Prior to the start of Legends of Tomorrow’s fifth season, the announcement came that Brandon Routh and real-life wife Courtney Ford would be leaving the Arrow-verse show in Season 5. As Ray Palmer, Routh has been a staple of the show since its inception and he even got to play both Ray and Superman in the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover. However, Routh recently spoke up about leaving Legends of Tomorrow behind and how his exit as Ray was “not well-handled.”
When the news broke that Brandon Routh was leaving the series, it took fans by surprise. Last month, Legends of Tomorrow showrunner Phil Klemmer revealed why they decided to write out Ray and Nora in Season 5, stating that the Waverider was only ever meant as “a halfway home” on their life’s journey. However, during an appearance on Michael Rosenbaum’s “Inside of You” podcast, Routh revealed that he was told he was leaving before Season 5 began filming and that he’s still working to process the decision. Here’s what he had to say:
It was before we started production, but it was not well-handled, and so that has been something my wife and I are both still working through. It’s been a huge transition time for us these last eight, nine, ten months. So going, how was I going to find the joy in that, knowing this thing was looming? But I worked to just be with the crew that had become my family and my cast that had become my family and experience that, and just be there in the interactions with the people.
Ouch. It sure sounds like Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford were blindsided by the news. While Routh doesn’t expand upon the details regarding how the situation was mishandled, the actor has been honest about the decision to leave being taken out of his hands. In fact, he said as much when he replied to an Instagram comment with “not my choice” after a fan suggested that he could change his mind and stay on Legends of Tomorrow.
Personally, I was sad to hear the news about the actor’s departure. Ray has been a wonderful addition to the Arrow-verse since his introduction on Arrow all those years ago. To see him go out like this when his story seems far from over is frustrating. Brandon Routh continued, saying that the situation was tough because he had gotten the news, but he still had to make the best of things with the limited time he had. In his words:
What I try to do at work is go to work, and try to enjoy my time on set. You don't know what the end product is going to be. And I had to go into this — you're also talking about loss, so we're going back to that -- loss of my family for the last five years, and the character that I played for six years. As you may or may not know, I filmed my last episodes in the Arrow-verse and as Ray Palmer, and that was a very traumatic event for me. It was not something I was expecting, it was shocking.
Honestly, I’m still pretty shocked about it, too. Brandon Routh filmed his last episode for Legends of Tomorrow back in October and posted a touching goodbye, stating how grateful he was for the cast and crew for making the last five seasons so memorable. While Routh isn’t the first actor to leave the time-travelling show, he was one of three original cast members left and his presence on the show will be greatly missed.
Legends of Tomorrow returns with a new episode on Tuesday, March 10 at 9 p.m. ET. For more on what to watch, be sure to check out our 2020 midseason schedule.