- "The name's Rip Hunter. I'm from East London. Oh, and the future."
- —Rip Hunter to his soon-to-be team[src]
Michael lived in poverty on the streets, becoming a cutpurse by his fifth birthday, before he got recruited as a Time Master and sent to the Refuge.
At some point during his childhood, his older self brought the younger versions of his team to stay there to protect them from The Pilgrim. As part of a ploy by his older self, knowing his childhood disposition, Michael was used as bait in a prisoner exchange, where he stabbed the Pilgrim in the leg with a knife, giving his adult self's team the opportunity they needed to defeat her.
Eventually Michael joined the Time Masters but as per their code had his named changed to "Rip Hunter", to avoid any enemies from targeting Michael's ancestors thus erasing his existance.
Against the Time Masters' code forbidding relationships, Rip had a wife and a son named Jonas, who were both killed by the immortal dictator Vandal Savage in the year 2166, a largely dystopian era. This motivated Rip to request his fellow Time Masters for action to undo Vandal's tyranny. When his pleas fell on deaf ears, he chose to go rogue, stealing the timeship, the Waverider, and its onboard AI, Gideon, and traveled back to the year 2016 to recruit a team of people considered unimportant to the timeline. He went on to recruit scientist and superhero Ray Palmer, the assassin Sara Lance, the Metahuman duo of Firestorm, Martin Stein and Jefferson Jackson,the reincarnations of Prince Khufu and Priestess Chay-Ara, and the criminal duo Leonard Snart and Mick Rory.
Gathering them up on a rooftop, Hunter explained to them the danger of Vandal Savage. To further convince them to help, Hunter lied and said that in his future they were regarded as Legends. He then proceeded to tell them that if they wanted to help to meet him at a specific location in thirty six hours. Much to his pleasure, they all arrived and Hunter welcomed them onboard his ship. He then explained to them that to track down and destroy Savage before he destroys humanity and time itself, they must go to the only one who is an expert on Savage: Aldus Boardman. Arriving in the year 1975, Hunter brought with him Ray, Stein, and Kendra and Carter , claiming he did not need the skill sets of Leonard, Mick, or Sara. Arriving at St. Roch University, the group confronted Boardman, who recognize Kendra and Carter as his reincarnated mother and father . Boardman then explained to them that Savage spent his years causing war and numerous other atrocities all over the world to keep his anominity. He proceeded to give them a journal detailing all the information he had on Savage. Suddenly, Rip got an alert from Gideon that the Waverider was under attack. However, Kendra and Carter were unwilling to leave their son behind and demanded he come with them, disregarding Hunter's protests. Arriving at the Waverider, Hunter found the ship under attack by Chronos. Working together, Rip and the team managed to fight Chronos off long enough to escape. Although, in the process, Boardman was severely injured.
Escaping, Kendra demanded Rip tell them who Chronos was and the real reason he recruited them. Hunter revealed everything and told them he understood if they wanted to return home. The others decided to take a moment to decide on the choice they would make. Later, everyone came together with Kendra telling him that Boardman had passed away and that she felt to blame for it. Rip told her no and proceeded to tell everyone that time itself, alongside Chronos and Savage would be one of their enemies. The group decided to stay together to defeat Savage and earn their rightful place in history. Hunter then took them to the lead he had learned about in Boardman's journal.
Losing a member
While still in 1975, thanks to Aldus Boardman's journal, Rip and the team figured out where to locate Savage: At an illegal weapons auction. When Kendra and Carter ask why can’t they go back and save Aldus, Hunter explained that they can’t change things they’ve already been involved in. He then explains that he has a room in the Waverider that can give them any outfit for any era. When Snart and Palmer started arguing over who would take point in the mission Rip reminded them that he was in charge only for Palmer and Snart to blow him off still angry that he had lied to them. When the team returned from the auction having failed to capture Savage, Hunter angrily yelled at them for not listening and revealed that during the battle Ray had dropped a piece of his suit which Savage recovered and as a result sped his conquest of the world to the present year of 2016. Fortunately Hunter revealed that this was not yet permanent and that they had time to stop this by retrieving the the technology. When Ray reveals that the suit is powered by Alpha Particles Stein suggest they track down his younger self who had created a Alpha Particle tracker. When Kendra and Carter reveal that they have found an artifact that can kill Savage to the team, Snart volunteers to go steal it back with Heat Wave and Ray accompanies them to make sure they don't get in to trouble. Later when Ray, Snart, and Rory are captured by Savage Hunter and the rest of the team come to their aid and huge battle breaks out. In the ensuing conflict Carter is killed and Kendra is severely wounded by Savage with the group barely managing to escape. Once Kendra is stabilized, Hunter reveals to Stein who had accidentally recently just erased his marriage to his wife that he suggested to his younger self to go to the seminar where they see young Stein and Clarissa together saving Steins marriage. Later back on the ship Hunter attempts to lift the teams spirit up by pointing out that while they have not saved the future they have a least saved the present. He then gives the team the choice of finding another way to stop Savage or return to 2016 and live out the rest of their lives. Now determined to avenge Carter the team chose the former and proceeded to come up with a new plan.
