Former Superman Brandon Routh Joins Arrow

You’ve got to admire actors who are willing to take more than one try at playing a comic book superhero, especially when the first hero isn’t as well-received by audiences as hoped. Ryan Reynolds went from Deadpool to Green Lantern; we’ve nearly forgotten about current Captain America Chris Evans’ past as Johnny Storm… and now Brandon Routh joins the club of superhero reduxes.

Six years after he played the Man of Steel in the tepidly-received Superman Returns, Routh returns to the DC universe. Except this time it’s on television—the CW’s Arrow—and it’s a character of a, shall we say, smaller stature than Superman.

TVLine reports that Routh has been tapped to join the cast of Arrow season 3 for 14 episodes. He’ll be playing scientist Ray Palmer, a.k.a. superhero The Atom. As Palmer—also the new owner of Queen Consolidated—he’ll play “an unexpected role” in the lives of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak; rumor has it he could be Felicity’s love interest. Furthermore, all we know about Ray’s plans for the company’s Applied Sciences department is that they’re “shrouded in mystery.”

And what about as The Atom? Well, it’s all in the name—Ray can shrink himself down to subatomic size, which has all kinds of applications, from punching surly molecules to getting out of having to help your friends move again.

Brandon Routh Atom Ray Palmer Arrow season 3 Superman

Hypable pointed out that a recent casting call may give us more insight into Arrow’s take on The Atom: While this character “exud[es] charm and confidence in public, he privately harbors a tragic past that will drive him to become a tech-powered superhero.” The original Atom’s origin story was, as was often the case in the Silver Age, accidental; it’ll be interesting to see if this version of Ray Palmer intentionally blasts himself with atomic energy. We also dig Den of Geek’s idea that there could be a sci-fi-tastic crossover with the CW’s upcoming series The Flash in our TV future, since they share a TV universe.

Despite a delightful turn in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (chicken isn’t vegan?) and his role on the much-missed spy series Chuck, Routh hasn’t been able to find a project that’s stuck. We’re excited to see what he does with The Atom—especially if he plays more nefarious—when Arrow returns in the fall.

Photos: Warner Bros., DC Comics

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