Brandon Routh Recalls The Slow, Painful Death Of His Superman Returns Sequel

Clark Kent (Brandon Routh) smiles in a scene from Superman Returns

When Brandon Routh signed on to play one of the most famous characters of all time, he probably knew he’d be in for a wild ride. But he couldn’t have predicted the anticlimactic run he’d experience following the release of Superman Returns -- or how stressful it would be to wait for a sequel that would never come.

Brandon Routh played Clark Kent in 2006’s Superman Returns -- a film that seemed destined to kickstart a 21st Century franchise for the iconic DC Comics hero. Despite positive reviews and fan response and a strong performance at the box office, a seemingly inevitable sequel never panned out. And during a conversation on Inside of You With Michael Rosenbaum, Brandon Routh revealed that he was left a bit baffled at how it all played out:

The end of my run as Superman, Superman Returns…that did not pan out the way I thought it was going to. The way everyone around me thought it was going to and so I really had to come to terms with a lot of that. There was no sequel. You know the movie was widely well-reviewed. People liked the movie. It made almost $400 million worldwide but that wasn’t enough and it was a very slow fizzle out over the possibility of a sequel over the next two/three years. And I did everything I could do in my world to help make it happen which is a story for another time.

The actor’s disappointment over not being able to reprise the role on the big screen is understandable. At least it wasn’t the end of his career as a DC Comics superhero. In 2014, he began an extended stint playing Ray Palmer, a.k.a. The Atom, in the CW’s Arrow-verse TV series. Guest appearances on Arrow and The Flash led to a starring role in Legends of Tomorrow in 2016.

And thanks to his small screen superhero endeavors, it turns out that Superman Returns wasn’t the last time Brandon Routh wore the iconic blue and red suit. In December 2019 and January 2020, he once again portrayed Clark Kent in the epic Arrow-verse crossover event, “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”

Despite the fact that he was finally able to don Clark Kent’s supersuit one last time, it looks like Brandon Routh has once again found himself at a career crossroad that he wasn’t exactly planning on. Last year, news broke that the fifth season of Legends of Tomorrow would be the last to feature Ray Palmer, and, thus, Brandon Routh. In his conversation with Michael Rosenbaum, the actor stated that he felt the series did not handle his exit well. He’ll hang up his suit again (at least, for now) when his last episode of Legends of Tomorrow airs on March 17.

Katherine Webb