquilizing drugs can temporarily disable Nate's ability to access his powers. This was first demonstrated when Nate, Amaya, and Mick traveled to 1951, to the first time the Dominators invaded Earth to try to find out why the aliens returned in 2016, and Smith's NSA agents knocked the trio out with tranquilizing darts. When he came to, Nate stated that whatever drug it was they'd been injected with was preventing him from accessing his powers. This was also shown when Nate was drugged and abducted from the streets of London in 1895 when attempting to draw out what he and his team, at the time, believed to be an anachronistic vampire. When Nate awoke sometime later and found himself strapped to a table in what appeared to be an operating room, he found that whatever he'd been "roofied with" was preventing him from using his powers, making it impossible for him to attempt to escape.
- Reality alteration: After the Legion of Doom used the Spear of Destiny to rewrite reality, even after Nate managed to remember reality as it had been before the Legion used the Spear, he was unable to use his powers.
- Extreme force: When the Legends traveled to 1916 for the second time in an attempt to stop the Legion of Doom from ever getting a chance to use the Spear of Destiny, in the battle that followed, Eobard hit the present version of Nate (who hadn't lost his powers when the Legion of Doom altered reality) at super speed, which, in spite of Nate being in his steel form, was enough to knock him to the ground.
- Reaction time: If Nate does not anticipate a physical attack, he can be subdued before getting the chance to access his powers. This has been done by Tokugawa Iemitsu, Dick Rory, Ray, and Neron.
- Hemophilia: Nate was born with a condition where his blood doesn't clot properly, severely diminishing his healing rate. He could easily bleed to death from any injury, even a simply cut. However, after being injected with Eobard Thawne's biomolecular enhancer, which Ray Palmer had modified, Nate's condition was permanently cured.
- Steel suit: After rebuilding his A.T.O.M. exosuit using the dwarf star alloy savaged from the Old West, Ray Palmer realized there was still a lot of unused ore. Using Nate's sketch as concept, Ray created a suit for Nate using some of the leftover alloy.
- Earth Totem: Nate wielded the Earth Totem in the Legends' fight against the demon Mallus. After Mallus was defeated, the totem was given to Kuasa and returned to Zambesi.
- Steel suit: Nate uses a protective suit as the superhero Steel.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
- Like Tony Woodward, Nate retains his ability to speak while in his steel form.
- During the Legends' mission to 1874, Nate referred to himself as "the man of steel", referencing Superman's well-known moniker. This is a third reference to that title, after Eobard Thawne referred to Tony Woodward as such, and Rip Hunter described Vandal Savage as having defeated "men of steel".
- Nate is the 13th character in the Arrowverse to have an episode named after him in a civilian sense in some way, after Sara Lance, Felicity Smoak, Harrison Wells, Oliver Queen, Alex Danvers, Zari Tarazi, Harry Wells, Iris West-Allen, Winn Schott, Ava Sharpe, Nora West-Allen, and Gary Green.
- Nate is the fifth major character in the Arrowverse to be brought back from the dead at some point without any means of time travel after Sara Lance, Kuasa, Damien Darhk, and Otis Graves.
- He is also the fourth to be resurrected by means of magic.
- He has ophidiophobia, a fear of snakes.
- Nate listens to loud music and drinks a lot of coffee when he needs to think.
- Nate has had three love interests so far; Masako Yamashiro, Amaya Jiwe, and Zari Tarazi.
- Ironically, none of the women were from the present at the time of Nate's interest in them.
- Nate is best friends with Ray Palmer.
- According to Ray, the two watch Patrick Swayze movies together between missions and enjoy pairing up for the buddy system.
- Both men often wear a wristwatch on their left arm.
- At some point, they took a photo together, which Ray keeps in a frame.
- Every episode on the week of Halloween thus far has had some significance towards their friendship.
- In "" (October 27, 2016), they teamed up for the first time to take down Tokugawa Iemitsu and became friends.
- In "" (October 31, 2017), they shared their first on-screen hug, and Nate comforted Ray upon the latter discovering the truth about his childhood "friends".
- In "" (October 28, 2018), the two parted ways after pairing up for a mission with the Time Bureau.
- Like Ray, Nate is secretly a "brony", being a fan of the TV show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
- Nate has admitted that he loves Ray, Sara, and Mick Rory like family, a feeling returned by Ray. Interestingly, Sara and Mick are the only two Legends to be present for all of Nate's time on the team.
- Mick's nickname for him is "Pretty".
- Despite being 6 feet tall, Nate is the second shortest major male character in Season 4, tied with Gary. Hank Heywood was 6'3", Ray is 6'2", and Mick is 6'1". The only major male character shorter than Nate this season is John Constantine, who is 5'11".
- In an interview with The London Reporter, Nate revealed that he doesn't like wearing his Steel cowl.
Behind the scenes
- In the DC comics, Nathaniel Heywood is a superhero and a member of the present-day Justice Society of America known as Citizen Steel. Though his powers are slightly different. he wears a similar suit. Like his television counterpart, he is the grandson of Golden Age hero Commander Steel/Henry Heywood.
- In the comics, Nathaniel's cousin, Henry Heywood III was the superhero Steel. Unlike Nathaniel, he was a cyborg rather than a meta-human. He was killed alongside Vibe by Professor Ivo decades before Nathaniel became a superhero.
- Additionally, in the comics, there is another Steel, John Henry Irons. He is a separate superhero who uses a metallic exoskeleton fighting crime as a member of Team Superman. Nate Heywood using his powers on the show are close to the looks of this Steel's metallic exosuit, as well as 's Girder. Nate's Steel suit is closest to his comic counterpart's Citizen Steel suit, however.
- Nate was called a "Star-spangled idiot" by Mick Rory when wearing his armor for the first time, possibly referencing the Star-Spangled Kid, a Golden Age superhero and the predecessor of Stargirl.
- Despite the fact that Nate refers to his superhero identity as simply "Steel" in the show, he is referred to as "Citizen Steel" in interviews, promotional material, and concept art.
- However, shortly after gaining his powers, Nate did suggest "Citizen Steel" as a potential nickname for himself.