Die-hard DC fans got an unexpected treat this week in the fifth installment of Harley Quinn's third season on HBO Max. Entitled "It's a Swamp Thing," the episode revolves around Harley (Kaley Cuoco) and Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) attempting to track down their wisecracking plant/roommate, Frank (J.B. Smoove). The journey leads them down south to New Orleans, where everyone's favorite occult detective — John Constantine — challenges the duo to a drinking contest in exchange for information on the whereabouts of the elusive Swamp Thing (guest star Sam Richardson).
The booze-happy and trench coat-wearing paranormal investigator is voiced by none other than Matt Ryan, who has famously played the role for close to a decade in both the realms of live-action (NBC's Constantine and The CW's Legends of Tomorrow) and animation (Constantine: City of Demons and Justice League Dark: Apokolips War). While the supernatural gumshoe only appears onscreen for a handful of minutes, Ryan's willingness to reprise the character for what ultimately amounts to a brief cameo serves as a reminder of the actor's deep love for the comic book gig.
"Matt Ryan, in our book, is the definitive John Constantine," Harley Quinn co-showrunners Patrick Schumacker and Justin Halpern, said in an exclusive statement provided to SYFY WIRE. "That’s why he’s endured across multiple series and animated work. He’s simply the best, and it’s awesome to see the fans immediately recognize him the second they hear his voice in this episode."
Appearing at San Diego Comic-Con last month, Schumacker discussed the amount of creative control he and Halpern are given over the show and its utilization of DC's legacy properties. “I think what people don't give DC enough credit for is that DC takes swings. They will let you take swings with their IP,” he says. “They can make Joker, the movie, and then they can make Aquaman. Those two movies definitely don't exist in the same universe, right? But they trust that the audience isn't going to conflate these universes.”
The showrunners developed the animated comedy project alongside Dean Lorey and serve as executive producers with Cuoco, Sam Register, Jessica Goldstein, and Chrissy Pietrosh. Ron Funches (King Shark), Alan Tudyk (Clayface/The Joker), Matt Oberg (Kite Man), Christopher Meloni (Commissioner Gordon), Andy Daly (Two-Face), Diedrich Bader (Batman/Bruce Wayne), James Adomian (Bane), Sanaa Lathan (Selina Kyle), Briana Cuoco (Batgirl/Barbara Gordon), and Harvey Guillen (Nightwing) round out the main voice cast.
The first five episodes of Harley Quinn Season 3 are now available to stream on HBO Max. Episode 6 ("Joker: The Killing Vote," the title being an obvious riff on the seminal graphic novel written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland) premieres on the service Thursday, Aug. 18.
A live-action Constantine television project is currently in development from J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot, though it's unlikely that Ryan will be brought back to play the titular hero.
Looking for some sci-fi fun and adventure? Check out Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Warehouse 13, Eureka, SYFY's Resident Alien, Sliders, Intergalactic and more on Peacock now.