Last night Arrow aired “Haunted,” the long awaited episode featuring Oliver Queen teaming up with occultist John Constantine (reprised by Matt Ryan). However, it wasn’t the first chance fans had to watch the crossover. Earlier this week, the episode was leaked online, though it wasn’t the final version that aired on Wednesday. Needless to say many fans took advantage of that, and executive producer Marc Guggenheim wasn’t pleased about it. Here's what he had to say:
Obviously we’re not thrilled about it. You try to make yourself feel better by saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but this is obviously not how we want people to experience the episode. Particularly since it was pirated off a screener copy without finalized visual effects, sound and color.
As he put it to Deadline, the episode that leaked was a rough cut, and that version of “Haunted” (which came from a DVD screener) wasn’t the way he wanted fans to experience the story.
While piracy is a consistent problem when it comes to movies and TV shows, Arrow hasn’t often dealt with its episodes leaking early, though fellow DC shows The Flash, Supergirl and even Constantine all found their pilots online months before their official air date. Like Guggenheim said, watching an episode without the post-production work perfected isn’t the way it’s supposed to be consumed, but when it comes to seeing the story unfold, many fans will jump at the opportunity to watch it a little earlier as opposed to waiting for it to air in its normal timeslot. Arrow should just count itself fortunate that it’s not in the same tier as Game of Thrones when it comes to avid fans.
Guggenheim also mentioned that he hoped the leak wouldn’t affect the episode’s ratings, and it looks like there wasn’t too much damage. Arrow was watched by around 2.57 million viewers last night and earned a 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demographic, boosting it up 10% from the previous week. Granted, maybe those numbers would have been bigger had the episode not found its way online days before, but it looks like everything worked out fine in the end.
“Haunted” saw Oliver recruiting Constantine in the present to restore Sara Lance’s soul to her body, while in the flashbacks the two heroes went on a mini adventure on Lian Yu. Guggenheim reaffirmed Constantine’s appearance was a “one-time only deal,” but it’s hard to imagine that given the character’s popularity and how well the episode has been received that there aren’t talks going on right now to bring back Ryan in Season 5. If magic is going to keep playing an important part in the series, then Team Arrow would be wise to keep the trench-coat wearing dabbler of the dark arts on retainer.
New episodes of Arrow air Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.