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A Superman Actor You Forgot About is Suddenly Back Playing Superman

Actor Brandon Routh is bizarrely returning to the role of Superman after 13 years. But why?

Credit: Warner Bros

If you ask people to name their favorite Superman actors, almost no one will say Brandon Routh. In fact, you’d be forgiven if you actually forgot that Routh played Superman in the 2006 movie Superman Returns. Part of the reason you could have blocked this out is in that movie Superman was revealed to be a deadbeat dad? Still, wonkiness of the movie aside, Routh was a fine Superman; and maybe just a touch more sensitive than Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel. And now, if you have missed Routh in the cape, he’s playing Superman…again!

On Friday, news broke from San Diego Comic-Con that after 13 years, Brandon Routh would return to play Superman in a special crossover event airing on the CW. Right now, Routh already plays the Atom — which is basically the DC comics version of Ant-Man — in the TV series Legends of Tomorrow. In some kind of weirdo alternate universe thing, Routh will return as Superman, alongside Tyler Hoechlin, the actor who plays Superman on the CW TV show Supergirl.

Confused? Well, that’s understandable. The CW superhero shows (collectively called the “Arrowverse” because of the show Arrow) are really confusing and love crossing over into alternate dimensions all the time. In fact, if you loved the TV show The Flash, back in 1990, that actor, John Wesley Shipp, has been just one of many old-school actors who have returned as superheroes they used to play, back in the day.

It’s unclear how this will shake out, but Deadline reports that Routh and resident CW Supe Hoechlin “will both portray him [Superman] in different time frames.” Routh will also continue to play Atom, which in theory means he’d be sharing the screen with himself if this happens on the show Legends of Tomorrow.

Still confused? Okay. Imagine if Timothy Dalton returned to play James Bond in the new Daniel Craig movie, and somehow, both he and Daniel Craig were “really” James Bond. And then imagine all of the that is happening on a TV show. It’s a crazy time to be alive. But, if you’ve been meaning to watch the zany world the CW superhero shows with your older kids, the return of the guy who starred in Superman Returns might not be a bad place to start.

And if you can stomach Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor, Routh’s much-derided Superman Returns might be worth a second look, too. Routh is great in it. And, in the end, he does the right thing as a Super-dad.