Comic-book superheroes have been ruling the big screen for a while now, with Marvel enjoying an insane run of success at the box office and DC now doing its best to play catch-up. But some of the most entertaining comic adaptations are actually unfolding on the TV front — especially on The CW, where Arrow and The Flash are constructing a shared universe any longtime DC fan should love. Now it looks like the Arrow-verse might be expanding even further in the not-too-distant future, by giving a tiny hero his big moment in the spotlight.
Of course we’re talking about Ray Palmer, aka The Atom. Palmer was introduced earlier this season on Arrow as a scientist/industrialist who takes over Oliver Queen’s former company. And just as Barry Allen/The Flash was introduced on Arrow in the hopes that the character would prove popular enough to support his own show, Palmer (played by former Superman Brandon Routh) is also being groomed for his own potential spinoff once he dons The Atom’s red and blue super-duds. Speaking to THR, Arrow-verse executive producer revealed that very early discussions about an Atom spinoff have already taken place, but it’s a long way from a done deal. Berlanti said:
We just love this universe and we want to keep growing it. We are trying to do more of what we enjoy, and it’s true: the shows are so plentiful with characters and storylines. There’s a region of the universe that we felt like we haven’t dealt with yet that we’d like to deal with.
In an interview with The Nerdist, producer Marc Guggenheim explained that Routh himself is a big selling point for a potential Atom series, saying that:
…we love Brandon and we love having him on Arrow… He’s a joy to write. Brandon’s so terrific and embodies the role so well that when we talk about how to further expand things, he’s a natural person to talk about. It’s like Brandon said on the panel, originally when we met with him we just wanted to bring a great character onto the show and we wanted a great actor to play him. That’s really how it always starts. With the exception of Grant Gustin on Arrow last year, there’s never been a [decision] to bring in a character with the intention to spin them off. It’s always, ‘What services the show the best?’
While Arrow has been teasing Palmer’s superpowered future all season, we still haven’t actually seen him don the costume and start fighting crime as The Atom, who can shrink to microscopic size but still punch with incredible force. Each episode seems to push us closer to seeing Palmer join the other Arrow-verse heroes such as Green Arrow, Black Canary, The Flash, and Firestorm. Routh himself is a charming and charismatic actor, so I have no doubt he could carry a series as the lead, and it’d be a nice bit of karmic payoff for a guy who did a solid job as Superman in the otherwise very mediocre Superman Returns.
I’m a huge fan of the Arrow-verse, and I love how the show’s writers are gradually expanding it by bringing in other characters from the DC universe who otherwise might never have gotten a live-action incarnation. I’m already far more interested in this shared TV universe than I am in the movie version set to launch with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. And if the Arrow-verse continues to grow, I’d say it’s only a matter of time before we get a small-screen version of the Justice League, one that proves you don’t need the “Big Three” of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman to make for a kickass DC superteam.
Last but not least, here’s a close look at the costume Robbie Amell will be sporting as Firestorm on The Flash (via Nerdist).
It fits with the Arrow-verse’s more grounded approach to superhero costumes, and let’s face it, Firestorm’s costume from the comics is pretty damn out there (see below). The gizmos on the chest evoke Firestorm’s traditional look, and from the look of them I’m guessing they’ll prove to be some sort of containment device that helps Ronnie Raymond/Firestorm control his powers.