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Matt Ryan on rejoining Legends of Tomorrow as 'a different character on the same TV show'

“The character had to be so different from John [Constantine] and bring a completely different dynamic to the group.” 

By James Comtois
Legends of Tomorrow 705 Still

John Constantine may be gone from the Arrowverse, but the actor playing him isn’t going anywhere. Following the tragic death of everyone’s favorite blonde-haired, chain-smoking paranormal investigator, actor Matt Ryan has rejoined the cast of The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow. But Ryan has swapped out John’s signature yellow Mackintosh coat and blonde locks for a three-piece suit, beard, and spectacles to play Dr. Gwyn Davies, an eccentric and neurotic scientist from the early 20th century responsible for inventing the time travel technology that the Legends rely on.

Having made his debut in yesterday’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Scientist,” it’s clear that Dr. Davies is nothing like Constantine in appearance or demeanor. Speaking with SYFY WIRE, Ryan explained that was by design — and what he loves about the character. 

“It’s crazy. In a way, the character had to be so different from John and bring a completely different dynamic to the group,” said Ryan. “When do you get a chance to play a different character on the same TV show? It forces the audience to look at you differently. He’s so different from John in terms of energy, it’s a real joy to play that out in front of the same audience.”

Ryan explained that while John Constantine is all-knowing, arrogant, and guarded, Dr. Davies is “very vulnerable and disarming and neurotic and open in a way that John wasn’t. He’s someone who has his heart on his sleeve, which is so different from John. And the connections the character can make with the other characters is so different from John. He almost feels like the grandfather of the group.”

Part of that, according to Ryan, is because of where the character comes from. “He’s a man of his time and stuck in that place, and through the Legends, he discovers a world both outside himself and within himself,” he said. “He’s never had anyone talk to him the way Sara or Zari talks to him. There’s a real journey there that the character goes through in real time.”

Of course, the more we get to know Dr. Davies, we learn that, like John, the good doctor is also battling demons he’d like to exorcise. “Like with John and Astra, Gwyn has guilt and shame and wants to go back and fix something,” said Ryan. “But the mechanisms driving Gwyn are different.”

Through this season, fans will see Dr. Gwyn Davies as “someone who is discovering himself through these new people and this new world he’s been thrust into. He’s a man who’s been through loads of trauma. He was a soldier; he was a warrior. His trauma has locked him down. So, who will he become?”

The next episode of Legends of Tomorrow — "Deus Ex Latrina" — airs Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.