One trope as old as the hills -- and one that many comic books and comic book shows have been criticized for employing over the years -- is to have a character from an underrepresented group (be it race, gender, or religion) exit a series in order to "make room" for another. At this point, most shows are conscious of the trope and avoid it, but that makes situations like the one DC's Legends of Tomorrow recently faced a potential target for criticism and jokes.
Series regular Franz Drameh, who played Jax, one half of Firestorm, left the series recently, and shortly thereafter came news that Keiynan Lonsdale will bring Wally West to the show. Swapping out one young, black character for another was something some fans had joked about or questioned, even while expressing excitement about Wally getting a new home.
Speaking with ComicBook.com during this weekend's DC in DC event, series star Brandon Routh said that while the cast and crew are aware of the trope, he does not think it will be a concern for fans, who already have an understanding of the characters, who they are, and what they can bring from the table apart from their demographics.
“Yeah. You know, I think that goes with the talent that Keiynan brings to his role and to this newly-forming — is it forming? — energy of him coming in to be a part of our show for a little bit,” said Routh, who plays Ray Palmer on the series. “I think for the most part, our writers are writing for us as a team and putting the team first, and if we can make poignant stories about cultural differences or religious differences, then we do, but if we can’t, then we are all working together on the team to solve history, which is I feel like a place that we can get to in the world, where we can understand that we all have differences but we can all talk person to person, human to human.”
Drameh left the series at the same time as Victor Garber, who played Dr. Martin Stein and was Jax's partner in the Firestorm Matrix. While Garber's exit had been public knowledge, Jax's departure was more of a surprise. Drameh recently paid a visit to the Waverider to let his old castmates meet his newborn child, suggesting that the timing may have been right for him to take a break.
Network president Mark Pedowitz said during a recent interview that Wally would be heading to Legends of Tomorrow for a while, but did not say whether Lonsdale would become a permanent fixture on the show. Londsale, who debuted on The Flash, had been largely sidelined on that show and recently took a hiatus wherein his character left Central City altogether.
There is no word on whether Jax will come back, or who -- if anyone -- will fill Stein's "seat" on the Waverider.