Aside from franchise powerhouses Superman and Batman, DC adaptations are lately having more impact on the small screen. The decade-long run of the acclaimed SMALLVILLE made way for ARROW, with THE FLASH and the recently announced pre-Batman GOTHAM to follow. Now it has also been announced that a pilot for fan favourite HELLBLAZER is going into production, to be called CONSTANTINE.
Although now rebooted along with the rest of the DC universe following Flashpoint, HELLBLAZER followed the misadventures of John Constantine, an occult detective and blue-collar warlock whose moral ambiguity in the face of trying to do what was right was one of the series’ consistent hallmarks. Although he has a (somewhat justified) reputation as a powerful sorcerer, the use of magic was always a last resort for him, preferring instead to rely on his intellect to outwit his opponents. His escapades more often than not left him with multiplying enemies and dead friends, so much so that he is constantly haunted by an entourage of spectres of those who have died in his wake.
Over the course of HELLBLAZER’s 300-issue series, it garnered a reputation as a nesting ground for popular industry writers, with such luminaries as Garth Ennis, Mike Carey, Andy Diggle, Warren Ellis and Neil Gaiman contributing to its quarter-century run, while his origin occurred during the legendary Alan Moore’s run on SWAMP THING.
The pilot will be co-written and produced by David S Goyer – who with his work on BATMAN and MAN OF STEEL is fast becoming to DC what Joss Whedon is to Marvel – and Daniel Cerone (CHARMED, DEXTER, THE MENTALIST).
Of course, this isn’t the first time that the Scouse mage has been adapted. The 2005 film CONSTANTINE starring Keanu Reeves wasn’t entirely unentertaining in and of itself, but as a homage to the original works it failed miserably. Hopefully the pilot will stay closer to the comic’s characterisation of Constantine as a working-class street mage and ruthless conman, as opposed to a damned demon hunter seeking redemption.
One question the news immediately asks is what this means for Guillermo del Toro’s planned feature film adaptation of Justice League Dark, a team of supernatural rather than superhero characters that since The New 52 reboot Constantine is the leader of. The existence of one does not necessarily preclude that of the other, but it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.
Share your comments below or on Twitter @STARBURST_MAG
CLICK CHUCKY FOR OUR LATEST ISSUE!