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John Constantine

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/constantine-premiere_5812.jpg

Species: Empowered human

Affiliations: Team Constantine, Team Arrow, The Legends.

Played by: Matt Ryan

Appearances: Constantine | Arrow | Legends of Tomorrow

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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 forming his Punk Rock band "Mucous Membrane", he got involved with a crew in Newcastle that ended with most of the crew dead while the soul of an innocent young girl, 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.

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Has a wonderful relationship with Gary from the Time Bureau, and at some point had a very interesting (and disturbing) encounter with a Beebo.


     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.
  • 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!.
  • Bi the Way: Confirmed by Word of God. Also in line with Hellblazer, where John was one of the very first openly bisexual characters to head a comic. In the third episode, when faced with Papa Midnite having him tied up in zip-ties, he helpfully tells the Witch Doctor that he doesn't do zip-ties without a safe word. In Season 3 of Legends, he rather blatantly and immediately starts hitting on (the very taken) Leo Snart. Actually ends up having a quick shag with Sara in the same episode. Between seasons 3 and 4 he had a brief fling with Gary at the Time Bureau. In "Hell No, Dolly" we discover that he was in a serious relationship with a man. Later on he tells him he never loved him to save him from being dragged to Hell with some disastrous consequences for the timeline.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • The Charmer: John often flirts with girls he comes across referring to them as "love" or "sweetheart".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Everyone Has Standards: His time on Legends of Tomorrow was "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.
  • 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.
  • Fake Guest Star: He's credited as a guest in Season 4 of "Legends", despite being a main character. Justified as John's only with the team to help them sort out the magic creatures let loose in time and just that.
  • 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 that story was Screwed by the Network that is.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: Sure he can be a douchebag, but he's still willing to help someone without asking for anything in return.
  • Kick the Dog: Taking away Charlie's ability to shapeshift out of personal hatred for Shapeshifters (and previously even trying to send her to HELL for it) 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.
  • Limited Wardrobe: He wears the same clothes in both the present day scenes and flashbacks. 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. He apparently pissed off a very powerful and demonic entity that is now out for his blood, and the momentary possession it held over him 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 to right this wrong, including damning a friend's soul in a heartbeat if he had to.
  • 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 to make it talk. The things it told him made his toes curl.
    • Has some prior history with a "Swamp Thaaaang".
  • 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: With Gary from the Time Bureau of all of people, possibly because of Strange Minds Think Alike.
  • One Steve Limit: With John Diggle. Good thing they both go by Last-Name Basis.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 is set to actually join the Waverider for the fourth.
  • 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.
  • Take That!: He did not waste time to insult NBC, the network that screwed his show, upon appearing in Arrow.
  • 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.
  • 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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