Constantine TV show reveals big bad and new setting

Hellblazer TV reveals Papa Midnight as the big bad, but is this a bit of a problem?

Papa Midnight as he currently appears in DC's New 52
Papa Midnight as he currently appears in DC’s New 52

Despite the fact that the titular mystic will be a blonde Brit, NBC’s Constantine TV show will be sticking with the unfairly maligned movie and keeping the action firmly in the US, in this case New York.

According to Bleeding Cool, Ravenscar Psychiatric Hospital – which is a key part of the character’s origin story – has also been relocated to the US, while the site reports that Constantine’s primary antagonist will be “introduced in the pilot, with a subplot providing him a kind of origin, is the character of Papa Midnite.

“As the series runs on, we’ll see Midnite and Constantine facing off again and again, as the stakes get higher and higher.”

Djimon Hounsou as Papa Midnight in 2005's Constantine
Djimon Hounsou as Papa Midnight in 2005’s Constantine

First introduced in Hellblazer issue 1 (1988) by writer Jamie Delano and artist John Ridgeway, and played by Djimon Hounsou in 2005’s Constantine, Papa Midnight is a Voodoo priest and underworld boss who at times has served as both John Constantine’s uneasy ally or bitter enemy.

However, as much as the character is a key part of the comic lore, wouldn’t it be nice to see a Voodoo priest who wasn’t the bad guy in one of these shows? That the series is setting him up as the villain, automatically makes it more problematic than the much-derided movie.

What does it say about us culturally that we still feel driven to depict African-Caribbean religious practices as insidiously evil? Obviously, Voodoo sort of lost the pop-culture war quite early but imagine if it was any other religion that was forever depicted as raising a plague of zombies…

You can buy Hellblazer: Original Sins for £11.99 at Amazon.co.uk.