No one is more surprised than Brandon Routh to be returning to the DC universe following 2006’s Superman Returns, but he has in the role of Ray Palmer on Arrow. Palmer, of course, is destined to become The Atom, with the possibility of being featured in his own spinoff at some point.
Was there hesitancy for you, stepping back into the DC world?
There was hesitancy. I didn’t know what new ground I could tread in this world, I guess, having played the pinnacle of all superheroes. But then I hadn’t thought of it as a possibility, because again, I had played the pinnacle of all superheroes. Would anyone want me or see me as another character? How would that even work? But I was intrigued enough, because I’d seen Arrow and what a quality show it was, to meet with Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg, and hear their pitch about what Ray Palmer would become. I was really taken by their passion, excitement and enthusiasm for their show.
There are rumblings of an Atom spin-off. Would you be excited to take the lead?
If you’d asked me that question before I’d played Ray and been in the world, I may not have been, because I didn’t know where that was going and what playing Ray would entail. But I’ve been having so much fun bringing him to life, and we’ve only played Ray Palmer. I haven’t even done any Atom stuff yet. We’re only doing costume fittings. I’m definitely open to the idea.
How is Ray evolving?
Ray is all of the writers in the room. He is the passion and excitement, and almost the fanboy and fangirls’ excitement about the characters they see. He brings that passion and excitement to life – to his technology, to his creations, to just meeting people. He’s just full of life. Even though he’s had this tragic event happen, instead of becoming dark and brooding and believing his idea of the world being a bright, shiny place being really terrible, and going into a pit of despair that his world has been turned upside down, he doubles down in a way on the good and says, “This happened to me, but I’m going to make it right in any way that I can.” That’s what he’s become, I guess. It’s just been a joy.
What’s the appeal of a character, like The Atom, who shrinks?
It’s something that we haven’t seen. You can do anything with him. There are any number of things you can do with the character and that he can do. Plus the fact that we’re actually leaning more into the mechanised version of this with exo-skeleton suit, so he’s going to have all of those capabilities mixed in with, I believe eventually, the size-changing thing. That makes him pretty badass. Of course, the road to being a hero is not just bright and shiny all of the time. I’m sure there are going to be challenges along the way.
Arrow is airing now on Tuesday nights on Sky1 in the UK. Read all about the rise of TV’s Justice League in issue 103 of SciFiNow. For more on the comics that inspire the series, pick up our 100 All-Time Greatest Comics bookazine now!