Brandon Routh first played Superman in Bryan Singer’s ‘Superman Returns’, then had a recurring role on ‘Chuck’. Now he’s headed back to (possibly) red and blue spandex as a recurring guest star on ‘Arrow’. Which DC character is he assuming the identity of?
Routh will be playing Ray Palmer, also known as the tiny hero The Atom. On ‘Arrow’ he will be a scientist and the new owner of Queen Consolidated and will play an “unexpected” role in the lives of both Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak. Well, we all saw that Felicity had a thing for brainy guys when Barry Allen appeared on the series. And while Barry (Grant Gustin) only appeared in two episodes, Routh’s Ray Palmer is signed to appear in 14.
In a bizarre coincidence, Routh recently wrapped the indie sci-fi film ‘400 Days’ in which he starred alongside ‘Arrow’ star Cailty Lotz (Sarah Lance/Black Canary) and ‘The Flash’ actor Tom Cavanagh (Harrison Wells). The film examines the effects of astronauts who are set adrift in space for 400 days with no contact from Earth.
This role on ‘Arrow’ puts Routh in the rare company of Chris Evans and Ryan Reynolds as one of the few actors who have portrayed multiple super heroes. Evans, of course, played both Johnny Storm/The Human Torch in two ‘Fantastic Four‘ movies before going on to even greater success as Steve Rogers/Captain America. Reynolds has actually dipped his toes into the super hero pool more times, playing Hannibal King in ‘Blade: Trinity’, Wade Wilson/Deadpool in ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘ and Hal Jordan/Green Lantern in ‘Green Lantern’. (He also played a an imaginary character named Captain Excellent in the little-known indie ‘Paper Man’.)
In the comics, Ray Palmer/The Atom launched around the same time as Barry Allen’s version of The Flash and Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern. He was one of the first new recruits to join the Justice League after it launched and he even starred in his own animated segments on the ‘Superman/Aquaman Hour Of Adventure’ as well as in the ‘Justice League Of America’ segments, and he’s steadily appeared in other animated adaptations, including ‘Super Friends’, ‘Justice League’ and ‘Batman: The Brave And The Bold’.
In the comics, one of his biggest story lines was ‘Identity Crisis’ in which his estranged wife Jean Loring murdered Sue Dibny, the wife of the Elongated Man and arranged the death of Jack Drake, the father of Robin/Tim Drake.
His role in modern comics has been limited, however, and his spot in the Justice League was taken by Rhonda Pineda/Atomica, who turned out to be a traitor from Earth 3 and a member of the Crime Syndicate. Will DC push The Atom back into the spotlight? It worked for Aquaman.
What do you think? Are you interested in seeing Brandon Routh take on another super heroic role? How do you think The Atom will work in the world of ‘Arrow’? Will The CW be adding yet another spin-off to its programming?