It’s anybody’s guess whether Zack Snyder’s cumbersomely titled Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice will be a trainwreck or a successful foundation for the DC Cinematic Universe Warner Bros. is desperately hoping for. But regardless, the folks at The CW’s Arrow are already succeeding at creating a more interesting and coherent DC universe on the small screen. With its third season set to premiere this fall, Arrow has grown into a hugely entertaining show and has been steadily introducing TV versions of tons of familiar DC characters, including Barry Allen, aka super-speedster The Flash, who is spinning off his own show this fall as well. Now it looks like another stalwart of the Silver Age Justice League line-up is entering the Arrow-verse: ex-Superman Brandon Routh will be guest starring this season as Dr. Ray Palmer, better known as The Atom.
Deadline reports that Routh, who played Superman/Clark Kent in Bryan Singer’s 2006 franchise non-starter Superman Returns, will be “the season’s main recurring guest star” on Arrow, and is set to appear in 14 episodes. He’ll be playing Palmer, who is described as “a scientist and inventor who will play an unexpected role in the lives of Oliver Queen and Felicity Smoak as the new owner of Queen Consolidated.” Fans of the show will recall that Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) lost control of his company last season thanks to an evil scheme by the vengeful Slade Wilson (Spartacus: Blood & Sand’s Manu Bennet) and his undercover protege Isabel (Summer Glau). Since both of them have been dealt with, it was unclear if Oliver would somehow be able to wrest back control of Queen Consolidated, or if he was going to have to get used to a steady diet of Ramen.
The good news is that Ray Palmer, at least in the comics, is a helluva decent guy, so that may bode well for Oliver’s financial future. I’m not saying Palmer’s just going to hand it back to the guy, but he can probably at least get Oliver a job in the mail room. (Dude can sink a letter into a mail slot from 100 paces every damn time.)
Palmer’s involvement is also intriguing for a couple of reasons. The biggest one is the possibility of him being/becoming The Atom, which would be awesome. He’s a character that has rarely gotten his due outside of the comics, and Arrow’s writer have proven very skillful at reimagining classic DC characters in a way that works with our modern era and the show’s style, so I would love to see their take on the Atom. Especially if they use the same approach they did with Barry Allen — maybe there’s a potential Atom spin-off series on the horizon? Sign me up!
Of course, they haven’t yet confirmed whether Palmer’s super-heroic identity will be in play at all, but Arrow just spent an entire season introducing the concept of super-powers into its initially more grounded, gritty universe. First through the mirakuru super-soldier serum, and now Flash has granted Barry both his powers and a rogue’s gallery courtesy of a S.T.A.R. Labs supercollider accident, so Palmer’s shrinking technology would fit right into the more science fiction-y side of the show.
He’ll also be a love interest for Felicity, who clearly has a thing for science-minded guest stars — she crushed pretty hard on Barry back when he was in Starling City too. But now he’s off on his own show with his own unrequited love interest, so it falls to Dr. Palmer to make goo-goo eyes at each other. If nothing else, this should finally prove that size doesn’t matter. At least so long as you can shrink and grow on command.
Arrow is set to return for a third season on October 8 on the CW. The Flash premieres the day before, on October 7.