TV Line and others have reported that Brandon Routh will join the third season of The CW’s “Arrow” in a recurring role as Ray Palmer, “an unparalleled scientist and inventor.” In the comics, Ray Palmer is also the size-changing Atom.
That’s interesting for a couple of reasons. Routh is no stranger to the world of DC Comics’ superheroes; he played Superman in “Superman Returns.” And his role continues to expand the DC Universe of “Arrow.” (“Arrow” also spun off “The Flash.”)
“Smallville” grew its roster of youthful DC heroes over its 10 years or so. “Arrow” is doing so, though, as Marvel has built a cohesive Marvel Universe on the big screen, with DC paving the way as well for a Justice League movie. Marvel expanded its universe from film to TV with “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” It’d be interesting if DC did the opposite – using its “Arrow” characters on the big screen - though there’s no indication of such a plan.
The big (or small) question is whether Routh’s Palmer will have the Atom alter-ego. It’d be tricky. While the image of Atom in his tiny chair around the Justice League table or standing on the shoulders of his buddy Hawkman worked in the comics, particularly in the more innocent Silver Age days, it’d look pretty goofy on TV. On the other hand, DC could beat Marvel to the punch in the shrinking-hero department; Marvel’s “Ant-Man” is due in theaters next summer.