Before heading into deep space to reinvent the world of Superman's birth on SYFY's Krypton, writer/producer Cameron Welsh dipped his toes into the black magic side of DC's mythology with a season on the short-lived but much-loved NBC series Constantine.
As a writer and producer, Welsh was one of those who helped shape Matt Ryan's journey as Constantine in the first of what would prove to be several outings: after the series was cancelled, Ryan played John in the Justice League Dark animated film as well as on Arrow, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, and an animated series of his own for CW Seed. During an interview at Comic Con, Welsh said he was excited to see Ryan back in wardrobe as a series regular on Legends this year, and that he feels no ownership of the character, but is instead just happy to see Constantine live on in the TV space.
"I love that," Welsh said. "One of the things I love about comic book culture, whether it's in TV or film or comic books, it's that the characters never really belong to any one person; we can have multiple interpretations, and they don't cancel out anything. Sometimes you hear about this rage when somebody does a run on a comic book or a film, and it's different to the character that you remember from your favorite iteration -- but having a different take on it doesn't erase what was already there, you know? So I never really understand that. I think the more the better. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with the character. I love Matt Ryan, and he's the perfect Constantine, so to see him get a chance to pull on the overcoat and light up another [cigarette], it's great! I can't wait."8comments
Lighting up a cigarette was, of course, a point of contention between NBC and the Constantine producers; in the comics, his smoking is a key part of his character, not just aesthetically but as a part of his narrative. For TV, of course, NBC wanted it stricken from the show, which was a fight they ultimately lost in the second half of the season.
When Constantine came to The CW as a supporting character on Arrow, producers promised that elements that had turned NBC off from the comics -- John's bisexuality and his smoking -- would be carried over to the new network, giving Ryan a chance to play a version of John that has more of his traditional trappings, even if he was doing so in the context of a superhero universe where Constantine is not always comfortable.