Change is afoot in the DC Universe, with Legends of Tomorrow seeing two of its main cast bow out ahead of its upcoming fifth season.
Brandon Routh, who stars as Ray Palmer, alias Atom, and Courtney Ford, who plays Nora Darhk, will be leaving the 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.”
Routh’s departure may come as a shock to fans of the show, with Palmer having been one of the founding members of the Legends alongside Rip Hunter (Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill), Martin Stein (Victor Garber) and Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) when the show launched in 2016. His popularity as a character stemmed from Routh’s portrayal of Palmer in Arrow, having joined the series in 2014.
Ford, who is married to Routh in real life, joined Legends of Tomorrow as a recurring character in series three, before being promoted to a series regular in 2018.
“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 five years, but unfortunately, his storyline is pointed in another direction,” Routh said in a statement to Deadline.
“I’m saddened to see Ray’s journey end for now but wish my Legends family well.”
Ford said: “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.”
But executives were quick to add that it’s not necessarily the last we’ll see of Routh and Darhk on screen, with the door being left open for any future return.
“Of course, when we have had main characters in the past whose journeys take them away from the Waverider, it’s never truly goodbye,” Klemmer, Godfree and Shimizu said.
“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.”
The upcoming series sees Matt Ryan, who plays Constantine, promoted to series regular.
Legends of Tomorrow’s fifth season is slated to return in January 2020, airing on Sky One and Now TV in the UK.