Following the events of Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, the DC Animated Movie Universe timeline’s version of John Constantine finds himself back in the spotlight for the DC Showcase short Constantine: The House of Mystery, with Legends of Tomorrow’s Matt Ryan voicing the character once again. But Constantine isn’t the only major player from the supernatural corner of DC Comics mythology who shows up, as this feature also stars Lou Diamond Phillips as The Spectre, one of the most powerful entities in existence. The House of Mystery marks Phillips’ first time lending his voice to a superhero project, and producer Rick Morales didn’t hold back on praising the actor’s performance while speaking with CinemaBlend.
During my interview with Rick Morales about Constantine: The House of Mystery and the other DC Showcase shorts (i.e. Blue Beetle, Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth! and The Losers) now available to buy in a box set, I asked him what special quality Lou Diamond Phillips had made him the best choice to voice The Spectre. Morales answered:
Introduced in 1940’s More Fun Comics #52, The Spectre is traditionally depicted as exacting vengeance on behalf of God, and is usually anchored to a human host, like Jim Corrigan and Crispus Allen. In Constantine: The House of Mystery, we simply see Lou Diamond Phillip’s Spectre as a god-like entity who put Constantine in the animated short’s title location. Unfortunately, Constantine has to suffer through a nightmare time loop that sees him continually being killed by demons masquerading as loved ones.
Lou Diamond Phillips is the third actor to voice Spectre in animation, with Mark Hamill having done so in a couple episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold (which is available to watch with an HBO Max subscription) and Gary Cole bringing the character to life in The Spectre DC Showcase short from 2010. We’ve also seen two versions of Jim Corrigan in the Arrowverse, and Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen even inherited the Spectre mantle during “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” Back to Constantine: The House of Mystery, I also asked writer Ernie Altbacker (who drew inspiration for the story from Doctor Who) what he thought about Phillips’ Spectre performance, and he said he was surprised to learn it was the Longmire actor who’d been hired. In his words:
Warning: SPOILERS for Constantine: The House of Mystery are ahead!
We learn in Constantine: The House of Mystery that The Spectre put John Constantine in the House for instructing The Flash to travel back in time and create another Flashpoint to undo all the devastation wreaked in Justice League Dark: Apokolips War. However, by the end of the short, it’s revealed that Spectre had intended Constantine’s house arrest to be a place where he could spend eternity with those closest to him. Instead, Constantine had subconsciously turned it into a personal hell because of his guilt and failure to forgive himself.
Unfortunately, because John Constantine eventually decided to break out of the House on his own, The Spectre could not put him backing in there. With the universe demanding restitution, the sorcerer was sent off to parts unknown, and whatever awaited on the other side was bad enough that he begged Spectre to kill him. Given how ambiguously the short ended, as well Spectre important in the grand scheme of DC cosmic happenings, don’t be surprised if we haven’t seen the last of Lou Diamond Phillips’ version of the character.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s DC Showcase — Constantine: The House of Mystery compilation can be purchased on Blu-ray and Digital. If you’re already looking to what the future has coming up in the realm of DC animation, check out the trailer for Green Lantern: Beware My Power.
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