billy siegel

NBC's Constantine have cast New Orleans Police Department detective Jim Corrigan, better known to comic book fans as the Gotham City cop who would one day become The Spectre.

The actor in question will be Emmett Scanlan, who becomes the latest actor to toggle back and forth from the Marvel to DC Universes, as he was last seen in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, in which he played the head riot guard.

Created by Jerry Siegel and Billy Baily, The Spectre first appeared in 1940. After his murder, Corrigan returned from the dead to act as the human host for The Spectre, an avenging spirit working for “The Voice,” a force which depending on which version of the character’s history you read may be the Christian God (that’s certainly how he was played in Kingdom Come, arguably his greatest recent story).

The Spectre often killed those he judged as guilty in karmically-satisfying and grotesque ways, making him a promising candidate for a TV adaptation. Back in 2011, FOX was developing a series around The Spectre and more recently, rumors started in July that the character would appear on Constantine and then, if the series did well, be spun off onto his own show.

“Right now, episode five is off on outline. Within the context of episode five, we had a need for a police officer who sees that supernatural evils exist. Right there, okay, that’s an opportunity to introduce a DC character,” Executive Producer Daniel Cerone said back in July. “So we talked to our DC representatives and we’re like what if we make this character Jim Corrigan, who goes on the become The Spectre. For those who don’t know, Jim Corrigan is a police officer who kind of takes the law into his own hands… he ends up dying and is reincarnated as The Spectre. So it’s a perfect opportunity for us, because we can name this character Jim Corrigan and within our story, for the general viewer, that works, because now Constantine has a friend on the force. For the comic book fan, ‘My god, that’s Jim Corrigan!’ And we can get back to that character and can slowly develop that character and who knows, maybe there’s an opportunity in the future to even see the origin story unfold within the framework of our TV series. It creates opportunities and creatively you just have to go in and lay that groundwork in and try and let it unfold naturally. So we’re in the midst of approvals on that, but that’s one idea we’re exploring right now.”

IGN, who broke the casting news, described his character as follows:

On Constantine, Corrigan will be a homicide detective in New Orleans who is plunged into Constantine’s world of occult horrors. Furthermore, Corrigan is someone who is obsessed with justice, and who doesn’t let police procedure or red tape stop him from putting away the bad guys, even if the bad guys turn out to be inhuman.

“Jim Corrigan” is also the name of a corrupt Gotham City police officer who, during the Gotham Central run from which FOX's Gotham will draw generously, murdered fellow officer Crispus Allen, who went on to become The Spectre (at this point, the original Jim Corrigan had finally been allowed to pass on, ceding his role as The Spectre first to Hal Jordan and then to Allen). While Corrigan has not been announced as a character on Gotham, Crispus Allen will appear on the series.

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