As longtime “Hellblazer” readers know, nobody knows John Constantine like Chas Chandler.
As teenagers, the two clicked and developed a strong bond. Constantine even took care of Chas’ unhappy home life by killing his pal’s mother Queenie and her wretched monkey familiar, Slag. These days, the semi-immortal Chas is Constantine’s most faithful companion, always-on-call driver, and, most importantly, his oldest and dearest friend.
RELATED: Why NBC Should #SaveConstantine
Ahead of “Constantine’s” season — and possibly series — finale, Charles Halford spoke with CBR News about Chas’ dynamic with the self-styled master of the dark arts and the Judas in their midst. We also dive into the importance of Chas’ family background, his longtime fandom and familiarity with the “Hellblazer” source material and his take on the possibility of “Constantine” changing networks from NBC to Syfy in order to secure a second season.
CBR News: Though Chas is different from his comics counterpart, he remains John’s best — some would say only — friend. What have you enjoyed about the way the Chas/Constantine friendship has been handled on the show?
Charles Halford: I really couldn’t be happier. I was a fan of the comics going in, and I became a bigger fan early in the shooting, even though there wasn’t that much information for Chas. I was discovering this NBC-Chas with the audience, like the “immortality” and all these things. One of my favorite issues of the “Hellblazer” comics is issue #84, where John takes care of Chas’ mother problem.
There were a lot of questions and a lot of concerns about how they were going to handle the relationship and the backstory between John and Chas. When I finally read episode #10, “Quid Pro Quo,” how it was this haphazard kind of spell that John cast to really put Chas into a corner and make his life mean something, I was really happy with it. I remember when I read how they were going to do it, because we had talked about the idea, and I finally saw it executed, I was pretty excited.
When I found out he still had the family, and the relationship between Chas’ wife Renee and Constantine, I liked all of that. I liked the groundwork that we laid, and I am looking forward to the potential, future storylines. Time will tell.
We got a glimpse of Chas’ family life in “Quid Pro Quo.” Why was that so important to explore?
In terms of the type of show it is, I think it’s important to have in this band of loners a family man, a guy who has the wife and kid, where life and love are affected by this world. You have Zed, who is on the run. You have Manny, and who knows what he is up to. And Constantine is an outcast and has isolated himself. It’s nice to have a guy who is a father and a husband, and who just happens to be John Constantine’s best friend — and now, closest ally.
It used to be Constantine and Chas against the world. That inner circle has expanded as the seaosn has gone on. What does Chas make of Zed and Manny?
Chas just knows about Manny. That’s not surprising when you are friends with John. He deals with all sorts of weird stuff. You take it with a grain of salt.
With Zed, there’s some general interest there. I think Chas has interest in John having another friend. John, left to his own devices, is far more dangerous. Chas knows that. And Zed is easy on the eyes and good in a fight.
In what ways does the season finale pay off the Rising Darkness arc?
Obviously, our story got cut a bit short, which is unfortunate timing. It does get addressed. I kind of know what was in the coming scripts, but we only get them about a week before. They ordered 16 episodes, and then we were only going to do 13. It just means we will have some awesome scripts already written for season two.
Papa Midnite returns to wreak some havoc in the finale. What makes him such a great foil for the series?
Papa Midnite is just awesome, and a perfect foil for Constantine. They are both shady, they both have their own ways of going about things, and they both have this really absurd respect for each other. I don’t know that there are a lot of close friends in that supernatural realm of the netherworld, but the fact they do have this respect is very interesting. Neither one of these guys keep friends they don’t need things from. It played [that way] in the comic books, and it’s really exciting for me that we get to put a stamp on that.
Viewers will also finally discover which person will betray Constantine. What was the cast’s reaction to that bombshell and what it could mean for the show?
It’s a great 13 hours of television, and even a better diving board. I know everybody was excited while they were doing it. At that point, I was just dropping by the set. My work was done, and I was just there to love everybody. What’s interesting is, it was so organic. They had a strong script going into the finale, but it was revised due to the changes in the schedule. Everybody seemed to get more and more excited about it as they went along. It’s a nice way to wrap up a season, with that kind of excitement and smiles on your faces.
There have been rumors that “Constantine” could land a second season by shifting to Syfy instead of NBC. How would you feel if the series changed networks?
Personally, I want “Constantine” to live. A lot of stuff that has been circulating I agree with. I think there’s creative freedom in other places, but I have absolutely no information. I really just want to go forward. If anyone can fight their way out of a corner — and come out stronger and better and meaner and badder — it’s John Constantine. He will survive.
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