Legends of Tomorrow will say goodbye to two cast members in season 5, with Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford confirmed to be leaving. Following in the footsteps of The Flash, the superhero ensemble was the second direct spin-off from Arrow. Although the first season proved mostly underwhelming, Legends of Tomorrow found its footing in season 2 and ultimately went on to become one of the Arrowverse's most unique and well-regarded shows.
After debuting in season 3 of Arrow, Routh made the jump to Legends of Tomorrow in the very first episode. Playing Ray Palmer, otherwise known as The Atom, the actor has been a core member of the cast ever since. Along the way, Routh has played different iterations of the character from different timelines. In season 4, having been possessed by the demon Neron, he even served as the primary antagonist for a number of episodes. Ford, meanwhile, joined the show in season 3. Though the character began life as a nemesis for the Waverider crew, she garnered immediate sympathy from fans and ultimately went on to redeem herself. Ford was promoted to a series regular in season 4, officially joining the heroes and deepening her bond with Ray.
According to Deadline, season 5 will serve as a swansong for the characters. The news comes as a result of Ray and Nora's stories having apparently reached a natural conclusion. The show's executive producers Phil Klemmer, Grianne Godfree, and Keto Shimizu went on to issue a statement through the outlet exclaiming that, "Brandon and Courtney have been invaluable members of the Legends family. They have always brought a level of passion and collaboration to their characters and to the show — both on and off the screen – that we deeply admire and for which we are eternally grateful." The show's producers also made it clear that the door would, of course, be left open for them to return down the line, adding in that, "it’s never truly goodbye." They went on to explain how they, “love these characters and hope to check in with them in future seasons, to see how life off the ship has transformed them for better or worse." The actors themselves went on to respond to the news via their personal Twitter accounts, indicating that it was far from their own decision and that they would have loved to stay on. Both posts can be seen below:
#LegendsOfTomorrow fans are the best fans!— Brandon Routh (@BrandonJRouth) August 23, 2019
Thank you for embracing #RayPalmer/ #TheATOM. 👊🏻
Thank you to: @TheCW, @warnerbrostv, @DCComics, @LoTWritersRoom @TheCW_Legends @mguggenheim
Read more: https://t.co/HvuP9XqtZx pic.twitter.com/gxW1d83RaT
Thank you @LoTWritersRoom for the opportunity to play in a world I love so much. Thanks to @GBerlanti and to @mguggenheim & @philklemmer for believing Nora could live past her first 3 eps of S3! What a ride. Proud to have been able to call @warnerbrostv and @TheCW my home. https://t.co/HzwQ8RQSOY— Courtney Ford (@_CourtneyFord_) August 23, 2019
It remains to be seen just how far into season 5 Ray and Nora will make it before leaving. At the very least, though, they will be a part of the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover. Routh will even take on double-duty, playing Ray and the Kingdom Come iteration of Superman. Routh previously played the Man of Steel in 2006's Superman Returns.
The team has seen a number of changes over the years. The most recent saw John Constantine come aboard alongside Maisie Richardson-Sellers' brand-new shapeshifter character, Charlie. Despite calls for him to get his own spin-off, Matt Ryan will continue playing the role in season 5. Based on the producer's comments, it would appear that Ray and Nora receive a somewhat happy ending. This could, of course, be a ruse. After all, the show isn't adverse to killing off characters...especially given that the time-travel and parallel universe elements of the show allow death to be no obstacle to an actor's return. However, while they won't be the first characters to depart the Waverider over the course of Legends of Tomorrow's run, they will be two of the most popular. As such, fans will no doubt be simultaneously saddened by the news and hoping for a positive, less fatal outcome.
Legends of Tomorrow season 5 will premiere January 2020.