David S. Goyer on Constantine's season 1 arc, casting Zed, and uniting DC's TV and film worlds

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Jul 14, 2014, 1:10 PM EDT (Updated)

Sunday, the cast and crew behind NBC's Constantine participated in the 2014 Summer TCA (Television Critics Association) panel. The biggest name behind the show is David S. Goyer, who serves as its executive producer. Goyer answered some tough questions about Constantine regarding Lucy Griffiths' shocking exit, the great smoking debate and DC's next supernatural hero.

In regard to Griffith's Liv, Goyer and fellow EP Daniel Cerone admited that they felt "a bit hamstrung by her." She was their own creation and not a part of the source material, "whereas the new character, Zed, is from the comic books." Zed is described as being "a psychic." She's also "somebody that already has powers when she meets John." Goyer teased that she has an interesting and dark past. 

Despite their ability to restructure the series, the casting switcheroo does raise a concern. In the pilot, the writing asks you to invest in John and Liv's relationship. If Liv was such a problem, why not recast and reshoot? Goyer explained:

"We decided we didn't need to [recast]. One of the hallmarks of John is that his friends drop like flies. People tend to die around him ... they almost all die. That's his curse. That's the price of doing business. He is this classic noir character who often ends up alone. We thought it was kind of consistent with the character."

Here's a photo of Angelica Celaya, who will play Zed in the series.

What about John's famous smoking habit? Many comic fans are concerned that it will be watered down to appease the network's standards and practices. But Goyer believes they can find a happy medium. "He is a smoker in the show. We're not shying away from it, but we're not glorifying it." The series will highlight many of the character's unhealthy addictions.

"Well, we've already shown in the pilot that he's a heavy, heavy drinker," Goyer declared. "I will say that John is a character, in the comic books -- and we stay truthful to that in the show -- he has a lot of addictions. He has a very addictive personality. He drinks a lot. In the comic books he smokes a lot. He's clearly addicted to danger.  That is an aspect of his character that we definitely want to explore and the thing with a lot of addictions is it has a high cost. That's something that the 'Dangerous Habit' storyline explored obviously in the film and in the comic books. So at a certan point, if we're lucky enough, that's something we'd like to explore in the show as well."

Speaking of storylines, what can we expect from the first season? "I would say that the first season of our show is loosely tracking a version of the storyline in which John was introduced, 'American Gothic.' Certainly that was the inspiration for it." Meanwhile, the producers hope Constantine will jump-start something bigger and more expansive.

"The intention is that we've got DC's occult universe open to us and the fact that we have Doctor Fate's helmet in the pilot is a clear indication that we're going to be doing that. And we're introducing another character from the DC Universe within the first eight or nine episodes as well. [They'll appear] in a recurring way, and we'll see where it goes. But it's not just from Hellblazer. The occult world is open to us."

DC Comics currently has a tight grip on TV comic book properties. This fall alone will feature the debut of Constantine, Gotham and The Flash. Could we ever see a crossover event between the shows, regardless of their networks? "Obviously you can see the character, but it's up to DC," Goyer stated. "[But] the same actor? I guess if legal could work it out. We'll see. We want to get on the air first."

Goyer strayed away from non-Constantine-related questions, but he did entertain one movie-centric query. Many have suggested that DC should unite its television and film properties. Is that possible? "To me that feels like a huge headache," Goyer replied. "But I guess we'll see what happens."