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John "Johnny" Constantine

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/constantine_tv_series_matt_ryan.jpg
"I'm not a bad guy. A little hardscrabble, sure, but...uh...I'm on the side of the angels, mate. At least when they're not busy trying to screw me over."

Species: Human/Warlock

Known Aliases: Master of the Dark Arts, El Diablo, "Johnny Moore"

Affiliations: The Newcastle Crew, Team Constantine, Team Arrow, The Legends

Played by: Matt Ryan, Knox Hamilton (young)

Appearances: Constantine | Arrow | Legends of Tomorrow | Crisis on Infinite Earthsnote 

"My name is John Constantine. I am the one who steps from the shadows, all trench coat and arrogance. I'll drive your demons away, kick 'em in the bullocks, and spit on them when they're down, leaving only a nod and a wink and a wisecrack. I walk my path alone because, let's be honest... who would be crazy enough to walk it with me?"
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Exorcist, Demonologist and Master (''Petty Dabbler'': he's getting new cards made) of the Dark Arts. All trench coat and arrogance, John is the mystical "jackass-of-all-trades" you call when you want some supernatural evil killed or general protection from the forces of darkness.

A loner to the bone, on very rare occasions he's willing to work with others for the greater good. He has quite the checkered past to say the least: Shortly after his Punk Rock band "Mucous Membrane", ended he got involved with a posse of sorcerers and other demon hunters - the Newcastle Crew - that ended with most of the Crew dead or scarred for life while the soul of an innocent young girl and daughter of his oldest friend, Astra Logue, was inadvertently damned to hell for all eternity. Redeeming himself for this act has been his driving force ever since, and in that quest he's made more than a few enemies: The fallen angel Manny, the mysterious Brujeria, Damien Darhk, Baron Reiter, countless demons, and the enigmatic and dreaded demon Neron, whom even the denizens of hell fear at the thought of. But worst of all, all his old friends from the Newcastle incident now hold him in the highest contempt - all save for Chas.

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At one point he ended up in Lian Yu and ran afoul of Reiter, where Oliver Queen saved his life. John repaid that favor by restoring the soul of Oliver's friend Sara Lance. Two years later, John found himself working with Sara as he was pulled into the crazy world of the Legends as they called up his expertise to help them fight the time demon Mallus. However, when the Legends literally smashed through the temporal prison holding back Mallus in a Hot-Blooded attempt to put an end to the demon, they also ended up unleashing pretty much every other supernatural horror that was imprisoned alongside him. Despite his loner nature, Neron very much wanted John dead, and the Legends were in need of a mystical expert to lock the supernatural fugitives back up. Self preservation triumphed so he very reluctantly joined the team of misfits.

After defeating Neron with their help, he's returned to dealing with demons and other paranormal threats in 2020 with his new apprentice (and former lover-ish) Gary Green, while continuing to aid the Legends as a part-timer. Meanwhile, a (somewhat literal) ghost from his past begins to haunt him as she unleashes some of hell's most devious and barbaric souls across the timeline. He also at some point had a very interesting/disturbing encounter with a Beebo doll that would "make your toes curl".


