Arrow Targets Brandon Routh to Play Major DC Comics Superhero in Season 3

Brandon Routh Arrow The Atom

Brandon Routh is set to play another DC Comics super man — this time on Arrow.

The erstwhile Man of Steel is joining the CW hit’s third season in the recurring role of Ray Palmer, aka DC superhero The Atom, TVLine has learned exclusively.

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An unparalleled scientist and inventor, Ray will play an unexpected role in the lives of Oliver and (rumored love interest) Felicity as the new owner of Queen Consolidated. Palmer’s plans for Queen Consolidated’s Applied Sciences Division will be shrouded in mystery.

In addition to his myriad comic book appearances, Ray/The Atom — who can alter the size of his body as well as Brandon Routh Arrow The Atomother objects — has turned up in numerous animated series, including, most recently, Cartoon Network’s Young Justice. Arrow marks one of the character’s rare live-action incarnations.

Déjà vu watch: Although The Atom isn’t able to fly like Superman, he can simulate flight a la Wonder Woman.

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Also joining Arrow this fall — as previously reported by TVLine — are Sin City‘s Devon Aoki (as DC Comics superheroine “Katana”), Karl Yune (as Oliver’s Hong Kong handler/Katana’s husband Maseo Yamashiro), and Peter Stormare (as Count Vertigo).

Routh’s TV credits include NBC’s late, much-missed Chuck, CBS’ short-lived Partners and, more recently, Crackle’s Chosen and Fox’s Enlisted.

Arrow premieres its third season on Wednesday, Oct. 8.

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  1. nate says:

    That’s. …. unexpected… awesome

  2. James says:


  3. Sparky says:

    Very cool guests joining this season. Really looking forward to this season

  4. Ashley says:

    And once again, not disappointed by this show’s castings. Can’t wait to see what happens.

  5. C says:

    Am I the only one who remembers Routh as Seth, the guy Natalie and Jessica fought over on “One Life to Live”?

  6. Nicole says:

    As if this show couldn’t get anymore awesome. Love they’re bringing in another brainy superhero like The Atom and love that Routh is getting to be a superhero again.

    • Yea, i like the Atom a lot, I’m sure Routh really is a good actor, I’m pretty sure he sees it as redemption time in the eyes of comic fans. I’m hoping he knocks it out of the park. I don’t blame him completely for ‘Superman Returns’.

      • floacist says:

        It was really unfair to him that he didn’t even get to play his own Superman, but directed to just imitate Christopher Reeve’s Superman.

      • ChrisGa says:

        Routh was the best thing about the otherwise mediocre Superman Returns(Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane remains one of the worst castings in superhero movie history). It’s a shame he got caught up in all the backlash from the film because I always thought he was great in it.

        • I agree with your statement about the actress who was playing Lois Lane. She act like she didn’t wanted to be in the film. Brandon Routh have a tough time getting the fan to forget how bad the plot/written.

        • albertj15 says:

          Concerning Lois Lane, Phillis Coates, Terry Hatcher, an Amy Adams were my favorites.
          For you who never saw Ms. Coates she was in the first movie with George Reaves as Superman. She also appeared in the first year of the T V series

          • I remember seeing the rerun of Adventure of Superman on Channel 11 I believe and She was on the series for one season and the producer got another actress to take over the role for the rest of the series.

          • diya says:

            hey Erica Durance was gud too.

          • I remember Phyllis Coates as Lois Lane. She was on the series for one season and some reason she was replace by the second actress who appear in the second serial. She make several other film after leaving The Adventures of Superman. I can’t wait to see the third season of the Arrow.

          • albertj15 says:

            I did forget that Phyllis Coates did make an apearence on LOIS & Clark the new adventures of Superman as Lois Lanes mother when Lois was supposed to marry Lex Loutour

          • I have forgotten that Phyllis Coates that indeed make a guest appearance as Lois Lane’s mother when the young Lois Lane going to married Lex Luthor. Teri Hatcher appear in Smallville in a flashback segment.

        • Skittles&Bits says:

          Well said. I agree completely. The only redeeming quality from the tripe that was SR was Routh and it burns how much backlash he got for literally doing EXACTLY what Singer wanted. It burns so much.

        • Joe E Dangerously says:

          ChrisGa is totally right about Brandon Routh. It’s not fair to blame him at all if you don’t like that movie. I do like it but I’m in the minority apparently. In any case though, he did a damned good job with what he had to work with. Honestly if they had written the character a little better I think he’d be remembered as the third best Superman behind George Reeves and Christopher Reeve. I think history will be kind to Brandon Routh when all is said and done.

  7. Earthwhile murderess and Ray’s wife Jean Loring previously appeared in the show. That should be interesting.

  8. Steve F. says:

    Ooh… what unexpected casting… while his Superman was weak, I did like how he played Clark Kent. Looks like S3 of Arrow is shaping up nicely!