USSR in 1985
Then, he takes his team to 1985 USSR, where he encounters an attack from the Time Masters along with Mick Rory, which injures Jefferson Jackson a.k.a Firestorm. Then, after Martin Stein, Ray, and Mick get caught, he sends Sara and Leonard to rescue them. He also tells Sara to assassinate Dr. Stein if they fail in their plan. While rescuing their team, Rip encounters Vandal Savage where Savage gives back the locket with Rip's wife's and child's photo. But Rip plants the bomb which temporarily kills Vandal Savage.
Rip is seen to be a highly compassionate man who deeply loves his wife Miranda Coburn, and his son Jonas, so much so that he broke his oath to the Time Masters to travel through time and save them from their demise. He also wants to save the future from an apocalyptic world caused by Vandal Savage. He does this by gathering a group of unknowns to aid him, realizing he is only one man. While his motivation to save his family and the future are honorable, his tactics to achieve his goal often bring him into conflict with not only his former employers but his own team; he mislead them on the roles they play in history by making it seem they are remembered as some of the greatest heroes, though later admits he chose them specifically because they actually have no real impact on the timeline. He also has little patience for anything that sidetracks him and the team from their pursuit, preferring to focus on the matters at hand.
Rip is shown to have a tendency to let his temper get the best of him, to the point that he ends up arguing with his own team. He can also be so absorbed in sticking to the mission to stop Vandal that he disregards the feelings of others. For instance, he harshly scolded Sara Lance for wanting to aid her home Star City in the year 2046, accusing her of having more concern for one potential future than she did the real one, and even threatened to leave her there if she did not return in an hour, either not understanding or not caring that it would certainly take longer for her to save Star City from Grant Wilson. On another occasion when frustrated after being taken prisoner by time pirates he bluntly told Mick Rory he had only been recruited to the team because of his partnership with Leonard Snart, with this revelation partially enforcing Rory's decision to betray the team.
Rip's decision to take a chance on changing the timeline can be seen as noble. While he does want to see a better future where Vandal is not a threat, many accuse him of really just wanting to save his family. However, his love for his family trumped everything else, as he does not regret breaking his loyalty to the Time Masters.
It is revealed that even as a child, Rip was fearless, cunning, and even ruthless, willing to perform brutal and criminal acts to survive due to him living on the street and starving more than he ate. He was also very tough for someone of his age, standing up to more powerful foes without any hesitation. This is evident when his child self pretended to be an normal and innocent child, ignorant of the Pilgrim's intentions to kill him, only to stab her when she was distracted and gloating at the team. Rip's knowledge of what his younger self was would do if someone tried to harm him is what led to him including the child in his plan to defeat The Pilgrim and ultimately led to her death.
- Genius-level intellect: Rip is very intelligent as he is the creator of the first time sphere.
- Expert tactician/Leader: As a former Time Master, Rip has an immense understanding of the flow of time, able to calculate what events will affect the time-stream and by how small/large a margin.
- Skilled marksman/Firearms: Rip has shown high levels of skill in the use of his sidearm. As seen in a showdown in 1871, Rip is a very skilled quick-draw and sharpshooter, able to beat Jeb Stillwater with ease.
- Master hand-to-hand combatant: Rip is a very skilled hand-to-hand combatant, as he was able to go toe-to-toe with Vandal Savage in his earlier years, and even manage to overpower and slit his throat to temporarily kill him.
- Master knife-fighter: Rip was able to skillfully use a knife in a fight against Vandal and slit his throat with it.
- Energy Gun: Rip carries an energy gun that resembles a six-shooter, but fires blue bolts. The energy rounds can easily cause damage to solid materials or even stun foes wearing advanced body-armor such as Chronos. The gun's energy shots seem less harmful to those wearing future clothing, as Jon Valor was unharmed when shot. With such clothing, a shot from the gun is the equivalent of being struck. Rip owns at least two versions of this gun, the other gun glows green and fires green bolts.
- Waverider: Rip holds one of the most powerful of all time ships, The Waverider, which he and his team use to jump through time and find Savage. The ship was originally stolen from the Time Masters.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
Behind the scenes
- In the DC comics, Rip Hunter is a time traveler who is frequently seen as a man out of time, with no real place in history. He is a member of the Challengers of the Unknown quartet, as well as the future son of fellow time traveler Booster Gold.
- Arthur Darvill, who portrays Rip Hunter in the series, is best known for his role in the BBC series Doctor Who, where he portrayed of Rory Williams, a companion of the time traveling Eleventh Doctor. While the Doctor's race is called "Time Lords", Rip's group is called "Time Masters".
- After his first attack on Vandal Savage, Savage and his followers called him "gareeb", which is Arabic for "stranger".
- The coat he wears used to belong to Jonah Hex.
- Rip Hunter's real name, Michael, may be a reference to his father from the comics, Booster Gold, whose real name is Michael Jon Carter.