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     A-F 
  • Abusive Parent: His father would hit him when he was drunk as well as put out cigarettes on his skin, and never passed on an opportunity to call him "killer" since his mother died in childbirth.
  • Action Survivor: He's no Squishy Wizard but he's still not trained for physical combat like Oliver and his team are, so he resorts to being a Combat Pragmatist.
  • Adaptational Badass: While still a badass, the comic book John was accustomed to solving problems through his wits and magical abilities, rather than through force. This version of John has "a mean right hook" by his own admission, shown in the Arrow episode "Haunted", when he manages to disarm a trained soldier, then quickly knock him out with one punch. In the same episode, he also manages to hold his own in a swordfight with a demonic ninja (on another plane of existence).
    • That itself seems to be a change from the Constantine series proper, where the few times John gets into scuffles, he throws an average punch and is quickly overwhelmed. Legends keeps to this portrayal, as outside of some powerful magic he genuinely can't put up a fight worth a damn.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: His addiction to magic and meddling with forces mankind was not meant to know is downplayed; instead, the focus lies exclusively on the Newcastle Incident as his motivation. This version of John is The Atoner and wants to make up for his crimes (as well as avoid damnation) versus the John who is a rebel without a cause. This isn't that far from some comic portrayals of John, albeit significantly Lighter and Softer. He also comes off better in dealing with Gary Lester. In the comic, he doesn't give Gary the chance to refuse to be sacrificed; he also doesn't sit by Gary's side to keep him company while he's being eaten alive. However, by the time he joins the cast of Legends, we do get to see his more morally reprehensible sides.
  • Anti-Hero: He's an asshole who doesn't shy away from doing very questionable things, but he is truly trying to make a difference in the world.
  • The Alleged Car: While John is in or near Atlanta, he drives an old Chevy pickup truck. While the truck looks beat up, it seems to run just fine.
  • And Starring: Is given the credit "Special Guest" in Legends Season 4.
  • Arch-Enemy: Despite having less screen time than the other heroes, he has several:
    • The demon Nergal, for killing Astra and taking her soul to Hell in an exorcism gone wrong; not helped by the fact John was the one who summoned Nergal in the first place. He's made it his mission to go to Hell to save Astra and then go after Nergal. Astra being corrupted but a damper on those plans though.
    • The First of the Fallen by virtue of being the Greater-Scope Villain behind the Legions of Hell.
    • Papa Midnite, a Voo-Doo crime king and John's primary nemesis and Evil Counterpart in magic, though he's something more akin to The Rival too; the two will work together when it suits them.
    • The demon Neron, for taking his lover Desmond to Hell and tormenting him about it and then spending "Legends" Season 4 going after the Legends just to twist the knife in further.
  • The Atoner: Haunted by the death of Astra and her subsequent eternal damnation, his basic reason for helping people is to make up for that one mistake. He's also haunted by the death of his mother, who died while giving birth to him. He spent most of his teenage life learning magic, trying and failing to find a spell to conjure her.
  • Badass Longcoat: Skulks and snarks in a pretty sweet beige trench coat.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: He's a Sharp-Dressed Man even without the aforementioned trench coat.
  • Berserk Button: Any mention of the incident in Newcastle, or anything about Astra, the girl he accidentally damned to Hell, and he finds himself Suddenly SHOUTING!.
  • Breakout Character: Constantine was a largely unknown DC character before this version of him appeared on screens, but his popularity immediately pole-vaulted to fan favorite status. With the cancellation of his show, both fans and the cast looked for a new home and found one by integrating him into the Arrowverse, at first with single episodes guest appearances before he becomes part of the main cast of Legends of Tomorrow as of Season 4. Ever since this depiction of him, Constantine has been heavily featured in other media including Justice League Dark (with Matt Ryan reprising his role) as well as a part of the cast of Justice League Action.
  • Break the Haughty: Excising the demon that was possessing Astra should've been a routine job for Constantine and his crew. But John wanted to show off so he conjured a more powerful demon — Nergal with the idea of commanding him order the lesser demon away. Nergal did .... and then proceeded to slaughter her and then took her soul to Hell. There's a reason why John insists he's no longer a "Master of the Dark Arts", merely a "Petty Dabbler".
  • The Bus Came Back: After a Long Bus Trip since "Haunted" he came to the 'verse in Legends first as a recurring character in Season 3 and then as a main character in Season 4.
  • But Not Too Bi: In his own series. While the occasional nod was made to his canon sexuality, John was never once shown with a man. Legends of Tomorrow threw this out the window, however, and he was shown falling in love (as well as having flings) with men and women.
  • Canon Invasion: His appearance on Arrow retroactively puts his ill-fated show into the Arrowverse.
  • Character Check: Ever since John began appearing in Legends, he hasn't done any of the morally questionable or outright dick things he's known for in the comics or indeed his own show. But in "Dancing Queen", he does something very questionable and extremely dickish — he effectively lobotomizes Charlie by using a spell to take away her shapeshifting powers permanently, completely unrepentant simply because he hates shapeshifters.
