After three episodes, the Arrow-verse's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover has already become arguably the biggest and weirdest superhero TV event ever, thanks to its destructive storyline and its endless list of DC TV cameos. Brandon Routh got to take on one of the most memorable cameos, as it were, by complementing his time as Legends of Tomorrow's Ray Palmer with a return to portraying the Man of Steel, though one slightly revised from his Superman Returns hero.
Appearing so far in both the Batwoman and The Flash installments of the latest "Crisis" crossover, Brandon Routh donned a new-to-live-action super-suit as Earth-96's Superman, which is the Arrow-verse's take on the Superman Returns hero with some inspiration from his arc in the comic miniseries Kingdom Come. Though things took a turn going into network TV's winter hiatus, fans are no doubt hoping that Routh's reprisal of the DC icon might spark something further in the future.
When Brandon Routh was asked if this could be his final performance as Superman, here's how he answered:
I approached it as if it was the final time. It was important for me. That's one of the things I had to get off the phone with Marc and consider and think about. Because if I continued to leave the door open and keep wanting more, then I was never going to be fulfilled, and that wasn't a place where I wanted to leave things. So I approached this as, no matter how much screen time I had or whatever story this ends up being, I'm grateful to have this opportunity and I'm going to be okay with whatever this is. That's how I approached it. Just being grateful for the opportunity. Putting it all out there and being okay with hanging up the cape after that. And I'm grateful for that because that's how I feel about it. I feel that the door that was open, the unresolved stuff after Superman Returns is resolved, and the door is closed, but... if the door opened again, I'm open to it. I'm good, I'm at peace with it, but I am still excited to play the character if another opportunity that is right presents itself.
Brandon Routh gave Den of Geek quite the well-balanced answer there, embracing the closure while also tipping his hat (or his forehead curl) to a possible reprisal. By all means, it sounds like the actor put a lot of consideration into doubling up his screen time as Earth-96's Superman, since it obviously isn't a role that anyone takes lightly.
In the 13 years since Superman Returns was released to the kind of box office numbers that don't demand instant sequels, though the film has gained a fairly massive fanbase over the years. His history with the character is obviously what got fans initially pumped when Routh joined the Arrow-verse as pre-Atom Ray Palmer, and ever since, there have been fan-driven conversations about whether or not he'd suit up as Supes for one of the crossovers. Appearances from Dean Cain and the casting of Tyler Hoechlin as Supergirl's Cousin of Steel only helped fuel the fire, so it was awesome when the news broke that it was finally happening for "Crisis on Infinite Earths."
Unfortunately, Brandon Routh is exiting Legends of Tomorrow as Season 5 gets underway, so Arrow-verse fans won't have much to look forward to from the actor's superhero skillset in the near future. As such, one can only imagine that the fanbase will call out that much louder for Routh to return to play Superman on the big screen.
A few years ago, and no one would have thought a reality could exist where Brandon Routh would once again be a cinematic Superman. However, with Warner Bros. and DC's post-Justice League efforts up in the air, it's not clear if The Witcher star Henry Cavill will return to his Man of Steel role for a sequel, or if the studios will seek out new talent as they did with Robert Pattinson's post-Affleck Batman. Might there be room for an ex-Superman actor who still looks amazing in the suit?
While the Arrow-verse is moving forward with its Superman & Lois Lane spinoff going into 2020, that show will obviously feature Tyler Hoechlin's Kryptonian. What will the future hold for Brandon Routh's Superman? We'll have to wait for the conclusion of the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover when the shows return in 2020.