Legends of Tomorrow is going to get a lot less legendary in the upcoming fifth season on The CW. The show will lose one of its few remaining original stars in Brandon Routh, who has played Ray Palmer ever since the third season of Arrow, after which he moved over to help launch Legends. He's not the only series regular leaving Legends in Season 5 either. Courtney Ford is also bowing out.
Real-life married couple Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford play in-show love interests Ray Palmer and Nora Darhk on the show. Ford was bumped up to series regular status in Season 4 after recurring in Season 3. The two actors will leave because a creative decision was made to finish up their storyline on the series, according to Deadline, which may mean a happily-ever-after for the unusual but surprisingly adorable couple.
Ray has been pretty unlucky in love ever since he had the misfortune of falling for somebody who was already in love with Oliver Queen over on Arrow, and while you really wouldn't think that he'd finally get a happy ending from the daughter of supervillain Damien Darhk, when has Legends of Tomorrow ever done things in the normal way?
Of course, we can't rule out Ray and Nora leaving for a less heartwarming reason. I could see one of them quitting the time travel life if the other is lost, leaving together for some mission, or something darker than riding off into the sunset. That said, Legends of Tomorrow executive producers Phil Klemmer, Grainne Godfree, and Keto Shimizu released a statement about the departures, saying this:
Of course, when we have had main characters in the past whose journeys take them away from the Waverider, it’s never truly goodbye. We 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.
Those don't sound like the words of executive producers who intend to break hearts in how they write out a pair of fan-favorite characters! Legends of Tomorrow has found ways to bring back plenty of characters who left the series. If this is a show that could bring back Maisie Richardson-Sellers after how it sent her off at the end of Season 3, I think it can do pretty much anything.
Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford are reportedly expected to film their last episode as regulars on Legends of Tomorrow in October. Considering Legends doesn't return for Season 5 until 2020, we may not want to count on too many episodes before Ray and Nora take their leave. Routh will have a very interesting part to play in the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover, at least!
Both Brandon Routh and Courtney do sound like they would be willing to reprise their roles on Legends of Tomorrow. They said this in statements regarding their departures:
Brandon Routh: I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to bring the big-hearted and humorous Ray Palmer to life for our fans over the last 5 years, but unfortunately, his storyline is pointed in another direction. I’m saddened to see Ray’s journey end for now but wish my Legends family well.
Courtney Ford: Nora Darhk is very close to my heart. If it were my choice, I’d play her for years to come. But I understand that stories run their course, and I’m grateful for the time I did have bringing Nora to life on Legends of Tomorrow.
With the departure of Brandon Routh, Legends of Tomorrow will be down to only two actors who are left from the founding team of time-travelers: Caity Lotz, who plays Sara Lance, and Dominic Purcell, who plays Mick Rory. Honestly, if you'd told me back in 2016 that Mick Rory would outlast everybody except for Sara -- especially considering the series launched with such a focus on the Hawks -- then I would not have believed it.
That said, I hope Mick's not going anywhere any time soon, especially since we're losing Ray's brand of humor. The day I have to say goodbye to firebug/secret romance novelist Mick Rory on Legends of Tomorrow will be a sad day indeed. Hopefully he's not too devastated by the departure of Haircut!
Four of the five Arrow-verse series will premiere on The CW in the fall, with Legends holding off until midseason. That doesn't mean the Legends will be absent from the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover, however, and Brandon Routh will be looking pretty different as puts the Superman suit back on.