“Everybody who’s in Episode 2 take a step forward. Not so fast, Griffiths.”
NBC is writing a lead character out of Constantine after the pilot episode and replacing her with a different character from the comics. Lucy Griffiths (True Blood) played Liv, the daughter of one of Constantine’s oldest friends. The previous synopsis and trailer made it clear the original plan was to have a long character arc wherein Constantine would protect his dead friend’s daughter: “The show will feature Constantine as he tries to protect the daughter of one of his oldest friends from demons now that she’s discovered her ‘second sight’, an ability to see into the hidden, supernatural world.”
It’s not unheard of for studios to replace actors after the pilot, although they usually cast a different actor as the same character rather than axing a lead entirely. This time they’re replacing Liv with a character fans of Hellblazer will recognize: Zed, the woman who was Constantine’s lover and (later on) a pagan sorceress.
THR says Zed will appear early in the series, and other familiar characters will follow later. THR chalks this up to the show’s creators wanting to “move in a different direction”, but EW spoke to Constantine‘s executive producer Daniel Cerone for a more detailed explanation.
“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.”
On the one hand, Zed does seem like a more interesting character to pair with Constantine. On the other hand, the series premiere is just a few months away — 10 pm Fridays starting October 24th — and NBC made a deal to air the pilot or pay a penalty. They’re under no obligation to air the additional episodes they ordered. And any work they’ve done on those episodes is being scrapped now. They haven’t even cast Zed yet. Hopefully, they’re not going to scuttle this whole thing with last-minute changes. I keep saying it again and again: NBC, please don’t The Cape this thing.