John Constantine has an odd history in both television and movies. Back in 2005, the anti-hero made his live-action debut with Keanu Reeves playing the titular character. The critical reception was lukewarm, but the box office returns weren’t particularly great. Constantine made near $250 million worldwide but given its huge budget of $100 million (that’s not including marketing and campaigns) then it just wasn’t a good enough number to warrant any more installments. Still, DC and Warner Brothers didn’t give up on the property and a Constantine show was born. This time, Matt Ryan played the anti-hero and the feedback of the 13-episode season was made with a better response than the original film.
However, this saying never gets old, but Hollywood is a business first and foremost. For a name brand, the Constantine show simply failed to garner strong ratings. Though to be fair, the show originally aired on a death spot, Friday nights on NBC at 10pm. Still, the character has moved around various live action shows since then, but it’s time to bring back the world of John Constantine because the landscape of heroes has vastly changed since 2014. Constantine first appeared in The Saga of Swamp Thing in #37. Constantine was originally a supporting character but as the television adaptation showcased, the DC character can be very interesting in his own right. Now, the question about a revival means should Matt Ryan himself be brought back in the role of John Constantine? If DC wants him back in the role then it’s highly unlikely that people will complain about Ryan returning. After all, he’s still the voice actor for DC animation as the title character.
However, it would be wise if Ryan didn’t return. This has nothing to do with the actor himself, nor the quality of the show, but let’s be real, Constantine failed ratings-wise. At the end of the day, not many audiences were interested. Business-wise, the world of Constantine would be better served by putting a new name in the role. For the respect of fans, it’s not impossible to catch-up with the original television Constantine. If DC simply decided to do a mini-series finalizing the story of Constantine, it would at least put an end to the live chapter of the Matt Ryan version. He doesn’t particularly have to die. Though if the property is going to continue, then it would be better if he died. Offering a sense of closure would tell fans that they didn’t waste their time investing in the character. There’s still plenty of stories to tell with the Matt Ryan version, though it shouldn’t come under the CW banner.
However, the new version doesn’t have to change the persona of the character as a whole. In fact, DC could connect the rebooted version with the miniseries. The biggest hurdle would be using the John Constantine name, but who says that the new version has to be John Constantine. Perhaps the dead Constantine’s name could be used as a surname for the next man to step-up in the anti-hero role. It works for Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman, it can surely work for the new Constantine. However, DC would likely not connect the dots and simply start over; Have the cynical and foul-mouthed British guy struggling between the battles of Heaven and Hell, and deeply dive back into that fascinating world. What makes Constantine great is that he’s an extremely complex character. At heart, he’s a good guy, but sometimes the devil takes over him. That constant struggle of wanting to do good makes for juicy content. However, it’s not just the man himself, but the people surrounding Constantine and the fact that they continue to die because of their association with him. It’s rare that we see heroes have a constant battle with themselves about being good or evil, and it would be a shame if the world of Constantine wasn’t explored once again. He’s essentially the tame version of Deadpool, who’s pretty much a crazed (But loveable) psychopath.
However, there’s plenty of directions to go when it comes to playing with this character. The reboot can also tackle him as an investigator. Again, there’s plenty of stories to tell, though it would be wise not to follow the extremely similar path of the NBC series. I know that the show was mostly faithful to the comics, but it could come across as a knock-off if there’s too many similarities to the 2014 series. There’s still plenty of stories to tell with Constantine, and hopefully DC gives the anti-hero another chance to do so.