    • In "Hey World", upon learning that Ray's deal to let Neron posses him is conditional on the fact that Neron not kill Nate, Constantine immediately suggests to the Legends that they trick Neron into killing Nate, something with Sara flat-out balks at. However after the Legends' original plan to defeat Neron fails, Nate has Constantine put a Glamour on him to disguise him as John so Neron will kill him thereby nullifying the deal and allowing John to permanently kill the demon once and for all.
  • Character Development: His time with the Legends make him slightly less cynical about his status as a Doom Magnet, and interacting with Charlie and his Celtic ancestor also make him reexamine his Fantastic Racism towards magical creatures.
  • The Charmer: John often flirts with girls, or guys, he comes across referring to them as "love" or "sweetheart".
  • Chekhov's Gag: The quirk about him being a chain smoker is what will cause his premature death of lung cancer by 2030. Astra coldly manipulates it to affect him almost immediately ten years early and put him at death's door.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: An unsuccessful one with Natalie, Astra's mother.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He's not an Action Hero like members of Team Arrow so he uses clever methods to fight.
  • The Cynic: In the fourth episode, he outright says that while people may be able to change overall, there comes a time when they no longer can. He refuses to bring along people who he feels can be a liability, instead of letting them make up for past failures. When Zed asks him how he can be so cynical though he knows that angels exist, he says he's Seen It All.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: John was sent to take out a demon haunting a little girl and thought that summoning an even bigger demon would take care of the first one. But he inadvertently got the girl killed and her soul dragged to Hell. He checked himself into a mental institution and agreed to shock therapy in a vain attempt to forget about the incident. And that's barely the tip of the morbid iceberg, what with his dead mother and abusive father who blamed him for his mother's death.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Basically everything out of his mouth is snark. The only exceptions involve people who directly talk to him about Newcastle who know what happened. Those people get his Sarcasm Failure.
  • Deuteragonist: Following his inclusion to main cast member in the fourth season of Legends, his own (unfinished) storyline has quickly taken center-stage. In fact, Neron is targeting him specifically, with the Legends being in Neron's sights just as a way to mess with John further. This continues in season five, where the next big bad is none other than the girl whom he condemned to Hell: Astra Logue.
  • The Dreaded: He's this to many former friends (e.g. Fennel, the medium), considering Newcastle. Chas is a major exception.
  • Doom Magnet: Constantine's adventures often have huge body counts, despite his best efforts — and it often means he loses his friends one by one in the process. He was initially unwillingly to join the Legends because of it.
  • Everyone Has Standards: His time on Legends of Tomorrow is "weird, even for [him]." Taken Up to Eleven in the fourth season's mid-season finale, where he is utterly mortified that the Legends have turned into puppets and the show itself became a children's educational sing-along musical.
    "What the- [...] Fraggle Rock is going on here?"
  • Experienced Protagonist: He has quite an arsenal to fight the supernatural, and his conversations with old partners and Chas indicate he had done a fair bit of magic before the series started. However, he still considers himself just a "petty dabbler" in his work. Even moreso in Legends as he's had several years of adventures under his belt.
  • Fake Guest Star: He's credited as a guest in Season 4 of "Legends" onward, despite being a main character and appearing in nearly every episode sincenote . Justified as, at least in his words, John's only with the team to help with the occult.
  • Fantastic Racism: To shapeshifters - he performs an unreversible spell that takes Charlie's powers simply because unlike the Legends, he refuses to acknowledge the possibility she might not be evil.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: The claymation special, "John Con Noir" has John trying to find two missing writers to prevent the cancellation of Constantine.
  • Friend to All Children: Despite his snarky attitude, John's fond of children and is usually nicer to them then to adults. Chas's daughter calls him "Uncle John".
     G-P 
  • Good Is Not Nice: Willing to help anyone (though it's mostly for atonement for past sins), but is often an arrogant prick while he does it.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Largely keeps to himself, but helped out Team Arrow once and later the Legends.
  • Hero of Another Story: Until he joins the Legends. Although even then, season 5 shows he still has other adventures outside of them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He was fully prepared to give his life for the Legends to have a clear shot at Neron and he later even goes to Hell to save Ray.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Insists that he's a mere dabbler, rather than a Master of the Dark Arts. This has a lot to do with Astra, at which point he had decided he isn't nearly as good as he believed himself to be.
  • Hollywood Exorcism: The restoration ritual he does on Sara Lance gives off these vibes.
