Thirteen years ago (and a week), Brandon Routh’s Superman took to the sky in the first Superman movie since Christopher Reeve wore the cape. Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns was not a great movie, for plenty of reasons, but not a one of them had to do with Routh’s performance. So, it’s fantastic news for Super-fans that he will reprise that role in the unlikeliest of places: during the CW Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover. Not only that, he will join the current Arrowverse Superman, Tyler Hoechlin, in an as-yet-unknown capacity. More details about this might be revealed during the various Warner Bros. Comic-Con panels, but the news that Routh gets another spin in the blue-and-red delighted fans who felt he deserved better the first time around. First reported by Deadline, Routh confirmed the report on Twitter.
Brandon Routh’s Superman Returns Highlights
We’re not going to get into what didn’t work about the 2006 movie meant to kickstart the Superman franchise again. However, one thing that did not help it was that director Bryan Singer wanted to make it a sequel to Superman II. This meant ignoring Superman III and IV (the late Reeves’s personal favorite film because of its anti-nuclear message). It also prevented Routh from adding his own spin to the character, and essentially meant he had to an impression of Reeves portraying Superman. What’s amazing is he nailed it. Seriously, there is likely no other actor who could exude the wholesome nature of the Christopher Reeves’s version of the character, an attitude he continues with his version of the Arrowverse’s Atom, Ray Palmer. (Who he will also play in the crossover, incidentally.)
So…Wait…What the What?
Yeah, the multiverse is confusing. So, gear up for some full-on speculation about how this will work and what it means for the CW crossover. In the comic book version of Crisis On Infinite Earths, there were two Superman, specifically the Golden and Silver Age versions of the characters. This was justified because there were multiple Earths. Golden Age Superman was from Earth 2, while the more familiar Superman came from Earth 1. This is almost certainly how the character will appear in the crossover, as a Superman from a different Earth. John Wesley Shipp’s version of the Flash already did this last year, reprising his role as that character from an alternate Earth that fell victim to the oncoming cataclysm. That’s if this is Brandon Routh’s Superman from the film and not just Ray Palmer being body-swapped with Hoechlin’s Superman.
To quote Bro Thor from Endgame, this is “space-magic” we are dealing with here, so literally anything is possible. In fact, if it just yet another nod to Routh’s time in the tights, fans may end up disappointed. Yet the smart money suggests that this will be the actual Superman from that movie. The whole point of the original COIE was to help DC get control of its wildly out-of-control continuity. Like any good multi-verse, this device makes it so that every iteration of a DC character is “real” in that world. Tim Burton’s Batman and Christopher Nolan’s Batman exist in different parallel universes. Since the crisis allows for crossing over, it’s possible that we’ll get more role reprisals (Helen Slater’s Supergirl, anyone?).
What do you think will happen when Brandon Routh’s Superman returns? Tell us in the comments below or by sharing the article on social media.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.