DC's Legends of Tomorrow star Brandon Routh will return as Superman, this time on his own terms, as part of The CW's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover event coming this December/January. Routh already plays Ray Palmer, aka The Atom, on Legends, but the shadow of his brief tenure as The Man of Steel back in 2006's Superman Returns still remains. Routh said he initially had "a mix of feelings" when the idea was presented to him to address that, but he eventually got excited about it.
"It’s an opportunity for me to kind of say hello and goodbye to the character in a way I didn’t get to the first time," Routh told Entertainment Weekly, referring to the fact that the franchise he thought he would be relaunching for years to come never actually got a sequel, thanks to underperformance at the box office. “Being a young individual of 24, 25, I thought, ‘Oh, I’m going to do this for years and make multiple movies.’ And that of course didn’t happen. I’m just very honored to be able to do this one last time.”
The fact that Superman Returns didn't succeed wasn't really considered to be any fault of Routh's, though. Fans would be more likely to blame director Bryan Singer's questionable decision to do a direct sequel to Richard Donner's Superman 2 after 26 years rather than a full reboot, or the even more controversial choice to make him an accidental deadbeat dad, abandoning the Earth for years to search for Krypton without realizing that Lois Lane had given birth to his son. However, Routh's performance was well-regarded, with a pitch-perfect recreation of Christopher Reeve's Clark Kent, so it's fitting that he'll get the chance to get some closure with the character.
Routh will be playing Superman right alongside Tyler Hoechlin as The CW-verse's already established Kal-El, which fits right in with the source material, DC Comics' classic 1980s continuity-clearing mega-event where different versions of Superman from different versions of Earth worked together trying to stop the destruction of the entire multiverse. Perhaps we can expect to see Routh sporting graying temples as the Superman of Earth-Two.
Food for thought: if Routh really is saying "goodbye" to the character, we might well see an inversion of this classic George Perez cover, with Melissa Benoist's Supergirl grieving his loss.
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