A fan petition to bring the cancelled NBC series Constantine back to life on a cable network is nearing another milestone, even while there is some question as to whether John Constantine could plausibly head back to TV at all.
The petition, which scrambled to 50,000 signatures in the week after Matt Ryan reprised the role of John Constnatine in a guest appearance on Arrow, is now closing in on 75,000.
For a while following the huge fan interest in Constantine's appearance on Arrow, there was some speculation that Matt Ryan could return to that series in the future or even head to DC's Legends of Tomorrow once his current run on Broadway ends. This week, though, rumors that John Constantine could be headed to the big screen as part of the not-dead-yet Dark Universe film have left those who remember what happened to Arrow's Suicide Squad wondering whether Ryan will get another shot at the trench coat at all.
As of this writing, the petition has more than 69,000 signatures. When we covered the fans' attempts to reach 50,000, it was hovering around 47,000 and managed to top 50,000 within a couple of hours.
"The dark supernatural TV series Constantine originally aired on NBC for one 13 episode season only to be cancelled. This left a very strong and avid fanbase without any network for their show to call home,' says the petition (linked above). "Constantine needs to be saved by another network to give the fans closure. This situation would be a win for both sides. The network to pick it up will receive a boost in ratings and revenue while the fans will be able to see their beloved show live once more. On November 4th, 2015, it was proved that the Constantine fan base is still very much alive as evidenced by the reception to the character's appearance on the 5 episode of Arrow's fourth season. We encourage you to sign this petition to show the various networks available to pick this show up that there is in fact interest for the show to live on."
Arrow's Constantine crossover episode incorporated elements from the defunct series, most obviously series star Matt Ryan, and saw a bump in the ratings from previous episodes this year. It's also the most highly-rated episode of Arrow ever in our TV Database:
Of course, while Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment have consciously separated their film and TV universes in order to keep as many options open as possible, they've still erred on the side of almost never having the same characters appear in two different places at once. Yes, Gotham has Bruce Wayne and Alfred while the pair will also appear in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. And yes, all signs point to Barry Allen being The Flash in the upcoming feature film as well as the currently-ongoing CW series. But those are flagship characters. More common is the way Superman is referenced but rarely seen on Supergirl or the Suicide Squad has been phased out of Arrow to accommodate that movie.
So...could Ryan reprise the role of Constantine while Dark Universe remains in development? Almost certainly, but it might be a harder sell to have him on TV as the film's release date nears. And then, of course, there's the issue of casting. Hardcore Constantine fans, who call themselves "Hellblazers" after the comic that stars the character, have already started a pushback campaign on social media encouraging Warners to consider Ryan for any prospective feature film role.
The petition is targeting El Rey Network (who air Constantine reruns), The CW (who air Arrow), Netflix, Yahoo Screen, AMC, and the USA Network. In the case of USA, the thinking is that it's a cable net with ties to NBC, who aired the original 13 episodes.
It's arguably been harder for Constantine to attract new audiences because digital sales of the existing season were ceased on Amazon, Vudu, iTunes and other services earlier this fall. It's unclear whether this could be in preparation for a potential DVD release, as some fans hope, or just to force fans looking to catch the show to watch on El Rey.
While NBC wasn't able to keep Constantine afloat -- officially I think the answer was that it cost too much -- it's worth noting that with similar numbers, Constantine could be a legitimate hit on cable. Fridays at 10 p.m., where the show aired, is the second-lowest-rated time slot in TV. Still, the series averaged a solid .9 in the all-important 18-49 demographic . Arrow has done slightly better than 1.0 so far this season, and obviously that's one of CW's biggest hits.