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We finally got a good look at Brandon Routh's high-tech Atom suit in Arrow's "Nanda Parbat" - an episode which also saw Oliver facing an intriguing proposition from Ra's al Ghul, as well as Ray and Felicity's relationship being...taken up a notch.
IGN was able to speak with the Atom himself, Brandon Routh, to get his thoughts on the suit, where Ray Palmer fits into the city, and what it might be like to have the Atom and Superman in a scene together.
A Whole New Suit
"This is different from the Arrow and Arsenal suits, and Canary - it's bada***" Routh said of his new look. "It's a whole different feeling from the Superman suit -- the only other suit that I've been in."
Routh of course played Superman in Bryan Singer's 2006 movie Superman Returns. His costume on Arrow, which is mechanical and allows him to fly, feels far more akin to Iron Man than anything else.
"It's a whole persona," the actor said, thinking about how this look altered his performance. "I mean, so is any suit that you put on, but this one is just different. It's cool."
Superman Vs The Atom
As mentioned, and many know, Routh's role on Arrow marks his return as a DC superhero.
"TV's just a whole different animal," Routh said of the differences between his experience playing Superman and now the Atom. "The speed at which you work; there's that. What's interesting is it's a long growth period, as we're finally starting to get into some of the Atom aspect of it. I was just Ray Palmer for a long period of time. So it's a lot of character development, which is cool and I appreciate. So that's a little bit different. The world of Arrow is certainly different than the world of Superman and Metropolis. We're in a darker world. So they're tonally different. But then you have Flash, which is more like Metropolis -- even looks like Metropolis, the architecture of the police station and all that stuff. So it's cool to be in the world and see that it's expanding. You have all these other superhero entities coming into it."
What If Superman Met The Atom
"That would be bizarre," Routh laughed when asked what it would be like if - in an ever expanding DC universe on TV - Atom and Superman ever met. "There'd probably be some inside jokes and winks at the camera. But that would be cool. It's such a bizarre thing already for me to be playing this character, and for some people to only be known for playing this character. People young enough who haven't seen Superman Returns are like, 'Oh, that guy's the Atom. What!?! He played Superman!?' I mean, I get that all the time from people who are fans of Chuck. They see me on Chuck, and their buddies are like, 'Yeah, he was Superman too,' and they're like, 'What!?' That's a cool thing for me, because it means that I'm not just defined by one character. Even if that is the one thing I'm known for, hallelujah! That's an amazing thing too. So, I don't know. Anything's possible. That'd be a trip."
Ray Vs Oliver
Oliver's been fairly preoccupied during the second half of Arrow's third season, and now is set to be even more so, which has created space for some new heroes to emerge in Starling City...or Star City, as Routh emphasizes, it should be called.
Ray Palmer and Oliver Queen are two very different men, and it's fairly safe to assume that those distinctions will carry through to their alter-egos.
"I think the difference, one, is how Ray sees the world versus how Oliver sees the world," Routh said. "We obviously have very different pasts and paths to get to where they are now. I can't speak for Oliver I guess, but I'd say that Ray is a 'glass half full' type of guy."
Ray and Oliver's mutual friend, comrade-in-arms (well in computer hacking, anyway), and on again, off again love interest Felicity Smoak seems to be more invested in her dynamic with Ray at the moment. "There may be something she appreciates about hanging out with someone that's of the [more optimistic] ilk," Routh said.
"And he's like her," the actor continued. "The tech talk and cracking jokes and more of a free-wheeling nature. She has to decide whether she wants to dip her toe back into that, helping somebody, like possibly be in a position where they're putting themselves at risk, or say, 'No, I'm done with this stuff.' So that's her decision to make, but I don't make it easy on her. I keep badgering about it, kind of like everything that Ray does. He's very insistent -- hopefully in a charming way."
Both Routh and Emily Bett Rickards (who plays Felicity) have added some some comedic flavor to a series that can otherwise get - in the words of executive producer Andrew Kreisberg - a bit soapy.
"As far as the levity and lightness, that was what [producers] Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg really wanted to do with the character," Routh said. "I'm saying their awesome words, and I'm so grateful that the writers have given me great stuff. It's a joy for me to be able to come and crack jokes and have that high energy every day."
What Would Atom Make of Canary
Ray Palmer will be interacting with at least one of the Canaries - Sara - or at the very least with Sara in some form. We spoke with Routh prior to the news that an Atom, Leonard Snart/Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) and former Black Canary Caity Lotz spinoff series was in the works. We did, however, ask him what he thought of the possibility of appearing in his own show as this character.
"The sky's the limit I think," the actor said. "DC and CW have done a great job between the two shows, kind of creating a platform to launch these heroes."
Before he ventures off into his own set of adventures, though, there will be more to do in Starling City. With Oliver's attention elsewhere, and budding heroes emerging, it's possible that the Atrom would join forces with Laurel's Black Canary and/or Arsenal at a certain point.
"It'd be an interesting matchup," Routh said of a potential Atom/Canary team-up. "They're in opposite places, but they're sharing a similar grief I would think. They could definitely come together about that. For them to fight criminals together would be kind of a funny thing. She needs a little bit of levity in her life too."
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