While Marvel has relied upon the television side of its interconnected cinematic universe to introduce and expand areas that the blockbuster event films have yet to - such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. introducing the Inhumans mythology and Daredevil carving out a pocket for the street-level heroes - DC and Warner Bros. have taken a decidedly different approach to their TV properties.
The DCMU continuity established by Man of Steel continues with 2016's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, leading to an eventual Justice League big screen team-up with characters like The Flash, who will be played by Ezra Miller in the film even as Grant Gustin has been portraying the speedster on The CW's hit TV series. This has led to some confusion, compounded by the news that Superman's cousin Supergirl will get her own show, and Batman's sidekick Robin will appear on the upcoming Titans.
While we've explored how keeping DC's movie and TV universes separate is overall a good thing, the odds of seeing multiple crossovers within these disparate series - all on different networks - remain up in the air. The Flash is a spinoff of The CW's hit Arrow, with a third official inter-connected series called Legends of Tomorrow also in the works. Batman prequel show Gotham airs on Fox and the recently-canceled Constantine aired on NBC, making an intersection between those two shows and The CW's small-screen universe seem unlikely.
One proponent for such a crossover was Arrow star Stephen Amell, who wanted to "save" Constantine by appearing on one of its episodes. According to a report from ComicBook.com, crossovers are still very much on Amell's mind. While appearing at the Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con, Amell was asked to address (again) the notion of he or Grant Gustin appearing in a cinematic version of the Justice League.
According to Amell:
“As of right now, the movie universe and the television universe are very, very separate. I mean we’ve seen Ezra Miller, who’s going to play The Flash in one of the upcoming films, and even on the Suicide Squad, we have a whole slew of characters that are now representing the Suicide Squad. And the Suicide Squad is at least for the foreseeable future is not going to be featured on Arrow. So we’re keeping those universes separate.”
Indeed, with David Ayer's highly-anticipated Suicide Squad to feature characters like Deadshot and Captain Boomerang, who have already been portrayed by different actors on Arrow and The Flash, DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns' assertion that the movie and TV realms will be kept separate seems to be definite.
Amell went on to discuss his idea of how DC's TV universe could inter-mingle, saying “On the B side, there is an opportunity for interconnectivity with any DC television show that exists.” Amell lamented the loss of Constantine, but reiterated his attempt to appear on the series and ran down the list of DC's upcoming television options, saying:
“Now, 'Constantine' was an NBC show. I’m on The CW. I had had discussions with DC… so not NBC, not CW… but with DC Entertainment about guest starring on Constantine when it was still on the air. And that was and is still on the table. So we have 'Flash,' we have 'Legends of Tomorrow,' a new show which is directly connected to the 'Arrow' universe, we have 'Supergirl'… she got picked up, directed by my good friend Glen Winter, that pilot, I can’t wait to see it, I’m sure it’s going to be amazing… there’s 'Gotham' obviously, and I’m missing something… 'Titans,' there you go. So again I wouldn’t worry too much about the movie universe, because we have no shortage of options for me and other characters to populate.”
The assertion that Amell's theoretical guest appearance on Constantine "was and is still on the table" could be a broad hint that the show could return on SyFy as Hellblazer, but also is potentially just wishful thinking and/or speculation. Amell did share his idea on how Oliver Queen/Arrow would fit into John Constantine's universe, saying:
“The reason that I was going to guest star on 'Constantine,' at least the idea that we were throwing around was he’s an expert when it comes to the Lazarus Pit, which is now something that is a part of and will continue to be a part of 'Arrow.' ”
The supernatural nature of Ra's Al Ghul's (Matt Nable) Lazarus Pit might have been the ideal way to link Constantine with Arrow, but until we know the final fate of Constantine, there is no way to know if such a notion is in the cards. In truth, Amell likely has limited say in the extent of how the DC television shows could cross over, but he expressed further support of Constantine, noting how DC's Geoff Johns and Jim Lee were supporting the show and that Grant Gustin was "throwing a little weight behind it" before stating "I just think that it deserves an opportunity. I really do."
The general consensus seems to be that Constantine suffered from a format which failed to truly capture the 'Hellblazer' comic book source material, while the successful DC TV shows - Gotham, Arrow, The Flash - seemed to prove that even an update and deviation from the comics could work as long as the spirit of the material was kept alive. Amell's belief in Constantine's spirit is not wholly unfounded, but at the moment, the likelihood for cross-network DC spinoffs is officially unknown.
Arrow continues Wednesday with its season 3 finale “My Name Is Oliver Queen” @8PM on The CW. The Flash continues Tuesday with “Rogue Air” @8PM on The CW. Gotham returns for season 2 in the Fall. Supergirl will premiere on CBS in the Fall. We’ll keep you updated on the status of Constantine.