Considering his initial reluctance to return to the DC Universe to appear on Arrow, given his turn as the Man of Steel in 2006’s Superman Returns, there’s a certain irony in the fact that Brandon Routh will be leading a team of heroes in the upcoming Legends Of Tomorrow.
Irony, yes, but total surprise? No. “I didn’t think it would happen in this way,” admits Routh, whose character Ray Palmer/The Atom will be teaming up with the likes of Firestorm, the White Canary, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Captain Cold, Rip Hunter and others. “I thought maybe it would truly be an Atom show or something like that, or I would go back and forth between Arrow and The Flash, or try to be on both shows at the same time.
“When I had my initial meeting, because they’d spun The Flash off of Arrow, they said, ‘If you do this right, maybe there’s something else down the road or we continue on these shows.’ I said, ‘If I like the character, I will be happy to be doing it in whatever capacity.’
“Well,” he continues, “I love the character, so I’m happy to be doing it, and I think this is actually the best-case scenario. Having what is truly your own show is great, but it’s a lot of work. I think this is perfect for me to share the screen with a lot of other very talented people. They keep building and bringing more new characters into Arrow and The Flash, and then they will show up in our show.”
Considering the success of the Atom and the big-screen able-to-shrink-to-microscopic-size Ant-Man, there seems to be a growing fascinating for characters with this unique ability. “With Ant-Man,” muses Routh, “I don’t know that bringing Atom onto the CW was in response to that in any way or not, or if it’s just a happy coincidence in one way to have two of these characters coming to life at the same time. It’s unique, and it’s something we really haven’t seen before. We’re going to do all kinds of fun things with the shape-changing and how a fight unfolds and how Ray can change the course of a battle as the season and years progress.”
Most intriguing to him about Legends Of Tomorrow is the fact that he’ll be in something of a leadership role, and that he will have evolved as a hero compared to the moments he’d first gone up against Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen.
“I think he knows a little bit more of what it’s like to be a hero in his few adventures since his first encounter with Oliver,” Routh laughs. “He’s learned that it takes more than just brains and a suit. You have to have a little bit of strategy and actually know a little bit of physical prowess in knowing how to fight. The journey that he’s been on leading up to Legends will be interesting, though I’m not exactly sure what it is. He’s been on his own journey as a very small person. I don’t know what that back story is going to be, although I think that will come to light and will play into who he is when he comes back to full height.”
Legends Of Tomorrow will air on The CW in the US in January 2016, with a UK air date to follow. You can find out more about the characters and the comics that inspired them by picking up the latest edition of 100 All-Time Greatest Comics.