Brandon Routh on "Legends," "Crisis" Superman, Spinoff Rumors & More

In August 2019, DC's Legends of Tomorrow fans were delivered the bad news that Brandon Routh (Ray Palmer) and Courtney Ford (Nora Darhk) were departing the series during The CW series' fifth season. While surprising, there was a general assumption that this was "just the way the show worked", with characters' story arcs flowing in and out of the Waverider. And even with the duo leaving in March 2020's S05E07 "Romeo v Juliet: Dawn of Justness," the door was left open as Ray & Nora departed for greener pastures. But then Routh was a guest on Michael Rosenbaum's Inside of You podcast where it became pretty clear that the actor wasn't too thrilled with having little say in when he left the series, how the news of it was handled, and other factors (more on that in a minute).

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Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Of course, that was over 1-1/2 years ago and a lot has changed since that time. First, Routh had a chance to reprise his role as Ray Palmer aka The Atom during The CW's DC's Legends of Tomorrow 100th episode S07E03 "wvrdr_error_100<oest-of-th3-gs.gid30n> not found"- though sadly, he was only in the form of a lost-then-recovered memory. But Routh would be back to playing the hero for "real" during The Flash S08E01 "Armageddon, Part 1" in November, with Ray helping Barry (Grant Gustin) buy himself some time to change what he believes is his inescapable fate. So with that in mind, Routh returned to Rosenbaum's podcast to cover a wide range of topics (with the full interview below) and also offered an update on how he's been feeling about departing DC's Legends of Tomorrow, putting on the Superman cape again for "Crisis," and more.

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Photo: The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

While the entire interview is worth a listen, there are two sections in particular that fans of the Arrowverse will want to check out. At around the 37:49 mark, Routh explains the "emotional" experience of putting back on the Superman costume to play a "Kingdome Come"-like Man of Steel for "Crisis" after so many years had gone by since Superman Returns. His first time on set as Superman was for the Batwoman chapter, which he says was "magical" and explains how the fans, his co-stars, and more helped heal his "emotional wounds and scars" from his experiences years ago with Superman Returns. But while having played The Man of Steel before gave him a sense of "nothing more to prove" and the ability to actually enjoy the experience, he's also quick to remind listeners that those fight scenes with Tyler Hoechlin were still hard work.

Then at the 53:33 mark (the episode was recorded before The Flash return episode aired), Routh explains what it was like coming back for the 100th episode of "Legends" after a less-than-desirable exit two seasons prior. for his part, the actor explains that he's had time to reflect and process what went on and learned how to make "lemons out of lemonade." And in light of how he and Ford were impacted by the "bad decision" of "one person" despite what they & the fans wanted, Routh emphasized how important having a sense of self-worth & self-respect was in agreeing to return. From there, the talk turns to rumors of a Ray Palmer/The Atom spinoff series but Routh said he was unaware and that no one had spoken with him. As for the possibility of Routh returning as Superman in an HBO Max series, Routh offered more of a "you never know" but also did say that there were a lot of Superman projects already in play so if anything were to happen it wouldn't be any time soon. But that said, Routh does believe that his Superman will be making a return of some kind down the road.

"It was before we started production, but it was not well-handled, and so that has been something my wife and I are both still working through. It's been a huge transition time for us these last eight, nine, ten months. So going, how was I going to find the joy in that, knowing this thing was looming," Routh explained to Rosenbaum during his March 2020 visit to the podcast.  "But I worked to just be with the crew that had become my family and my cast that had become my family and experience that, and just be there in the interactions with the people." From the sounds of it, having to deal with the news and the impending loss – while still needing to be professional and "in the now" for the sake of his castmates and crew members – was a lot to have to bear. "What I try to do at work is go to work, and try to enjoy my time on set. You don't know what the end product is going to be. And I had to go into this — you're also talking about loss, so we're going back to that — loss of my family for the last five years, and the character that I played for six years," Routh revealed. "As you may or may not know, I filmed my last episodes in the Arrow-verse and as Ray Palmer, and that was a very traumatic event for me. It was not something I was expecting, it was shocking."

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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