Brandon Routh talks Legends of Tomorrow and DC Universe Online

Brandon Routh doesn't just play a superheroes on TV and in the movies, he plays them in his spare time, too.

The first season of Legends of Tomorrow is drawing to a close, but Brandon Routh isn’t done playing superheroes during the break between seasons. DC Universe Online launched for the XBox One on April 29th, and Mr. Routh has spent some time re-living some of his superhero roles, and having adventures of his own creation.

Brandon Routh has always had some nerdy bona fides. He was a Superman fan who got to play Superman in the movies, and now he’s a gamer (he was already a big Warcraft fan) taking his superhero experience to another level. We spoke with Mr. Routh about how his time acting in the DC Universe has informed his experience playing DC Universe Online. He also told us some fun stories about what goes on behind the scenes at Legends of Tomorrow.

You can also check out a video with Brandon exploring the game, too!

You said your experience is usually with fantasy games like World of Warcraft, but here you are with superhero games. It doesn’t feel like you’re taking your work home with you, is it?

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No! In a way, I think it’s more cathartic. It allows me to relive or have an alternate ending to something.

I get to do a lot more imagining than most of the population as far as playing a superhero is concerned. It’s just a different way of interpreting and expressing myself through the character. Creating my own was a unique experience, as far as deciding whether I want to be more like Superman or the Atom or none at all.

When you talk about playing out some alternate endings, are you referring to anything specific?

Not yet, but I do know there’s a Legends of Tomorrow portion of the game that I haven’t been able to play yet. It’s an extra download that’s in the vein of our show, so you can meet up with some of the characters from the show and have a little bit of a Legends of Tomorrow experience. 

How many characters have you created?

Just a couple. The first one was a character called Earth Baller, which was me trying to do something not too associated with any of the past characters I’ve played and to keep an open mind. He turned into an earth-based power guy who had these awesome shoes that I found, that were like basketball shoes. So he became Earth Baller.

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With other games I get very detail oriented or I have a history in the world, so I want it to be a specific way. But with this game I was able to be more creative in the process of creating the character and I could be more creative and open because its a brand new world to me. And there were so many powers that I didn’t even know what they would be like, so I could have more of an open palette.

How long did you spend creating a character?

I’m not gonna say that it was less than an hour! A good amount of time, though. That’s one of the most fun parts of this.

Do you have a regular group of people you play with online?

I haven’t been able to do that a ton, because my schedule is kind of unreliable right now because I’m a dad and we’re going back to shooting Legends very soon. My time to play has been somewhat limited based on that. I don’t have any usual people I play with.

You didn’t try to get the rest of the Legends of Tomorrow cast in on this?

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This all started after we wrapped shooting. But it’s definitely one that we could team up on.

There’s definitely a real collection of personalities on that show and so many have to have their stories serviced every week. Are there particular challenges you have during your downtime to stay engaged?

As a little emotional escape, I’ve used video games throughout my career to mitigate the stresses that comes with a filming schedule. This one hits a little closer to home because I could work through some work-style frustrations I might have. But it’s definitely something that could be used as an escape for a half hour or an hour between scenes. I think it really mimics the setup we have going on Legends of Tomorrow where we have all these different characters with different abilities and different mindsets but we all have to work together like you would online.

Was Legends originally pitched as an Atom show? Was the idea of you getting a spinoff always part of the deal when you signed on to play Ray Palmer?

No. I think it was something that I thought was a possibility based on what they did with The Flash. I just thought, “if I do my work well and do a nice job, who knows what can come of this?” I never dreamed of Legends of Tomorrow, and I think in the end that’s the best scenario of all that could have been.

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I just thought if I did well, and if the character did well, there would be more for Ray to do on Arrow or The Flash or a new show. I’m just happy that I’m getting to continue to play Ray and have him inspire things and have him in games like DCU Online.

You’ve played two superheroes now. Is there anything particularly moving or touching that has come from the fans during your time as the Atom? Ray is a different kind of inspirational figure than Superman.

I can’t remember exactly, so I can’t quote the fan. But there was a time, about a year ago at a convention, when somebody remarked how they really appreciated how Ray was able to handle some of the situations about the heartbreak in more of an adult way. The first breakup with Felicity happened on Arrow, they really appreciated that he didn’t name call, and while it was dramatic, he still understood the implications that she was in love with another man and he handled it in a way they hadn’t necessarily seen before.

In large part, that’s due to the writers, but it was also a conscious effort on my end to have him be as understanding and gracious as possible, even though his world and possible future were being destroyed.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened on set?

None of us are practical jokers, but our set, as amazing as it is, we beat it up a lot. We have a lot of explosions happening all the time, and a lot of the funny moments happen when part of the set falls apart. Like if the Waverider is supposed to be flying at maximum speed and part of the seat breaks we all laugh at that. Those are good team uniting moments. Or sometimes an explosion goes off that’s supposed to go off much later, it’s fun for everybody to laugh about it.

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How big is that Waverider set?

It’s a full set you can walk through, which is nice. It makes it really immersive and makes it feel like you’re really there. You can do long walk-and-talks that make it feel like you’re not in a soundstage, but actually in the ship, which is pretty awesome. A lot of painstaking work was done, not just crafting it, but designing it and that makes the scope of our show even bigger. That’s emblematic in the game as well, in terms of the landscapes and the environments you get to play.

When do you go into production on Legends of Tomorrow Season 2.

I just know we’re starting earlier in the season this year. As far as I know, I’m back. I haven’t heard otherwise!

You can download DC Universe Online right now on the Xbox store. It’s free to play.