When the perfect melding of actor and character happens, it can oftentimes transcend whatever film or TV project they’re involved in. That’s certainly the case with Matt Ryan, who brought DC’s John Constantine — Hellblazer — to life in NBC’s Constantine, which ran for 13 episodes in the 2014-15 season. But the end of the show was not the end of that actor/character combo. Ryan played him again on “Haunted,” a fourth season episode of Arrow, provided his voice in the animated film Justice League Dark (2017), and will be voicing him again in a forthcoming web series. But he’ll back in live action on two episodes of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow beginning today, Monday, February 12th.
GEEK: For some reason, Constantine, tone wise, seems like an odd fit for Legends of Tomorrow.
MARC GUGGENHEIM: That’s funny, because it never occurred to me that he wasn’t a fit. But you’re right, he’s an unconventional fit. It’s something that we’ve been thinking about doing for a while, and really have been wanting to do since the start of Legends. But for my money, one of the fun aspects of Legends is the fact that we get a chance to pull from all different corners of the Arrowverse. Because Constantine was in season four of Arrow, he’s basically now sort of in the Arrowverse. So the idea that he would appear on this show just felt like something that, A) Legends can do, and, B) we already had him on Arrow, which was so much fun. I loved Matt Ryan’s interactions with Stephen Amell. It felt a little bit like, “Okay we’ve done that before, let’s do something new.” And Legends, like I said, pulls from all these different corners, and it just felt kind of right.
And then you get into the fact that we’re dealing with a lot of magic and mysticism in season three of Legends. So as we were talking out the season-long mythology, we were, like, we’ll know when the time is right when a certain kind of exposition is needed, and it would be really great to bring in Constantine to be the messenger of that information. And, again, we have the connection thanks to Arrow. We have the connection that Constantine brought Sarah Lance back to life or basically recovered her soul. Wouldn’t it be fun to revisit that relationship? So there were a whole variety of different things that made us go, “Okay, this time we really want to bring him in.” And more than anything, it was working it out with Matt’s schedule. So we basically have been stalking him. And following his stage obligations and at the moment it looked like he had a window, we pounced.
Apparently, he didn’t mind being pounced on. So what does the character of John Constantine bring to the mix?
One thing, like Rory points out, is he’s another skinny Englishman in a trench coat. So the Legends have some experience with that. And I think it’s always fun to have a character come in from the outside and be able to react to them, because the legends are so unique and interesting. Constantine’s take on them is a bit fun. One of the things we’re really excited about is we’re going to bring in some elements from the comic book that they didn’t get a chance to bring into the original series. Mainly the smoking and the fact that he’s bisexual. So those are things that I think we’re excited to sort of reincorporate into his character. Like I said, he shows up at a point in the season where we’re turning over some cards as far as the season-long mythology is concerned. He’s got an important role to play. And he’s kind of like the perfect narrative vessel for this information.
People always say, “Never say never.” But I’m just curious, given the fact of what you feel about the character, do you see him coming back again after these two episodes?
Look, as far as I’m concerned, Matt is welcome anytime on any of the shows. He’s obviously a busy guy, but I think he’s fantastic. I love his interpretation of Constantine. I love the fact that there’s so much love for that show and that we get a chance to keep it alive in some way through Matt’s appearance on these shows.
The afterlife of that character, and Matt as him, has been pretty amazing. Given the appearances on Arrow and Legends, him voicing the character in Justice League Dark and the new animated web series… why isn’t somebody bringing that show back?
That’s a great question. You got me. I’d love to see it. That’s the thing: the show had a short run, but a really beloved one. And, you’re right, Matt has certainly kept the character alive. But as with a lot of things, the answer to that question is far above my pay grade.
Be sure to check out the debut of John Constantine on tonight’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow!
Images: The CW