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Wait, What? Constantine Character Changes Are Specifically to Have a Stronger Female Lead?

Please do this the right way, NBC.

Constantine - Season Pilot

NBC’s Constantine premiere is just over 3 months away on October 24, but that hasn’t stopped the company from drastically altering what the show will be like in the episodes following its pilot. We recently learned they’re not just changing actors, which would be troubling but not entirely unusual, but they’re scrapping one of the pilot’s main characters who was supposed to be a driving force in the show’s plot. It might not be all bad news, though.

We weren’t sure how to feel about this development last night, but new details make it sound like the change might actually be a good thing. The original plot of the show was set to center around John Constantine defending Liv (Lucy Griffiths), the daughter of an old friend, as she learned about her newfound powers to see into the world of the supernatural.

While that’s not the worst plot I’ve ever heard, it’s certainly got a lot of “rugged dude protects frail girl” undertones, overtones, and pretty much just giant neon signs. In an unusual twist of fate, it seems NBC felt the same way, and their reason for replacing Liv with Zed after the pilot actually sounds really promising, as executive producer Daniel Cerone told 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.

Of course, history has taught me to take this with a grain of salt, and I’ve still got my concerns. Specifically, I’m worried that, for all the talk of a stronger character working better, it’s more motivated by wanting to give Constantine a love interest. I could see NBC looking at a young girl he’s supposed to be protecting and saying, “OK, but how do we make them do sex without creeping out the audience? Nope. Get rid of her,” instead of letting Liv grow into her own stronger character, and that’s troubling.

That could very well be the case, since Zed and Constantine were romantically involved in the comics, but for now I’m going to hope that making the show’s female lead a stronger character is about serving that character and the show better and not just about how she can make Constantine himself look cool.

(via UPROXX, image via Constantine)

Previously in Constantine

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.