Back in 2006, Superman Returns was supposed to be the start of a brand new era for the Last Son of Krypton on the big screen. However, it ultimately failed to ignite a new franchise, with the next cinematic outing for the hero being 2013’s Man of Steel reboot. Nowadays, star Brandon Routh is a DC icon, having played the Atom in the Arrowverse for ages, but the first few years after Returns were a tough time for the actor.
While speaking with Michael Rosenbaum – Smallville‘s Lex Luthor – on his Inside Of You podcast, Routh opened up about the “trauma” he went through following Returns turning out not to be a massive success. The worst part seemed to be that he was unable to put the role behind him as he didn’t find out there wasn’t going to be a sequel for a long time.
“I would say that the end of my run as Superman in Superman Returns that did not pan out the way I thought it was going to, the way everyone around me thought it was going to. I had to really come to terms with a lot of that. There was no sequel, the movie was widely well-reviewed, people liked the movie, but it, you know, made almost $400 million worldwide but that wasn’t enough. And it was a very slow fizzle out of the possibility of a sequel over the next two, three years and I did everything that I could do, that I thought, in my world to help make it happen.”
Routh went on to say that his wife Courtney Ford – who likewise stars on Legends of Tomorrow as Nora Darhk – helped him through this difficult period. He also spoke about how he thankfully didn’t turn to any self-destructive behavior during this time, with his “coping mechanism” being an addition to video games.
“She knew me best then, she knows me best now and so going through that whole trauma of Superman Returns, the end of Superman Returns was a long drawn out process of me in denial for much of it and thankfully, I guess, I didn’t lean on drugs or alcohol, partying. I played World of Warcraft endlessly … it wasn’t helping me. It was a coping mechanism but it wasn’t teaching me things until I finally came, you know, had several experiences where I had to come to terms with that and she was part of that.”
These comments echo what the actor said last year about his lack of closure with the role. Fortunately, he eventually found that when he got to play Superman for a second time in the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event. Since then, fans have been clamoring to see more of him in the red and blue suit, though Routh says this could be the last time he wears the cape. If it is, hopefully it allowed him to close that chapter of his life in a more positive way than Superman Returns did.