Why did Brandon Routh leave Legends of Tomorrow?

The actor’s departure from the series was not his personal decision

Last week’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow marked the end of Brandon Routh’s Arrowverse journey. First appeared as Ray Palmer, aka The Atom, in Season 3 of Arrow, Routh became one of the original cast members of Legends of Tomorrow in 2016. Though Legends of tomorrow is technically an ensemble series, Routh was considered by many as one of the leads of the show. So when the news broke last August that he was leaving the series, a lot of fans couldn’t help but wonder what the real reason was behind the actor’s exit.

According to Deadline, Routh’s departure from the series stemmed from a creative decision to wrap up Ray and Nora Darhk’s storyline. Nora was played by his real-life wife Courtney Ford, who joined the series in Season 3 and also left the show with Routh last week. In the couple’s last few episodes, their characters tied the knot and decided to leave the Waverider to start a new life together.

Clearly, it wasn’t Routh’s personal decision to leave the series. In fact, in a statement he issued last August, the actor implied that he would love to play Ray for more years “but unfortunately, his storyline is pointed in another direction.” The Superman actor also said that he was “saddened to see Ray’s journey end” but wished his “Legends family well.”

As if his then-impending exit wasn’t upsetting enough, Routh also revealed earlier this month that he didn’t really get to enjoy his last few days on set. Without giving any specific details, the actor said on the podcast Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum that filming his final episodes was “a very traumatic event” for him, explaining that it “was not well handled” and was something he was not expecting at all.

When asked if he would be willing to return to the series sometime in the future, Routh replied: “That’s kind of a bridge that I will decide to cross when I get there.”

With Routh’s exit, Caity Lotz (Sara Lance), Dominic Purcell (Mick Rory), and Amy Pemberton (Gideon) are the only three cast members left from the original series regular lineup.

Legends of Tomorrow resumes its fifth-season run on April 7th at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.

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