Brandon Routh's Kingdom Come T-Shirt Stole Arrow's Final San Diego Comic-Con Panel

A very particular Superman is making their way to TV.
Image: Alex Ross (DC Comics)

Thousands of fans poured into San Diego Comic-Con’s Ballroom 20 yesterday expecting to see the Arrow cast’s emotional farewell during a panel for the show’s final season. That’s exactly what they saw (tears were shed), but what no one expected to witness was a very excited Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow) with some major news about the CW’s upcoming Crisis on Infinite Earths event.

After seven years, the series that gave birth to the CW’s Arrowverse is finally coming to a close, and in the first trailer for Arrow’s final season, Oliver Queen’s got unfinished business to take care of. But somehow not even the end of the show that started this whole thing off in the first place was actually the biggest news out of Arrow’s panel. Superman was?

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The last big Arrowverse event, Elseworlds, didn’t fundamentally change the multiverse of CW superhero shows as we know it, but it closed with a teaser for the next big tentpole that almost certainly would. A version of DC Comics’ Crisis on Infinite Earths is coming to the small screen, and while Arrow’s core cast was tight-lipped about just what kind of crisis their characters are going to be dealing with, Legends of Tomorrow’s Routh made a surprise appearance on stage sporting a very telling outfit.

While talking about how the creative team came around on the idea of Routh reprising his Superman role, executive producer Marc Guggenheim joked that Routh’s Superman Returns suit wasn’t available to be repurposed for the CW:

Well, I spoke to WB, we actually discovered this last year on last year’s crossover: Every time they have a costume, they basically put it in their archives. And they don’t like to let it out.

So we won’t be able to use your original costume. We’re still figuring it out. We’ll dress you in something, obviously. If you have any ideas, we’re all ears.

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Routh, in on the joke, wasted no time and stood up to rip open his button-down to reveal a shirt emblazoned with the Kingdom Come Superman emblem, prompting gasps from the audience for obvious reasons. In Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ Kingdom Come, an Elseworlds story, Superman hails from a dystopian future where the superheroes of old have given way to a younger generation of hyper-violent vigilantes who have no issue with killing their enemies on sight, ethics and “justice” be damned.

Kingdom Come’s Superman is notably older and world wearier than most of his mainstream counterparts, meaning that when he makes his live-action debut this during the Crisis Event, he’ll almost certainly be wary, and perhaps even adversarial towards the Arrowverse’s heroes.

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Arrow’s eighth and final season premieres on October 15.


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Charles Pulliam-Moore

io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.