Today at the Television Critics Association’s annual Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, Arrow and Flash executive producer Greg Berlanti revealed that he and his fellow producers Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg are in early talks about an Atom spin-off series starring Brandon Routh, whose Ray Palmer is set to become DC’s iconic mighty mite in the second half of Arrow‘s current third season. While speaking on the CW’s Arrow/Flash panel Berlanti said he’s not allowed to say any more about the spin-off. But we caught up with Guggenheim immediately afterwards, who elaborated on why Routh’s character deserves his own show, and what fans can expect when his Atom suit is finally unveiled on Arrow!
NERDIST: You just mentioned you’ve given some consideration to an Atom spin-off series…
MARC GUGGENHEIM: The thing that we’ve been talking about is just how do we further expand the universe; and we love Brandon and we love having him on Arrow.
N: He brings a new dynamic to the show in his scenes with Emily Bett Rickards’ Felcity, a kind of screwball comedy vibe.
MG: He does. When we met with Brandon, the whole point of Ray Palmer for us — not the whole point but a big piece of Ray Palmer — was… Felicity’s voice is of a different show and we always say that Emily’s playing tennis against herself. [Laughs.] So we wanted to create a character that could vibrate at her frequency. And Ray really brings that and brings that energy and he’s so much fun to write. He’s a joy to write. Brandon’s so terrific and embodies the role so well that when we talk about how to further expand things, he’s a natural person to talk about. It’s like Brandon said on the panel, originally when we met with him we just wanted to bring a great character onto the show and we wanted a great actor to play him. That’s really how it always starts. With the exception of Grant Gustin on Arrow last year, there’s never been a [decision] to bring in a character with the intention to spin them off. It’s always, “What services the show the best?”
N: Thus far your discussions about an Atom show have been preliminary?
MG: Yeah, we’ve talked in the most preliminary of ways about doing something with Brandon beyond Arrow.
N: Is that something you’ve kept in mind when designing his costume, about whether it could work in an Atom series as well as on episodes of Arrow?
MG: No, the costume is just “How do we get it to work on Arrow?” Maya Mani did the design that she always does. It’s her best costume, and that’s really saying something. It’s coming together beautifully. Brandon just did his third fitting with it, and it’s the most ambitious costume we’ve ever done on the show. One of the things I like about it is we did it without consideration of a spinoff. We did it because this is a cool thing to have on Arrow.
N: It sounds unique in that it will have an armor component but not be CG like Iron Man’s suit.
MG: No. And our goal when we had an idea to do a super suit was “How do you do it in a way that’s not Iron Man?” That’s the trick creatively. Because we don’t want to duplicate Iron Man, we want to do our own thing. So there’s a lot of practical elements to the costume that on Iron Man they have done with CG. We’re gonna do it practically.
N: Is it to soon to say which episode the suit will debut in?
MG: It is only in so far in that it’s one of those things that I’ve got to get clearance to talk about. But I finally know. Unlike every other time I’ve done an interview, where it’s like, “It’s when the suit’s ready!” [Laughs.] Now I finally know what episode it’s going to be.
N: This must be your biggest technical challenge yet on Arrow in that you’re not just introducing a new character with super powers but the universe in which he travels as well. That’s gotta be expensive.
MG: Very much so. And we’re doing in addition to the costume a digital double like they have on Flash for Barry Allen, so that’s its own envelope-pushing thing. Yeah, we’re trying some new stuff that we’ve never done before production-wise on the show — and practically. That’s exciting. It’s always exciting to push the envelope but it’s also nerve-wracking at the same time.
N: We can’t wait to have a new Atom action figure lined up next to our Arrow and Flash figures.
MG: Yeah, they’re already planning the action figure!
N: Excellent… Thank you, sir. It’s always a pleasure.
MG: Of course. Thank you!
What do you folks think? Does the Atom deserve his own show? And how friggin’ cool will it be to watch Ray Palmer battle evil alongside Oliver Queen (and perhaps Barry Allen)? Let us know below!