  • I Owe You My Life: Is grateful for Oliver for saving his life from a booby trap which is why he restores Sara Lance's soul as a favor to Oliver.
  • I Work Alone: Says he prefers to work alone on his guest appearance in Legends, which implies that Chas and Zed are no longer with him. When Sara asks him to join the team in Season 4, he outright refuses, believing he'll only bring misery to the team.
  • In the Blood: Just like in the comics he comes from a long line of sorcerers — the earliest known one was the ruler of a Celtic tribe, King Konstantyn.
  • I Am Not My Father: Or rather, John makes it clear that he is not like his Knight Templar ancestor King Konstantyn.
  • It's Pronounced "Tro-PAY": His last name is pronounced Constan-teen, not that it stops Neron or Lucifer from mocking him by pronouncing it Constan-tyne, a Mythology Gag for the proper pronunciation used in the Hellblazer comics.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Papa Midnite calls him a "jackass of all trades" because he dabbles in magic from every tradition, picking and choosing what works for him. According to Midnite, this has the downside of Constantine not having as much power as someone who specializes in one tradition like he does in Voodoo.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: John can perform these on civilians when he wishes his presence not to be known.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He can definitely be a dick, but he's still willing to help people without asking for anything in return.
  • Kick the Dog: Taking away Charlie's ability to shapeshift out of personal hatred for Shapeshifters (and this is downgraded from trying to send her to hell) was low even for him.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: He's a sorcerer who primarily relies on his skills and knowledge of the occult, but he's not helpless when it comes to traditional fighting either.
  • Large Ham: The accent and the delivery of his lines will make it hard for you to not notice him.
  • Leitmotif: The opening theme song of his short lived series becomes used as his theme music.
  • Limited Wardrobe: He wears the exact same clothes in both the present day scenes and flashbacks; occasionally he'll switch out his red tie for a black one. Legends shows that he can change into other outfits...but most likely has to be dragged kicking and screaming into them. He lasted all of half an episode dressed up as a summer camp counselor before immediately switching back into his iconic ensemble.
  • Manipulative Bastard: True to form, Constantine is exactly the sort of guy who'd put other people in danger to save his own hide. When Neron momentarily possessed him it was enough to get him to join the Legends - just one episode earlier, he curmudgeonly stated he'd rather slash his wrists than join a team. All the same, he willingly went behind the team's back to try and blackmail the Fairy Godmother to be his own personal miracle-maker. Unfortunately for him, she knew exactly who was after him and promptly chose to go to hell instead.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Blond, stubbly, tattooed, aloof, and frequently shirtless. Also, that accent. Thea Queen got attracted to him in an instant.
  • My Greatest Failure: Astra's death is his. He will do anything in his power to right this wrong, including damning a friend's soul in a heartbeat if he had to. Her mother's suicide after the whole debacle is a close second, since she was his oldest friend.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Saving Nora is this for him, which he sees as a way to atone for failing to save Astra.
  • Noodle Incident: Given just how weird and insane his life is, Constantine's chock full of these:
    • He never really went into detail why he broke up Mucous Membrane, but something occult had to do with it.
    • Something happened between him, Chas, a succubus, and a derailed train in Philadelphia that caused both of them to have an outstanding warrant.
    • Oliver at one point comments that Constantine was literally in hell. By Constantine's own admission, it's impossible to escape hell.
    • He was seen chasing around a chicken in his office with a hatchet for an elderly Latina woman that has something to do with her son getting married.
    • He keeps a dismembered bare foot in his coat back pocket.
    • The creepy apartment he's currently living was apparently won through a "duel."
    • He once put a spell on a Beebo doll to make it talk, saying some unsavory things according to him.
    • Has some prior history with a "Swamp Thaaaang".
    • Crisis on Infinite Earths reveals he has traveled The Multiverse before and is the one who apparently got Mazikeen out of hell as a favor for Lucifer Morningstar, a fact that the Devil is not happy about but indebted all the same.
  • Not So Above It All: He's the first in the room to give Gary shit for playing D&D. Cue him inviting Gary and his whole party to his office for a game at the end of the episode.
  • Occult Detective: A practitioner of the occult who is generally called in to investigate incidents involving the supernatural.
  • Odd Friendship:
  • Official Couple: He and the new Zari, of all people, eventually get together, despite a lot of bickering at the beginning.
  • One Steve Limit: With John Diggle. Good thing they normally both go by Last-Name Basis and star on different shows.
  • Oop North: Speaks in a working-class Northern English accent, considering he's from Liverpool, though with a distinct Welsh twang, due to Matt Ryan being Welsh himself. Overall, it's a strikingly distinct combination that especially stands out when he acts alongside actors playing more common British accents.
  • Put on a Bus: After restoring Sara's soul he ends up in Oliver's words in "literal Hell", though he gets out and puts Oliver in contact with a shaman, and he doesn't show up again until two years later in Legends of Tomorrow note 
