Despite his solo show being unceremoniously cancelled after just one season, Matt Ryan’s take on John Constantine has gotten a new lease on life in the Arrowverse. He’s become a stalwart member of the Legends of Tomorrow crew, and now the weirdest superhero show on TV has set its sights on one of the Hellblazer’s most famous comic stories.
Fans got a shock at the end of the latest episode of The CW series, where a bit of tinkering in Hell fast-forwarded Constantine’s death date. He apparently had 10 years left until lung cancer was supposed to kill him (every version of Constantine smokes like a chimney, it seems), but now that lung cancer is coming for him right now. For comic fans, the story should sound familiar — as it borrows heavily from the ‘Dangerous Habits” arc in the Hellblazer run.
Executive producer Grainne Godfree told TV Line they wanted to “give him one of the iconic storylines from the comics, where he gets lung cancer.” Of course, this being Constantine, his impending doom makes for some ripe storytelling territory: “[H]e’s going to try to do everything he can, in the most John Constantine type way, to get out of it … wrestling with mortality and all this rich, deep character stuff.”
Though comic fans might be familiar with the finer points of the story, which finds Constantine facing the very human condition of lung cancer, executive producer Phil Klemmer promises they’re still hoping to put a fresh twist on the story. Which makes sense, especially considering the small screen Constantine has a zany supporting cast of time traveling heroes to back him up. Unlike his comic counterpart.
“[It’s] a balance, because we want to honor [Dangerous Habits], [but] at the same time, we want to break new ground, as well,” he told TV Line. “Hopefully, we found the right balance with that. But there’s no predicting where we’re headed based on the books, [which were] a great launching point.”
So yeah, we might not have gotten this classic story on Constantine’s solo show, but at least the Arrowverse has kept the fan favorite demonologist around long enough to see this story finally get a chance to be told on the small screen.
Legends of Tomorrow airs Tuesday nights on The CW.