Is he actually authorized to do that? That’s what I thought earlier this summer when Stephen Amell offered to appear as Oliver Queen on Constantine as an incentive for any network which might rescue it off the cancellation pile. It obviously didn’t work. Constantine is still very dead. However, I wasn’t entirely sure Amell would be able to follow through on his promise even if Constantine had been saved. After all, this is a world in which the same exact people who make Arrow and The Flash are now making Supergirl, but since the shows air on different networks there will be no crossovers. Arrow/Flash will keep doing its thing on The CW, and Supergirl will fly high on CBS. That’s despite the fact that CBS is a co-owner of the The CW, and all of the shows are based on DC characters. So, unless any hypothetical new season of Constantine ended up on The CW I struggled to imagine Oliver Queen crossing paths with John Constantine in an episode of Constantine. Not once did I ever stop to ponder the possibility of Constantine actually showing up in an episode of Arrow.
Of course, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Constantine the TV show is not coming back, but that fire Stephen Amell lit a couple of months ago ultimately led to the head of the CW announcing Matt Ryan will appear as John Constantine in one episode of Arrow’s upcoming season. He went out of his way to make it clear that this is designed as a one-off, and they are not looking to revive Constantine (or do any further DC shows) on their network anytime soon.
Fair enough. Matt Ryan was the best part of Constantine, and getting to see him in character one more time is celebration enough.
But what use does Arrow actually have for a magician? Sure, the show has long since shed its Batman Begins-inspired past and fully embraced a world with superpowers, but it’s not like Oliver also encounters supernatural beasties or kooky types casting spells in his direction. It’s still mostly of the punch-punch, kick-kick, shoot-arrow, shoot-arrow variety. That’s not a world which has much use for John Constantine, who left his own show fighting off the literal demons of the apocalypse.
Here’s the thing, though: Arrow has already incorporated the existence of magic into its universe. The explanation for the life-preserving waters of the Lazarus Pit in Nanda Parbat is pretty much just “It’s magic!” So, is that how they’re going to incorporate Constantine? Will he be like a supernatural plumber when the Lazarus Pit springs a leak?
Maybe, maybe not. However, producer Wendy Mericle just told Collider the basic storyline which will bring John to Arrow. Now is the time that you should stop reading if you don’t want a spoiler. In fact, you know what, now is the time when I stop and put up:
Well, that’s out of the way. Here’s the pertinent quote from Collider’s interview:
How long have you been working to get John Constantine onto Arrow, and was it a challenge to make that happen?
MERICLE: I wouldn’t say it was a challenge. It is tied to Sara Lance’s resurrection. We knew that Sara had died at the beginning of Season 3 and that she was going to be on Legends, so we had to find a way to bring her back. We were like, “How do you do that?,” and he was the most obvious character to do that. We feel honored and excited that we got him, and that Matt Ryan is available. He’s amazing.
Was there a Plan B for that storyline, if that hadn’t all worked out the way it has?
MERICLE: There is always a Plan B. That said, we really pulled out all the stops. DC and everybody came together to make it happen. We didn’t have to go to Plan B, but you always have to have a Plan B, and then a Plan C sometimes, too. You just don’t know, especially with something that high-profile and challenging. It’s great.
Well, that makes sense.
This is all kind of inherently cool, but it’s also kind of strange. While John Constantine is a DC character and thus now fair game since his show was killed by NBC, Matt Ryan’s version of John Constantine is something he put together with David S. Goyer and Daniel Cerone, Constantine‘s co-creators. Arrow’s producers had nothing to do with that, and now they’re writing for this character. Then again, Ryan’s take on the character is close enough to the comics version that they can probably pull it off. Just have him say “bollocks” a couple of times and call it good, right? Either way, maybe The CW will let him actually smoke a cigarette more than NBC would.