Legends of Tomorrow is losing two members of its superhero team in its upcoming fifth season. Brandon Routh, who plays Ray Palmer/The Atom on the show, and Courtney Ford, who plays Nora Darhk, are leaving the Arrowverse series, Deadline reports.
Routh has been a core member of the Legends team since the show began. He originated his role on Arrow and guest-starred on The Flash before joining the crew on the time-traveling ship the Waverider for the Arrowverse spinoff.
Ford is a more recent addition to Legends. She joined the cast in a villainous recurring role in the show’s third season, where she teamed up with her character’s father, Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough).
Ford became a series regular in the show’s fourth season as the character worked to redeem herself.
Part of that redemption has been the result of a romance with Routh’s character, to whom Ford is married in real life.
Of Routh and Ford’s departure, Legends executive producers Phil Klemmer, Grianne Godfree and Keto Shimizu said in a statement, “Brandon and Courtney have been invaluable members of the Legends family. They have always brought a level passion and collaboration to their characters and to the show — both on and off the screen – that we deeply admire and for which we are eternally grateful.”
“As one of the founding Legends of Tomorrow, Brandon is extremely beloved by the fans and everyone on the show.”
The actors’ departure comes as the result of a natural end to their storylines. Legends has a large ensemble cast that has led to a certain amount of cast turnover, and Routh and Ford’s exits are the latest examples.
While that keeps the show going and enables interesting new characters to come on board, it is a loss when a fan favorite like Routh’s character leaves.
However, the EPs indicated they’d be open to Routh and Ford returning for a guest spot at some point. “Of course, when we have had main characters in the past whose journeys take them away from the Waverider, it’s never truly goodbye. We love these characters and hope to check in with them in future seasons, to see how life off the ship has transformed them for better or worse.”
In a statement, Routh had this to say of his character’s departure:
“I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to bring the big-hearted and humorous Ray Palmer to life for our fans over the last 5 years, but unfortunately, his storyline is pointed in another direction. I’m saddened to see Ray’s journey end for now but wish my Legends family well.”
Meanwhile, Ford shared:
“Nora Darhk is very close to my heart. If it were my choice, I’d play her for years to come. But I understand that stories run their course, and I’m grateful for the time I did have bringing Nora to life on Legends of Tomorrow.”
The actors are expected to film their final episode in October. However, Legends of Tomorrow’s fifth season won’t debut until midseason so it’s not yet clear when the episode will air.
The characters’ departure will come after this season’s highly anticipated Arrowverse crossover “Crisis on Infinite Earths.”
Routh will not only play Ray Palmer, but will also reprise his role as Superman, a character he portrayed in the 2006 movie Superman Returns.
Legends of Tomorrow will return in January on The CW.