He may not be quite as familiar to North American audiences as some of the other DC Comics heroes debuting on TV this Fall, but NBC's Constantine will be dealing with a darker, more fantastic side of the comic book universe that few others could even approach. And while John Constantine may be carrying the series as he combats the demonic forces of evil, it looks like the foundations are being laid to add another DC icon to the show's universe: the embodiment of vengeance known as The Spectre.
The series' executive producer Daniel Cerone had previously teased that the character of Detective Jim Corrigan - the man who would go on to become the supernatural figure known as 'The Spectre' - could wind up as a series regular. It seems that the idea turned out to be a compelling one for the showrunners, as IGN now reports that Irish actor Emmett Scanlan (Guardians of the Galaxy, In the Flesh) has been cast in the role.
Before the diehard comic fans see this news as a chance to see the previously-planned Spectre TV series made real, it's important to point out that Scanlan will only (for now) be playing the role of New Orleans Detective Jim Corrigan. In the world of DC Comics, Corrigan would wind up being killed in the line of duty, only to return as a mystical spirit of vengeance. Taking on the new moniker of 'The Spectre,' Corrigan sought out those who escaped justice and made sure they were... appropriately punished.
The casting of another non-supernatural regular makes sense, given the changes that Constantine has undergone since being given the green light by NBC. Fans know that Lucy Griffith's character will be dropped after the series' first episode, with the actress' departure raising some significant problems. Especially since the show's premise relied upon an outsider being pulled into the supernatural world of John Constantine (Matt Ryan) and Papa Midnite (Michael James Shaw).
John Constantine will be joined by his comic book ally Zed (Angelica Celaya), but with Scanlan now added in the role of a New Orleans detective, it's safe to assume he'll be as stunned as the audience when it comes to Constantine's day-to-day activities. Cerone's prior comments about Corrigan were purely hypothetical, but they should offer a sign of what fans can expect - and why they might not want to get their hopes up just yet:
“For those who don’t know, Jim Corrigan is a police officer who kind of takes the law into his own hands… he ends up dying and is reincarnated as The Spectre. So it’s a perfect opportunity for us, because we can name this character Jim Corrigan and within our story, for the general viewer, that works, because now Constantine has a friend on the force. For the comic book fan, ‘My god, that’s Jim Corrigan!’
“And we can get back to that character and can slowly develop that character and who knows, maybe there’s an opportunity in the future to even see the origin story unfold within the framework of our TV series. It creates opportunities and creatively you just have to go in and lay that groundwork in and try and let it unfold naturally.
It's still possible, given Cerone's quotes, to see Scanlan (who was recently seen as a head prison guard in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy) take up the mantle in the future. After all, we know that Justice League Dark director Guillermo del Toro will be watching the show, so perhaps he could make his way onto the big screen - assuming del Toro's film does first.
What do you think of the character's addition to the show? Does another established DC character make you more likely to check out the premiere, or is John Constantine up against some powerful comic book competition on the small screen this Fall?
Constantine premieres on NBC at 10pm EST on Friday, October 24, 2014.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce for updates on Constantine as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.