  9. Briana says:

    Thank you Michael Ausiello for properly using the word “myriad.” It makes me very happy. Also, good casting scoop, but I’m mostly happy about the grammar. :)

  10. A says:

    Oh my goodness YES to this! Loved him on Chuck. Can’t wait to see him and Felicity together

  11. gadgetguy03 says:

    I see this fits the bill for the casting known as “Daniel”

    Makes sense since his character on Chuck was Daniel Shaw.

  12. Drew says:

    He never played Superman, but I liked him on Chuck and Enlisted, so this is good news.

    And before anyone tries to correct me, let me clarify… I know what you are going to say, but he never played Superman. That movie never happened.

  13. Ralph says:

    Yep, I remember him on OLTL, and have liked him in every role he’s done.

  14. Mehvash says:

    i have been waiting for this casting news with bated breath. this is unexpected and yet definitely fits what i was thinking in my head. arrow season 3 is shaping up to look very very very interesting. i don’t know that i’ve been this excited about a show in a very long time. the writers (season 2) and casting directors seem to be hitting on all cylinders. i was happy to see that the second season didn’t go through a sophmore slump and it seems like season 3 is just going to take off. the wait is killing me though. is it October yet?

  15. Alex says:

    Um, Wonder Woman really can fly just like Superman.

  16. This is great news. Routh did such a great job as Superman in Superman Returns despite the lousy script and now he gets to continue in superhero mode on a hit show like Arrow.

  17. Cannot wait to see any possible debate between if he was a better Atom than Superman. He did okay as Superman, but was a bit too young for the material they gave him, plus the material kind of sucked. Still waiting for that Superman movie to really nail the character…

    • Behrooz says:

      There already was a Superman movie that nailed the character – from 1978, with Christopher Reeve. Nailed it perfectly.

      I have to agree with the others – Routh was the best thing about Superman Returns. Too bad it hurt his career.

  18. Brian B says:

    “Arrow marks the character’s live-action debut.”

    Wasn’t Atom in those god-awful 70’s live action Super Hero specials?

  19. Lysh says:

    The Atom! Everyone was thinking Ted Kord. This is so unexpected and AWESOME. Great casting!

    • Ben says:

      Is it wrong that I feel let down he is not Kord? I dunno why, though. I think I just like the idea of “the Blue Beetle” showing up. Atom feels to me like it belongs more in the Flash.

      I’m not feeling at all negative about the Atom being in it, just disappointed Ted Kord is not.

  20. M says:

    As someone who watches Chosen and recently finished rewatching all of Chuck, Brandon Routh plays a villain pretty damn well.

  21. ggny says:

    Good for him. It wasnt his fault really that Superman Returns was a not so good movie and it always seemed like DC thought highly of him it just the movie didnt connect with audiences. It is good to see him get another chance with DC

  22. Gerald says:

    While I am excited and think it is great casting. I am a little disappointed they are going there. I thought Arrow was mostly based in real world with no super-powered super heroes. But then they introduced The Flash so now I guess all bets are off.

    • Rush1103 says:

      I agree with the real world thing but as I’ve only seen bits and pieces of season 2 I can’t especially judge yay or nay with any authority.

    • Lysh says:

      It’ll be interesting to see what they do. It’s not alien or magic and they’ll probably give him some scientific explanation like the particle excellerator.

  23. If they are bringing in the man that played Superman…Let him play SUPERMAN!

    • Mxyzptlk says:

      But that would be logical.

    • Azerty says:

      If someone had to play Superman on Arrow I would choose Tom Welling! But since he didn’t want to play Superman even in his own serie I guess it won’t happen soon…

    • Nathalie says:

      YES..I do so agree with this…it’s really hard to separate him from being Superman! And I hoped during the Smallville run that he would make a cameo but that would be a conflict since he is Superman and Tom is Smallville / RBB / Superman.

      • How about getting Tom Welling from Smallville playing Clark”Superman”Kent in future episode? How about another episode focus on the SS in future episode? I hope that it will help them to get their own series.

    • Briggs says:

      They’re not going to cast a small-screen Superman while they plan to keep one on the big screen for a while (they announced several more movies at San Diego Comic Con). Too confusing. Besides, he or someone like Batman would overshadow Oliver, and it’s his show. Brandon Routh, as I say elsewhere in this comment section, can make this char his own because a bunch of other guys haven’t played him yet. I’m excited for him, personally

  24. Niejan says:


    Peter Stormare as Count Vertigo? Excellent pick.

  25. Polly says:

    Awwwwwwwww Yeahhhhhhh!!!

  26. My eye open wide when I read that Brandon Routh will be playing Ray”The Atom” Palmer in the third season. I can’t wait to see his first episode in the fall. I was hopping that the actor would be playing the second Blue “Ted Kord”Beetle. Good luck to Brandon Routh on his role.

  27. Mary says:

    Didn’t care for him on Chuck, even before he became a bad guy on there.

  28. Scott Johnston says:

    Glad he’s not S-Man again. I’m hoping Arrow, and Flash, DO get worked in the JLA film. They could use all to promote each other….

