WARNING: The following interview contains spoilers for the animated Constantine: City of Demons - The Movie, available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital October 9.
John Constantine has a brand new animated movie on the way. With actor Matt Ryan (Legends of Tomorrow, NBC's Constantine) reprising the role to give the Hellblazer his signature voice, Constantine: City of Demons - The Movie includes the animated CW Seed series plus around 25 minutes of brand new footage. With an R-rating and no concerns about censoring the dark supernatural character and his world, screenwriter J.M. DeMatteis said the basic foundation of the animated adventure is inspired by Mike Carey and Leonardo Manco's 2005 Vertigo original graphic novel John Constantine Hellblazer: All His Engines.
"We used that as sort of our foundation and then we built our story up from there," the writer explained during the Constantine: City of Demons - The Movie press room at New York Comic Con. "So, if you know the graphic novel you'll see the basic beats that you know from the graphic novel but there's a whole lot of other stuff going on within the story." Carey and Manco's original graphic novel was released the same year as Keanu Reeves' live-action movie, hoping to motivate moviegoers to delve into the character's comic book world. The Vertigo storyline pulled Constantine to Los Angeles to help his best friend, Chas Chandler, when his granddaughter Tricia went into a coma and had her soul taken by the demon Beroul.
In Constantine: City of Demons - The Movie, DeMatteis' story sees Constantine travel to Los Angeles to help Chas with his daughter, Trish, who has fallen into a coma when her soul was taken by Beroul. While DeMatteis' inspiration from the source material is crystal clear, this isn't a direct adaptation of Carey and Manco's original graphic novel. "We pulled from other Constantine stories," the writer told us. "I pulled a few things from my Justice League Dark run, created some new things and put it all together into a new story."
DeMatteis is certainly no stranger to John Constantine. He co-wrote the 2017 Justice League Dark animated movie, as well as more than a dozen issues of the New 52 run of Justice League Dark. The writer has years and years of experience delving into a massive variety of DC characters (especially in Justice League International), but he did say there is a unique challenge that comes with writing the Hellblazer. "The hardest thing about Constantine is he has this hard shell on the outside. And he's a bastard, and he's manipulative, and he's this and he's that. If a story is going to just focus on that aspect of the character, that's not a story I can write because there's nothing else going on underneath that."