It’s been a little over two years since John Constantine came and went in a brief 13-episode run on NBC. Since the cancellation of Constantine, Matt Ryan’s chainsmoking magician appeared on Arrow and will take the lead in DC’s new animated movie Justice League Dark. While DC has been hush-hush over its future plans for Johnny, last week’s mid season finale of Legends of Tomorrow poses a connection to the character’s possible return.
The new Legion of Doom — the Reverse-Flash, Malcolm Merlyn, Damien Darhk, and (eventually) Captain Cold — are pursuing an ancient relic: the Spear of Destiny, or the Holy Lance, that pierced the side of Jesus Christ during his crucifixion. And just guess who in the DC Universe is an established expert on relics and mysticism? Yes, John Constantine.
After his retroactive inclusion on Arrow, Constantine has been propped up in the Arrowverse as a go-to figure on the supernatural, though it’s been an entire year since his last appearance. In the Season 4 episode “Haunted,” the MacGuffin that brings Constantine and Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) together is the Eye of Horus, which became the weapon of Hawkgirl (Ciara Renee) in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
The Spear of Destiny, which was also the plot device in the 2005 film Constantine starring Keanu Reeves, has quite the interesting legend IRL, even if it’s probably bunk. Supposedly, the Spear lends great power to anyone who wields it, but when they relinquish possession of it they die. Adolf Hitler was allegedly obsessed with the Spear and came into possession of it after he seized Austria in 1938. After losing the Spear to General Patton in 1945, Hitler killed himself in his bunker. Patton gave the spear to the Weltliches Schatzkammer Museum in Vienna, where it currently resides. Patton died later that year from injuries sustained in a car accident.
Of course, the spear Hitler had probably wasn’t the real thing anyway. Aside from a number of other lances claiming to be THE spear around the world, metallurgist Dr. Robert Feather examined the spear in Vienna for a BBC TV special back in 2003. He concluded that it’s from the seventh century — a little more than 600 years after it supposedly pierced Christ — and was maybe created by the Romans for ceremonies. Oops?
Still, in the world of fantasy and superheroes, it’s more than enough for the Spear of Destiny to be real, with real powers, and it might come into the hands of the Legion of Doom when the show returns after winter hiatus. While DC and Warner Bros. are still mum whether or not it wants Matt Ryan’s Constantine revived, the series was finally released on Blu-ray, it’s now streaming on the CW Seed, and there is even a new Constantine action figure. But maybe the spear will give him a fighting chance.
Also, fun little nugget: Emperor Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity. How great would it be if it actually was John Constantine who became a Roman emperor? Remember, there is time travel.
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow will return on January 24.