john constantine nbc

Photo via Constantine/NBC

John Constantine will finally be a ‘chain-smoking bisexual’ on TV

Plus, they're finally allowing him to smoke onscreen.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Oct 13, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 2:27 pm CDT

After several false starts, we’re finally going to see a (relatively) accurate adaptation of DC ComicsJohn Constantine.

In the original Hellblazer comics, John Constantine was a bisexual, chain-smoking demon hunter. His storylines often tied into British politics and counterculture themes, and he was more likely to win through guile than by using magic. Unfortunately, Hollywood never got the memo. The Keanu Reeves movie was entertaining in its own right but bore little resemblance to the comics. Then the recent TV series stripped Constantine of his weirdness and political edge, resulting in a shortlived copy of Supernatural. Famously, NBC wouldn’t even allow Constantine to smoke onscreen.

Despite the dubious quality of the TV series, actor Matt Ryan was pretty popular in the role. He returned to play Constantine in the CW’s Arrow, and voices the character in DC’s animated universe. He’ll also be in season 3 of Legends of Tomorrow, where Constantine may finally get his due.

Speaking to The Hollywood ReporterLegends executive producer Phil Klemmer said:

“As for the character of Constantine, we knew that an alienated, chain-smoking, bisexual, world-weary demonologist would feel right at home among our Legends.”

Apparently, he’ll appear in episode 10, which Klemmer describes as “The Exorcist meets One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” featuring a demonic possession in a mental institution, “hot sex,” and a link to Constantine’s episode of Arrow.

While we won’t know for sure until the episode airs, it sounds like we’re finally getting an onscreen acknowledgment of Constantine’s sexuality. This is a pretty big deal for the character, because previous adaptations intentionally avoided this aspect the comics. Legends of Tomorrow already has a bisexual lead in the form of Sara Lance (AKA White Canary), so its showrunners are evidently more comfortable with queer representation.

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*First Published: Oct 13, 2017, 7:54 am CDT