News only broke fairly recently that the female lead on NBC's Constantine was being replaced for another DC Comics heroine. Actress Lucy Griffiths, who plays the female lead Liv (whom fans assumed was an amalgamation of a few Hellblazer characters), will be replaced by Zed, another staple of Vertigo's Hellblazer comic series. Producers of the show simply stated that the rationale for the switch was simply that they wanted to take the show in a different direction. There's scuttlebutt that says this was in reaction to the pilot leaking but consider that unconfirmed fan speculation at this point. Replacing Griffiths is actress Angelica Celaya, who will play Zed.
Also, here's a recap of the highlights of the panel, courtesy of Constantine's official twitter account.
-Expect lots of DC Comics easter eggs in the pilot.
-David Goyer stated that don't expect friends of Constantine to stay safe. [Guess he's referring to Liv.]
-The show deals with Constantine doing good for a reward and doing good for the sake of good. As comic book readers will know, John Constantine soul belongs to Hell and thus he's trying to do enough good deeds during his time on Earth to make sure he doesn't spend his afterlife as demon fodder.
-The first season is about rising darkness.
-Harold Perrineau says his character, Manny , is an angel of questionable intent.
-Constantine is a smoker, but we just won't actually see him smoke.
-One scene from the pilot is being reshot to make Liv less of a heroic figure and more of a damsel in distress. It's in order to facilitate her exit from the show and set the stage for Zed.
UPDATE: Following the conclusion of the show's TCA panel, the show's producers spoke with IGN individually and revealed that they're currently speaking to DC Entertainment about including The Spectre aka Jim Corrigan in the show. Said executive producer Daniel Cerone---
"It might happen, it might not. It’s just the point you’re catching us at. 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. 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."
Including The Spectre and doing the character justice would shoot Constantine to the top of my rankings of new superhero dramas debuting this Fall. Does the possibility of a Spectre recurring arc entice you?