In a move that might make Alan Moore’s working class warlock smile, a rough cut of this week’s Arrow episode, “Haunted,” was uploaded to torrent sites last night, three days before it’s set to air on the CW. The episode features Matt Ryan reprising the role of John Constantine, central character of the show of the same name which ran for 13 episodes on NBC during the 2014-15 season. As of this morning the leaked episode has been downloaded more than 11,000 times according to sites that track piracy. The source of the leak is unknown, but screeners were sent to TV critics in advance, and the torrented video contains the anti-piracy warning included on all such screeners.
The episode is the end result of an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to save Constantine, cancelled by NBC in May owing to dismal ratings in its Friday night time slot. The show managed to attract a dedicated fanbase that included Arrow star Stephen Amell, who publicly declared he would guest star if it was picked up by another network. When that effort failed, Amell lobbied hard to bring the character to Arrow in some capacity.
Constantine’s appearance on Arrow has been teased all season, with magic and the supernatural an increasingly major plot point. “Haunted” will see Arrow reaching out to John Constantine for help dealing with Sara Lance (formerly the Canary, soon to be White Canary), recently brought back from the dead in advance of the character’s central role on the CW’s upcoming super hero series Legends of Tomorrow. Whether the leak will impact Arrow ratings remains to be seen, but the episode has been highly anticipated with early critical reaction very positive. “Haunted” airs Wednesday on the CW.
Created by Alan Moore, John Constantine was introduced in 1985 on the pages of Swamp Thing, and later starred in his own comic series, Hellblazer, published from 1988–2013. The character was rebooted as part of DC’s larger New 52 continuity overhaul and currently appears in Constantine: The Hellblazer.