When Bryan Singer cast Brandon Routh as the ‘Last Son of Krypton’ for 2006’s Superman Returns, it was perhaps the one thing that film got entirely right. In a production that otherwise sought to mine some of the goodwill and continuity of the Christopher Reeve / Richard Donner era, yet turn Superman into the kind of guy who was a petulant ex and absentee father, Routh managed to capture the physical presence and stance needed. However it was not enough to overcome mixed reviews and less-than-stellar box-office returns and it ended up being Routh’s only opportunity to play the Man of Steel.
Though Routh has appeared as Ray Palmer / The Atom in the CW‘s Legends of Tomorrow (in which he had the opportunity to tell Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl that she reminded him a little of his cousin), the forthcoming multi-series, multi-verse crossover between almost all the superheroic CW shows (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, the upcoming Batwoman) will mix and match some established interpretations. Based loosely on the groundbreaking comics epic of the same name by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, Crisis on Infinite Earths will see the characters jumping across dimensions and encountering different versions of their iconic characters from other realities. One of those will be a Superman played by Routh. It’s not clear how closely the five-part story (playing out over December and January and connecting with the final episode of Arrow) will reference Routh’s big-screen plot-points, but it’s clearly a case of clever casting. The Flash series had something similar when Jon Wesley Shipp (who played The Flash on the 1980s tv series) reprised a variation of that role in the modern show during another multiverse story. The upcoming Batwoman series, starring Ruby Rose, is also set in an adjacent reality to the main characters, one where Bruce Wayne has gone missing.
To make things even more complicated, Routh will also appear in his role as Ray Palmer and Supergirl‘s version of Superman, played by Tyler Hoechlin also remains in the mix.