Before Ray Palmer joined the team of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow he was a man that had come back from the dead (not literally, he had just been very, very, very small) that was searching for his purpose in life. While he didn’t find that with Palmer Technologies, he was found a sense of purpose on this team of Legends that are fighting to make their destinies the stuff of legend.
We chatted with Legends of Tomorrow star Brandon Routh at WonderCon on Sunday, where he discussed Ray Palmer’s growth, his burgeoning relationship with Kendra, and shedding light on how Ray isn’t always that smiley, humorous character we typically know him as.
As we know Ray Palmer is someone who is often the optimist of the bunch, and that shines through in his demeanor. Routh said that through his journey that Ray is learning about how to do that in a more evolved manner where he understands that people can’t be who he wants them to be.
“Prior to this journey Ray would probably have said, ‘Let’s be positive, let’s think the best of everyone all the time,'” Routh said. “I think there’s a way of doing that, but an evolved way of doing that that Ray is learning. Which is not allow people to be what you want them to be, but to also understand that they may not be and to understand their true motivations; and to understand that even though you’ve got two criminals on your team that they’re not defined solely by being criminals or by their past. They have the ability to change, they have the ability to be something more, and you have the ability to work together with them. Just because you work together with them doesn’t make you a criminal either. Their stink doesn’t necessarily wash off on you unless you allow it to.”
Regarding Ray’s journey coming up in this first season, Routh teased some defining moments for his character that will give us a look into a different side of Ray Palmer that audiences might not be aware. Expect more heroism for the man they call The Atom as we near the final run of Legends‘ freshman season.
// “As the season progresses he has a few more heroic moments, which I think have a stronger payoff because he hasn’t had — not that he hasn’t been a hero — a few defining moments where we see a little bit of different shades to his character,” Routh said. “And that’s exciting to play — to show that he’s not always smiley, joking all the time. But when it comes down to it he can ultimately turn on a different gear and get into business mode and have some desire to really beat up the bad guy and take him out.”
Part of that change in Ray’s demeanor has been his burgeoning relationship with Kendra (Ciara Renee), which has blossomed from cute crush to potential love. Routh says that Ray’s past experiences — namely the death of his fiancee before he became The Atom — has affected the way he protects those close to him.
“I would say that’s a motivating factor,” Routh said. “As their relationship changes he cares more for her when she’s in a dangerous situation. It’s more immediate. Especially since he missed the opportunity to help save Ana (Ray’s deceased fiancee). It’s even more important for him to protect those that he loves; to keep them out of danger.”
Watch our full interview with Routh below, where he discusses playing his character in 1950s America, taking a beating for Rory in the past, and teased the reveal