Former Superman, Brandon Routh, Joins the Cast of Arrow as the Atom

Hey look up on the CW, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…The Atom?

The Mighty Made Small

In all seriousness, according to a TVLine report, Brandon Routh has been cast to play as Ray Palmer, also known as the super hero, The Atom, to play in the remarkably successful CW series, Arrow.  Heading into its third season, the series continues to build up its cast and fleshing out the universe around its dark archer.

Routh seems to have an affinity for playing comic book characters, having formerly, and famously, portrayed the marquee DC character, Superman, in Superman Returns.  Though the movie was panned by audiences and critics alike, it was collectively agreed that Routh was a decent fill-in for the continuation of the Superman mythos at least skin deep.  Further, Routh also played Todd Ingram, the super-empowered vegan from Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.  Since, Routh has appeared on several projects on the big and small screens, showing up on Partners, Glee, and most recently the canceled Enlisted.

Ray Palmer, a longstanding figure since the Silver Age of comics, has largely been on the second tier of super heroes until recently.  A physicist, the Atom develop the ability to control his body at a subatomic level, allowing him oftentimes to shrink to said levels, but to also change the makeup of his body to fit the situation.  For some time his exploits were on the solo side, however he would eventually join the Justice League where he has been one of the most loyal members since his inclusion into the organization.  Recently, several incarnations of the character have appeared on TV and direct to video animated movies, but this is the first time his character will appear in flesh and blood as a substantial cast member.

Mass Expansion

The CW continues to expand the DC Universe with their small screen shows, either bolstering their roster of shows (iZombie, Flash) or boosting their casts with more and more talent.  In the past season of Arrow, they’ve not only introduced the Flash, but have also added Black Canary, Amanda Waller, and the Suicide Squad to their ranks.

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According to TVLine, Palmer “will play an unexpected role in the lives of Oliver and (rumored love interest) Felicity as the new owner of Queen Consolidated. Palmer’s plans for Queen Consolidated’s Applied Sciences Division will be shrouded in mystery.”

The Possibilities

His mysterious role in the current cast’s lives is writhe with possibilities.  Considering the report’s claim that he will be using the Applied Science’s Division in some mysterious ways, it’s unknown just how much of the costumed hero may appear onscreen, as an established vigilante or otherwise. It may very well depend on the show’s budget and how tight they want to keep the show to its established realism.  How many villains can Arrow really face at the microscopic level and would seeing Routh and Stephen Arnell struggle against a green screen parasite really do well to bolster its ratings?  More likely, Palmer’s involvement will create a massive conflict of interest for the loyalties of Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), on the one hand Arrow’s partner and support, and on the other, the love interest of the man who took over her partner’s company.

The possibilities here play well into the versatility of Palmer’s character and it will make for some decent drama come next season.  In costume or out, the character has been shown to play a tremendous role in the lives of other DC characters across the media spectrum and Routh may be the actor to needed to apply said versatility.

Audiences will see this fall when the show returns on the CW October 8.