The CW’s latest Arrowverse crossover kicks things up a notch with the reveal of Brandon Routh as the Superman from Kingdom Come, a classic comic book story.
DC’s television side of things is doing a much better job with the shared universe than the DC Extended Universe. Yea. I said it. The TV and movie properties are kinds of split between two worlds. The DCEU was a divisive effort at creating a shared universe on the big screen. Their TV division, on the other hand, has been successful at it for years.
This shared universe includes a growing list of shows including Arrow, The Flash, Legends Of Tomorrow and Supergirl. The lead character of a previous DC show, the supernatural-themed Constantine which aired on NBC, was even able to cross the network bridge into the CW’s Arrowverse. Black Lightning will also appear in the larger Arroverse. This is remarkable because he’s a DC comic character left relatively unconnected to the shared universe. How, you ask? Well through The CW’s annual television crossover event.
How Does Brandon Routh’s Kingdom Come Superman Fit Into The Crossover?
The scope and ambition of the Arrowverse crossover events have grown over the years. While initially featuring the original shows in its lineups such as Flash and Arrow, Legends Of Tomorrow and Supergirl have also become a staple of these crossovers. Just like massive event comic book arcs that span multiple titles, these TV crossovers work the same way.
One storyline sees all the characters of the shared universe unite, and each episode of that particular show tells the story from the perspective of those characters. The story itself continues from show to show, forming a sort of multiple part story-arc taking place in the same week. This Superman is not a part of any show’s continuity, however Brandon Routh does play Ray Palmer on Legends of Tomorrow. Yet, his “S” symbol, suggests Brandon Routh’s Superman will share some DNA with the Superman from Kingdom Come. In this story, Superman becomes something of a tyrant. Nothing like the warm, genial Superman Routh portrayed in Superman Returns.
Crisis On Infinite Earths Comes To TV with Kingdom Come Superman Instead of the Golden Age Man of Steel
This year’s crossover is probably the most ambitious yet, and for good reason. The Arrowverse attempts to adapt the Crisis On Infinite Earths storyline from comic book legends Marv Wolfman and George Perez. While the story arc was more of a way to streamline the DC Comics universe at the time, it became one of the publisher’s best events ever.
Image via DCComics.com
The storyline saw the destruction of the Multiverse, with heroes across various realities coming together to stop the villain. The Multiverse has already made its way into both The Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow. So adapting the Crisis event into a television story arc was the next progressive step for the Arrowverse.
Will Brandon Routh be His Superman Again, the Kingdom Come version, or Something Different?
The Crisis storyline saw many different versions of our beloved heroes from different realities. Which is why The CW is bringing back many different actors from all the various iterations of DC Comics properties over the years into its massive event.
Brandon Routh famously played Superman himself in the 2006 Superman Returns. It’s the movie that launched him into geek notoriety. While the movie didn’t work for various reasons, Routh was a pretty decent Superman who mirrored Christopher Reeves’ performance in many ways.
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“… I’m always around.” #CrisisOnInfiniteEarths #Superman @thecw @warnerbrostv @dccomics An amazing team put this together! Thank you to @vaxcodsng for leading the charge & design, Rory (and team) at #HargateCostumes & Jose (and team) @ironhead_studio for building the suit, Mauricio @westerncostumecompany for the boots, @redheadtattoos for the hair, #AmandaMcGowan & @tiarae9 for makeup, @thealexrossart for the artistic inspiration, and lastly @marcguggenheim for being crazy enough to pull this all together. 🙏🏻 📷: @jordero
Since then, Routh has gone on to become one of those actors who revels in the geek fandom. This led to his casting in Arrow and ultimately spinning off into Legends Of Tomorrow. Cast as another superhero in the DC universe, Ray Palmer, aka The Atom, Routh is a regular now on Legends. So it’s insanely cool that he’s going to be playing Superman again, but this time from a classic comic book storyline, Kingdom Come. Whether his Superman Returns version of the character morphed into the Kingdom Come version of the character remains to be seen.
Kingdom Come Was One Of DC’s Best Stories
The Kingdom Come storyline sees an alternate reality where Superman is much older, retired and living in a world where heroes are no longer needed. Created by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, the Elseworlds comic storyline was massively influential, not just for its art, but it’s the heavy-hitting treatment of an alternate future. While Routh confirmed his portrayal during SDCC 2019, the first official image is something special entirely.
Routh looks massive as the older Superman. Not sure how much of that is the suit, or Routh himself. With streaks of grey in his temples, Routh is the embodiment of the Alex Ross drawn Superman from Kingdom Come! But this isn’t the first time that The CW is hiring an actor who has played a previous DC character to either reprise their role or be in a new role.
— Jim Lee (@JimLee) September 28, 2019
The CW Homages Its Previous DC Characters like Brandon Routh’s Superman
Through its various shows, The CW and DC have taken particular care to bring back fan-favorite actors that have appeared in various DC Comics related adaptations over the years.
The Flash famously saw John Wesley Shipp and Mark Hamill reprise their roles as the (first-ever TV) Flash and Trickster, respectively, from the original 90’s show. Supergirl brought back the original Supergirl Helen Slater and the Superman from Lois & Clark, Dean Cain. Kevin Conroy will play Bruce Wayne in live-action for the first time. Not to mention many other large and small actors from the various DC properties to make their way on to the big and small screens over the decades.
The CW Crisis Crossover Will See Supermen Galore!
On top of Routh as the Kingdom Come Superman, the Arrowverse crossover promises even more Supermen. The CW version of Superman, Tyler Hoechlin is set to appear, along with one more Superman that’s a huge deal for fans. Smallville’s own Clark Kent, Tom Welling will be reprising his role in the event.
There’s no word on what version of Superman, or Clark Kent, Welling will be playing. The assumption is that he will be the same character he played during the hugely successful run of Smallville. The fact that he’ll be sharing the screen with Smallville’s version of Lois Lane, Erica Durance, lends more credence to that theory. With so many guest stars and various incarnations of fan-favorite DC Comics characters appearing on screen together, this CW Crisis crossover event will definitely be making television history.
What do you think of Brandon Routh’s new Superman look? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured image from Brandon Routh’s Instagram.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.