Routh is one of the longest serving Arrowverse actors still around, being introduced in the premiere of season 3 of Arrow as a rival to Oliver in both business and for Felicity’s affections. He began as a serious character with a tragic backstory, although since his relocation to the Waverider he has become something of a comic relief presence – quite a position in a show driven by unbridled lunacy – where his enthusiastic nerdery made him a fan favorite.
A screen grab of a brief Instagram interaction between Routh and a fan was posted to the show’s subreddit this week, where he makes it clear that the decision of him leaving was not his and one in which he had no say.
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Since Ray and Nora have become a couple on the show – the pair’s on screen rapport augmented by the actors being spouses in real life – their departure will likely also be together, and given their popularity among viewers, it will probably be on a positive note. Their return for guest appearances has not been ruled out, but given Routh’s evident disappointment at being let go from a job he clearly loves, coming back to it only briefly might not be all that appealing an option.
Exactly why Ray and Nora are being written out hasn’t been specified, although with it being evident that it was something neither Routh nor Ford wanted, the most probable explanation is that that the writers wanted to remove them to make way for the introduction of new characters to do something different with, carrying on the tradition of Legends of Tomorrow’s line up of superheroes being constantly in flux since practically its very beginning.