Ever wish you had a time machine and could go back and fix a stupid decision? Well, that would cause all kinds of temporal anomalies and none of us is Marty McFly. Fact is, lots of us would make things worse, but sometimes you can just call a Mulligan. A redo. And that’s exactly what NBC is doing when they decided to write out a made up character from the new upcoming Constantine television series, and replace that character with someone from the comic books. Some might argue that it should’ve been written that way from the start, and some would be absolutely right. But when studios get their hands on priceless properties they don’t know what to do with, you get Marvin, Wendy and Wonder Dog tagging along with the Superfriends. In this rare case, NBC saw the error of their ways and hit the delete button, erasing that embarrassing Facebook post. Now, after you’re done reading about what happened, just act like it didn’t happen…
Let’s start at the beginning. We’ll stop when we get to the end, but first check out the trailer for some insight.
The idea we can take from this is that Constantine is a practitioner of the Dark Arts (think Doctor Strange as a friendlier Dormammu) who takes up the task of protecting Liv, the daughter of an old friend, from evil forces. She’s got special gifts herself, but is in a world of hurt if these things manage to get to her. Nobody seems to want that, so Constantine spends the rest of the promo protecting her. Okay now nobody wants that either because after the pilot, NBC has decided to scrap that entire concept by replacing the damsel in distress with Zed, a figure that comic fans can relate to. Or, at least that’s what Executive Producer Daniel Cerone said to EW.
“When you put a wide-eyed innocent [like Liv] into that world, she’s just very reactive. […] One of the coolest things about Constantine he doesn’t have any ‘powers.’ He came out of a time with all these superheroes with their garish colors and flashy powers, and he just comes out with a rumpled coat, wearing browns and greys, and he just knows a lot magic and spells, but it’s all knowledge-based. Anything he can do is based in knowledge and his own studying. Zed is actually one of the first women Constantine meets in the comic books, and she has various psychic powers. We felt ultimately she’s going to service the first season better as someone to pair Constantine up with. She can get in his face a little bit and have some of her own realizations and skills and really push him. But if whoever Constantine is working with is constantly on her heels, that just wouldn’t service the show really well.”
That’s the look I had too when someone told me to leave my last job.
With YouTube comments ranging from “Why is he Welsh?” to “Why isn’t the show called ‘Hellblazer?” it just proves that you can’t please all of the fans all of the time, but at least I can understand some of the business behind those decisions. A) They hired the best guy they thought fit the role, and B) the name Constantine more closely identifies casual viewers to the Keaunu Reeves flick and might rope them in. Hellblazer doesn’t. Business is business – but good writing is also good writing, and I don’t know why anyone in their right mind would argue against dumping Lucy Griffiths’ character except Lucy Griffiths. If you’re a fan, you’re rejoicing. If you’re not a fan, you don’t care. The restart button is your friend.
Enter Zed. The role hasn’t been cast yet but this Bastard approves. Despite the fact their they’re basically starting over, Constantine premieres October 24th.