Keanu Reeves’ Constantine Replacement Is A Black Actor

A new series about John Constantine is in development right now and the studio is replacing Keanu Reeves with a black actor. It looks like the show will get back to what the comic books did so well.

By Doug Norrie | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

keanu reeves constantine

In the age of comic book adaptations coming to the big and small screen, there will never just be one iteration of a character. When it’s all said and done, we will end up having many, many different versions of folks with studios choosing pivot points whenever the time is right. That’s going to be the case with John Constantine, played by the great Keanu Reeves playing the character on the big screen more than 15 years ago. Now, DC and Warner Bros are set to reboot the character of Constantine for a new series, but they are opting to go with a black actor this time around. 

This news about the upcoming Constantine series comes from insider Daniel Richtman who posted a casting sheet for the show with details about what they are looking for in the lead character. According to Richtman’s notes, the series is looking for a black actor, in the 25-29 range who also happens to be British. From a description standpoint, this is going to be pretty different than what we originally got with Keanu Reeves, though in some ways will be a bit more comic book accurate for the character of John Constantine. 

Though there had been rumors about Keanu Reeves getting back into the role of Constantine, this new series won’t include him. Instead, it looks like the show will make the lead character British, something that is in line with the original comic book stories. The occult-heavy storylines often had Constantine as a foul-mouthed, but witty Brit who was rather heavy on the cynical natures of having to deal with the constantly at-odds forces of Heaven and Hell. In addition to the notes about what they were looking for in the lead, Richtman also has it that the new series won’t have much overlap with what we saw from the Keanu Reeves version in terms of the story either. This is going to have a different tone to the story and will lean away from certain horror elements as well as making religion less of a focus. 

Keanu Reeves only ended up playing the character for one movie, 2005s Constantine. While it performed decently enough at the box office, earning a little north of $230 million on its $70 million budget, the critics weren’t all that kind. It’s currently sitting at 46% on Rotten Tomatoes with the negative reviews saying the film missed the mark not only with the character but with the struggles Constantine faces throughout. There seemed to be a purposeful distancing from aspects of Constantine that worked so well on the comic book pages, leaning more into the Keanu Reeves vibe than they should have with this particular character. It just wasn’t a match and a sequel never materialized. It would seem from this casting call that the new show will get a little more snarky and brooding. There’s a good chance it works out much better. 

As for Keanu Reeves, he’s more than busy enough even without a return to John Constantine. He’s set to reprise his role as Neo when Matrix Resurrections releases on December 22nd. He’s also got a couple of more John Wick movies on the way and will also introduce a new character when BZRKR hits Netflix in the next couple of years.