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Legends of Tomorrow Boss Explains Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford's Departures

And teases what's ahead after that Crisis on Infinite Earths twist

Keisha Hatchett

DC's Legends of Tomorrow Season 5 will see both Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) and Nora Darhk (Courtney Ford) exit the series, a decision that showrunner Phil Klemmer said didn't come easy. Ahead of the upcoming season of the zany CW series, the Legends boss opened up about the characters' impending departures and why it's the right time for them to leave.

"The thing we like to think of is that our characters all have lives beyond the show," Klemmer told TV Guide. "In weird way, the Waverider is where all of these broken people can find kinship and camaraderie. [It] isn't exactly a permanent place. It's just like a place for the battered and the bruised, a sort of Neverland, but after a while they have grown-up responsibilities," he explained, noting that the door is always open for them to return.

Legends of Tomorrow's Caity Lotz Opens Up About Brandon Routh's Exit

After overcoming one giant obstacle -- Nora being evil -- Ray and Nora are in the best place they've ever been and now enjoy a pretty stable relationship. But a normal existence isn't suited for the Waverider, which acts as a sort of foster home for the unwanted. It makes sense, then, that this unlikely pair, who found a family in each other, would move on to other things.

We may not know how or when exactly Ray and Nora will leave, but according to Caity Lotz, Ray's absence will have a major effect on the crew -- especially Sara Lance (Lotz), who relies on him as her second-in-command. "Missing Ray will be a big... It'll be weird without him there. I think there's going to be definitely some adjusting that they're going to have to do," Lotz previously told TV Guide.

Arrow Boss Explains Why Crisis on Infinite Earths Merged Everyone into Earth Prime

Sara, along with Ray and Mick (Dominic Purcell), will enter Season 5 in a different headspace from the other Legends after the mind-blowing events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, which saw Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) die and the multiverse merge to form Earth Prime. Because Legends' upcoming season was written before Crisis, not much of what happened during the five-part event affects the overall story of the season. But we will see the fallout from Crisis through Sara, Mick, and Ray, who lived through those game-changing experiences and find themselves on a different level mentally than their teammates.

"In previous seasons, [they've] all kind of been on the same page at the top of the season, but this year, [some of] our legends lived through some very dark stuff. The premiere is [about], how do you come back to this fancy-free, fun-time gang when Oliver Queen has died?" Klemmer said.

Legends of Tomorrow returns for Season 5 Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 9/8c on the CW.

Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford, DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford, DC's Legends of Tomorrow

Bettina Strauss, Bettina Strauss/The CW