Legends of Tomorrow star Brandon Routh had misgivings about playing Superman again, this time for the Arrowverse's upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover. Routh has played the hero one time before, in 2006's Superman Returns. Though the film disappointed at the box office, some critics praised Routh's performance. Years after playing Superman, Routh joined the cast of Arrow as the Atom/Ray Palmer in 2014. He then moved to Legends of Tomorrow when it premiered two years later, becoming one of many Arrowverse characters to head to the Waverider.
The news broke yesterday that Routh would take on the iconic role of Superman once again. In the crossover, both Routh and Tyler Hoechlin - who has been the Arrowverse's only Superman until now - will play the role in different time periods. This will be made possible by the focus of the crossover, the Monitor, who can move between realities with ease. Though Routh hasn't played Superman on the small screen yet, the Arrowverse has had some fun in the past mentioning his big screen role. In the Invasion! crossover back in 2016, Ray sees Supergirl and says, "She really kind of looks like my cousin," poking fun at the relationship between Supergirl and Superman.
In an interview with EW at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Routh said he had a "mix of feelings" when he first heard that he would play Superman again during the crossover. He explained that he's now excited to revisit the character, especially because he was only able to take part in one Superman movie. He elaborated:
“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. 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."
Routh also seemed to confirm that this is very much a one-off move for the Arrowverse, saying "I’m just very honored to be able to do this one last time.”
The news that Routh will again take up the mantle only increases excitement for the crossover, which will take place over five nights and two quarters, a first for the Arrowverse. It will also serve as the series finale of flagship series Arrow, which will end its run with a 10-episode final season. In addition to the series ending, there's also a chance that Stephen Amell's Green Arrow will die during the crossover. During Arrow's season 7 finale, Felicity, William, and Mia visited Oliver's grave in the future, which said he died in 2019. This was also foreshadowed during last season's Elseworlds crossover when Oliver made a deal with the Monitor to save Barry and Kara. The Monitor collected on that debt during Arrow's finale, telling Oliver it was time to save the Multiverse and paving the way for his likely demise.
With so much at stake in Crisis on Infinite Earths, it makes sense that everyone involved in the Arrowverse wants it to be as exciting as possible. Not only will Routh playing Superman again ensure that more people will tune in, it also may be the only opportunity he has to do so. It would be hard to introduce a different Superman without the Monitor and his ability to play with different realities and time periods. However, it's understandable that Routh was uncertain about taking on the role again. Legends of Tomorrow fans know him well as the Atom and love Hoechlin's performance as Superman. But Routh proved in Superman Returns that he's a great match for the character, and fans should be excited to see his take on it again.