Back in August, it was announced that Brandon Routh and his real-life wife Courtney Ford were leaving ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ during the current fifth season. Routh has played Ray Palmer/The Atom for six seasons, having begun his superheroic journey on ‘Arrow’ before helping launch the spin-off. Ford debuted as Norah Darhk in S3 before becoming a series regular in S4.
It was assumed that Routh and Ford had chosen to depart the ensemble series on their own. But according to a recent interview Routh provided for Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast, it seems as though perhaps it wasn’t their decision and that they were actually written out of the show.
While discussing anxiety and mental health, Routh cited himself as an example and spoke about how difficult it was to film his final scenes on the series.
“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. As you may or may not know, I filmed my last episodes in the Arrowverse and as Ray Palmer, and that was a very traumatic event for me. It was not something I was expecting, it was shocking.”
He indicated that he and Ford were informed before production on the new season began that they and their characters would be departing.
“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 8, 9, 10 months. So going, how was I going to find the joy in that, knowing this thing was looming. 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.”
‘Legends of Tomorrow’ is an ensemble show and has had something of a rotating cast from the start, as some characters come and go. (Anyone remember Hawkman and Hawkgirl?) It hasn’t gone unnoticed by fans that Ray Palmer went all of Season 4 without putting on his Atom armor once. It seems that the writers had run out of ideas for him. On the other hand, Matt Ryan’s John Constantine was introduced after his solo series ‘Constantine’ was canceled and he has essentially taken over ‘Legends’ as the male lead.
At this point, Routh, Caity Lotz (Sarah Lance/White Canary) and Dominic Purcell (Mick Rory/Heatwave) are the only original cast members left. (Well, not counting Amy Louise Pemberton a.k.a. Gideon.) With Routh’s departure, that leaves only two charter Legends left on board the Waverider.
It appears that the upcoming episode “Mr. Parker’s Cul de Sac” may be their last. Still images seem to reveal that Ray and Norah get married in that episode and are even joined by her deceased father, Damien (Neil McDonough). That might make for a tidy point of departure.
If you’d like to hear all of Routh’s interview, you can find it below:
Are you sad to see Routh and Ford go?