  • Perma-Stubble: He has a noticeable 5 o'clock shadow.
  • Playing with Fire: Carries his engraved lighter at all times and has a habit of using spells that involve fire. Including setting his own hands on fire.
  • Poisonous Friend: Most of John's former friends see him this way after what happened in Newcastle. John happens to agree with them, which is why he stays closed off and tries to convince newcomers to walk away and not be taken in by his charm or the promise of excitement.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero:
    • He uses the term "Gypsy" — it's a slur against Romani people and seems to hold their magic in special contempt.
    • He's also prejudiced against the Irish; when a magical anomaly suspect is Irish, John suggests he's a Leprechaun.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: After his guest spots in Season 3 of "Legends" he's made a regular in Season 4.
  • Really Gets Around: Has been involved with Anne Marie Flynn, Desmond, Zed Martin, Judith (if the script for "Final Girl" is canon), Natalie Logue, Sara Lance, Gary Green, Zari and a few one-night stands on his show.
  • The Red Mage: Uses several kinds of magic from different traditions rather than committing to a single tradition like Papa Midnite, which makes his magic weaker than if he stuck to one traditon.
     R-Z 
  • Remember the New Guy?: Oliver has history with him, even though he never appeared on the show or was mentioned prior to his first appearance. That being said the same episode did show their first meeting in a flashback, so it mitigates the trope somewhat.
  • Serial Homewrecker: On a couple of occasions, Constantine been seen being chased out of the house by some other guy's wife - he also has the courtesy to remember their names.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • In "Haunted", he has Felicity find a peacock feather because he needs it to scratch an itch on his back.
    • In "Daddy Darhkest", he seems more concerned with finding a way to light his cigarette than being stuck in 1969.
    • In "A Head of Her Time", he reveals he decided to channel the spirit of Astra's mother, Natalie, because - rather than feeling immense guilt for her suicide or at the request of her husband - he wanted to prove to her that he was right in his decision to choose magic over her.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Appeared on Arrow exactly once, but he both made Legends of Tomorrow possible and gave Oliver the magic mark that would allow him to beat Damien Darhk as well as getting him in touch with the woman who taught him to use it. Averted in the third season of Legends of Tomorrow where has a more sizable role, and becomes a main character in future seasons.
  • The Smart Guy: Serves this role once he joins the Legends, being the resident occult and mystical expert, especially given he is lacking in physical fighting ability.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Deconstructed. According to Season 5 of Legends, his addiction will make him succumb to lung cancer some ten years down the line. Astra uses this to accelerate his death in order to take his soul.
  • Smug Super: Heavily implied to have been previously very smug about his skill, hence why he attempted to summon Nergal to drag the demon in Astra away rather than taking a simpler solution: just to prove he could do it. After that point, however, with the horrible failure it was, he stopped believing he was a "Master of the Dark Arts". Though his arrogance frequently sneaks in anyway, and he's consistently called on it.
  • Squishy Wizard: Despite being an expert in the mystic arts, his physical combat skill is very lacking so he leaves the combat to other heroes.
  • Straight Man: Basically his role on "Legends". His grim seriousness is in direct contrast to the wacky anarchy of his teammates.
  • Take That!: He did not waste time to insult NBC, the network that screwed his show, upon appearing in Arrow.
  • The One That Got Away: The Legends episode "A Head of Her Time" reveals he and Astra's mother were close as children, but they drifted apart when he decided to dedicate himself to practicing magic.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: By accidentally damning Astra to Hell, John damned his own soul in the process; no matter how many demons he kills or send back to the pit, sending an innocent to Hell is the one thing the Almighty won't forgive.
  • Transplant: He was on another DC show from another network, but everyone (showrunners and actors alike) in the Arrowverse didn't want to waste an interesting character with potential like he, so he was retroactively incorporated into this universe. He eventually becomes a main cast member in Legends Season 4.
  • Two First Names: Per the DC Comics norm. Bonus points for also applying to his actor.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: He has a Liverpudlian accent, but many have commented on how all over the place it is, jumping between several British dialects.
    • Justified somewhat as this apparently happened in the comics as well. Flashbacks depicted John as having a typical Liverpudlian accent when he was a teenager (an American says he sounds just like Paul Mccartney) but an older John is said to sound like a typical Londoner after he's been living in the city for the better part of two decades.
  • The Worf Effect: Even somebody as experienced and well-versed as Constantine is powerless against whatever Mallus is. None of John's usual tricks and seals work against Mallus in "Daddy Darhkest".
  • You Say Tomato: When referring to Birmingham, Alabama on the scary map, he uses the British pronunciation instead of the American pronunciation.
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