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Brandon Routh made his debut as Ray Palmer in Arrow Season 3, and by the episode “Nanda Parbat,” he finally finished his A.T.O.M. suit and became a superhero like his comic book counterpart. As The Atom, Ray is set to be one of the lead characters in Legends of Tomorrow, which means we’ll be seeing more of that suit in action come 2016. While not at the level of Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man suits, it’s obvious a lot of time and care went into designing Ray’s A.T.O.M. uniform, but it turns out that suit is more expensive than most of us would have guessed.
When asked by DCLegendsTV if there are any challenges to using Atom on a weekly TV series, executive producer Phil Klemmer said the main concern is damaging the expensive A.T.O.M. suit, which evidently costs more than a typical house. According to Klemmer:
The only challenge is how expensive his costume costs, and the danger that we actually injure him doing stunts, because his costume actually costs not just more than a car — more than, like, your average American home — so the scariest thing about Atom is I’m thinking, like, ‘When do you use a digital double, and when do you use Brandon?’ I mean, obviously Brandon is irreplaceable.
It costs more than the average American home?! Granted, the CW may have a decent-sized budget to divvy up between its shows, but spending that much on the A.T.O.M. suit is frankly astounding. Until this revelation, I assumed the most money spent on a single character on Arrow or The Flash (aside from Barry Allen and his super speed) was bringing Gorilla Grodd to life in four Flash episodes. I could be wrong, but it appears the A.T.O.M. suit blows that out of the water.
With all the other visual effects going into Legends of Tomorrow, from Martin Stein turning into Firestorm to Kendra Saunders becoming Hawkgirl, it’s no wonder Klemmer and the production team are careful with using Routh in the actual suit. If it were to be badly damaged, repairing it might use up a big chunk of their budget, which is why it makes sense to use a digital double whenever possible. Of course, as Keeper said, Routh is obviously irreplaceable…but it doesn’t hurt to practice discretion over which scenes he should actually be costumed. It’s also worth noting that Legends of Tomorrow will finally feature Ray shrinking, so the dangers of damaging that suit and Routh being injured will presumably be slightly reduced in the spinoff given more use of CGI.
Fans will be able to catch up with Ray during Arrow Season 4, which premieres Wednesday, October 7 on The CW. As for Legends of Tomorrow, it’s scheduled to hit the air sometime midseason next year.