  29. Flight says:

    Don’t all these superheroes with actual powers appearing in the Arrow Universe, Flash and now this guy not make the Arrow really weak in comparison.

    At the end of the day, although well trained he is just a normal person, which is what I really like about the show.

    • oakroy says:

      Yea, but I wish arrow some how got powers. If u stick with the real life to much longer he will need all hid joints replaced soon….knees first.

      Give the guy something lol

  30. alistaircrane says:

    Well, that’s too bad. Wish it were Ryan Choi and not Ray Palmer. :-(

  31. John Hanson says:

    Am I the only one that remembers that Count Vertigo has already been in 3 episodes of Arrow?

    • No, I was wondering the same thing. I certainly hope they’re not recasting. Seth Gabel was great as the character, although woefully underused.

      • Doug says:

        His role isn’t being recast. It is just that Peter Stormare is the new person to take up the mantle of “Count Vertigo.”

        Seth Gabel played “The Count” but Peter Stormare is playing “Vertigo” and his characters real name will be the same as the New 52 version of the character Werner Zytle.

      • Dean says:

        Seth was killed last season. When Oliver shot three arrows into his chest. This new guy takes up the position as the new Count Vertigo sort of the way Oliver became green arrow after Yao fay

  32. Migg says:

    Glad he’s not superman that still leaves the door open for Tom Welling to appear at some point and create a jla series with flash arrow and batman should all these cw series go the distance

    • TheFutureEmbrace says:

      How would that work when there were different actors playing both Green Arrow and the Flash in Smallville?

  33. Sara says:

    Love this news!!!!!

  34. They forgot “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

  35. Spoiler Junkie says:

    Is Plywood destined to troll us across fandoms now? :P ;) :) (die hard Chuck fans will get this)

  36. Lamington Hussey says:

    From a Super Dude to a dude who can shrink in size.

  37. Luis says:

    Routh caught a bad break with “Superman Returns;” it was misconceived, with a horrid script. I felt like he held his own in the role, and I’ve enjoyed him in the TV work he’s done. Ray Palmer’s appearance was essentially foretold by Jean’s appearance on Season 2. I am glad producers aren’t shying away from introducing CGI-driven characters like Flash and the Atom; it gives me hope they will be willing to try and redeem the disgrace of the “Green Lantern” movie by eventually bringing Hal Jordan to Starling City. As someone who grew up with the “Green Lantern/Green Arrow” comics of the 1970s, it seems only natural to see that happen.

    • Abin Sur says:

      I noticed in the second season of Arrow that Ferris Airlines was used, in my opinion a blatant clue regarding Hal… We can but hope.

      • Luis says:

        First of all, so totally awesome nick – respect!. Second, thanks for reminding me about Ferris Airlines shout out. Fingers crossed!

  38. tp says:

    I really like Brandon Routh. I always thought he played a corny Kent/Superman like CR did. I enjoyed some of Superman Returns. Looking forward to him as The Atom. Still bitter about Young Justice. Damn you Cartoon Network.

  39. Reblogged this on Author P.S. Bartlett and commented:
    Loved Routh’s Superman. So happy to see this awesome Superhero addition to one of my favorite TV shows! Arrow is going to be insane next season!

  40. Actually, The Atom’s live-action debut was in “Legends of the Superheroes” portrayed by Alfie Wise in the late 70’s.

  41. arrowfan says:

    only disappointment is Ray Palmer become “new owner of QC” so Oilver fails to get his company back right away……but I hope does because he won’t have the money to make his arrows/equipment/costume

  42. melinae says:

    YEAH to the Atom! But agh to Brandon Routh. I don’t like the guy.

  43. floacist says:


  44. Pat Horgan says:

    great news but NOT the live action debut of the Atom. He appeared on “Legends Of The Superheros” a two part special that appeared on NBC in prime time ain the 70s. He ALSO appeared on the live action pilot “Justice League” never aired , but available at most conventions

  45. Shelley says:

    Loved him as the bad guy in Chuck. Should be cool addition

  46. Mary says:

    Yes, I love this!

  47. Phil Raymondo says:

    IIRC, the Atom never flew, but traveled through the phone lines hitching rides on the electrons carrying the signal from phone to phone. At least that’s what I recall from my reading his 60s re-incarnation, when he really could shrink. In the 40s he didn’t shrink; he was just smaller than normal and very strong.

  48. Dan says:

    They definitely added him in order to beat out Marvels Ant-Man, which comes out July 2015, with a size changing hero.

    • Mikael says:

      I was just going to write that! It’s like how Bryan Singer added Quicksilver to X-Men right after Joss Whedon said he was going to use him in Avengers.

  49. Claire says:

    I am looking forward to seeing the development of this story in S3 in how his presence affects Oliver and Felicity, together and separately. I think this will be the wake up call that Oliver needs both personally and professionally.

  50. Hodan says:

    I thought the big news was going to be about Ted Kord but Ray/Atom is a good choice too. I don’t know how they are going to work that on Arrow thought.