Legends of Tomorrow took many by surprise with the announcement that Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford would be leaving the show in Season 5. Routh has been on the superhero series since the beginning as Ray Palmer, while Ford’s Nora Darhk made her debut back in Season 3. Complicating the duo’s exit is the fact that the real-life married couple did not want to leave.
Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford’s exit is entirely a Legends of Tomorrow idea. The series’ co-showrunner, Phil Klemmer, opened up about the reasons behind their departure. He described time on the Waverider as not being a “permanent home.” Reflecting on leaving their current residence, Ford told TV Guide:
It's definitely been a process. It hasn't been simple and it's been very emotional and I can say that playing Nora Darhk for three seasons is the longest I've ever played a character. That's not a gift that all actors get to have, and I'm incredibly grateful to have spent so much time having the opportunity to develop a character and get to know her and grow with her. The fact that she is ending at a completely different place from where she started, it's a gift to me. I think it's a gift to trauma survivors.
Fans are nearing the point of saying goodbye to Ray and Norah. Last year, Brandon Routh shared a post commemorating the end of filming and talked about the “growing pains.” Fast forward, and it is clear that Routh and Ford did not want to leave the show. Last month, Routh confirmed that much in a comment on Instagram.
The emotions surrounding the couple’s exit have now become more public. Courtney Ford’s comments come after her husband said his exit was “not well-handled” in an interview on Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast. The couple has been on the show together and will exit together, which means they have each other to lean on. On how that journey is going, Ford said:
It's complicated. It's also true that the longer you play a character, the harder it is to let them go, so there's certainly a grieving process. For Brandon [Routh], playing Ray Palmer for six seasons with five on Legends and one on Arrow, that's a lot to process. So we've been listening to a lot of Lizzo. It's the best time if you're going to go through something like this and thank god for Lizzo.
It is a lot to come to grips with and it's nice that Lizzo has helped! As Courtney Ford points out, it is a process. Brandon Routh has been Ray Palmer beyond his stint on Legends of Tomorrow, having originated the role on Arrow, which ended itself earlier this year. I remember when he made his debut, and Routh’s performance was so refreshing.
Hopefully, Courtney Ford and Brandon Routh can reprise their roles in the Arrow-verse after their run on Legends of Tomorrow. After all, that interconnected superhero universe lives on. For now, though, Routh and Ford’s time is nearing its end. In his interview, Routh revealed that the couple learned they would be leaving before production started on Season 5, it's clear, though, that getting used to the news is taking some time.
Fans have had a while to brace themselves, and now the reality is about to hit. At least there has been one highlight for Brandon Routh before the end of his and Courtney Ford’s run on Legends of Tomorrow. Before Routh ended his term as Ray Palmer, he got a chance to play Golden Era Superman for the latest Arrow-verse crossover: “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”
Now viewers will get to see what ending Legends of Tomorrow has in store for Courtney Ford and Brandon Routh’s characters. Will Norah Darhk and Ray Palmer live happily ever after? Stay tuned!
New episodes of Legends of Tomorrow air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. You can relive Courtney Ford and Brandon Routh’s time on Legends of Tomorrow via past seasons currently streaming on Netflix, alongside new content for 2020. For more on what you can watch on the small screen right now, there are also this winter and spring’s premieres.