‘Hunger Games’ Director Confirms Keanu Reeves Return to DC Universe

in DC, Movies


Credit: ITM

Previous to the achievements of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), comic book movies had an unstable success rate in Hollywood. DC led the charge with blockbusters like Superman (1978) and Batman (1989). Then, Marvel would have huge franchises with X-Men (2000) and Spider-Man (2002), which paved the way for the MCU. However, these successes resulted in an overflow of projects, which has now caused “superhero fatigue” at the box office. Director Francis Lawrence hopes to change this by resurrecting a DC cult classic movie with Keanu Reeves.

Credit: ITM

Comic book movies have not always been associated with superheroes. Many film studios attempted to pull rich source material from adaptations of various comics. Unfortunately, their lack of a global brand outside the comic book world generated dismal box office revenue. However, many of these movies later became cult classics, like Disney’s The Rocketeer (1991), Universal’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010),  Miramax’s The Crow (1994) and Warner Bros.’ Constantine (2005).

keanu reeves in constantine
Credit: Warner Bros.

John Constantine, aka Hellblazer, was a collaborative creation by comic legend Alan Moore (“Watchmen”), as well as Rick Veitch, Steve Bissette and John Totleben. He debuted in the “Saga of Swamp Thing” in 1985 as part of DC’s Vertigo line of comics. This division of DC was meant to house the darker, more complex characters of this universe. Constantine was a powerful chain smoking sorcerer who used his magic to battle unseen demonic forces. The character became a fan favorite with readers due to the anti-hero’s sharp tongue, dry wit and tragic backstory.

Credit: DC Comics

Warner Bros. eventually decided to explore non-superhero DC properties in the 2000s as they looked into their Vertigo selection of characters. This became the big break for up-and-coming filmmaker Francis Lawrence who directed a stellar ensemble cast that featured Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Tilda Swinton, and Dijmon Hounsou. The film was a substantial success for the studio, but was still met with mixed reviews and audience reception. It grossed $230 million total on a $100 million budget, but did not develop a devoted following until after its DVD release.

keanu reeves as constantine leaping from demons
Credit: Warner Bros.

Two decades later, the film has still remained an underappreciated gem for many comic book movie lovers. Even Keanu Reeves has divulged that of all the characters he has played in his career, the one role he wished to reprise was Constantine. Fans have also made inquiry with now prominent Hollywood director, Francis Lawrence, on the possibilities of a potential Constantine sequel.  Time has not reduced Lawrence’s enthusiasm for this topic as he finally revealed a major update to the next installment of the beloved cult classic.

keanu reeves smoking as john constantine
Credit: Warner Bros.

Lawrence stated, “So Constantine 2 got obviously held up by the writers strike, and we had to jump through a bunch of hurdles to get control of the character again because other people had control of the Vertigo stuff.” He continued, “We have control [now]. Keanu and Akiva Goldsman and I have been in meetings and have been hashing out what we think the story is going to be.” The director confessed that a script has not been written yet, but is hopeful that Constantine 2 will become a reality at some point. He also expressed that it would need to be Rated-R as well.

Credit: DailyMotion

While all the pieces seem to be in place to make the film, the fact that Constantine is a DC property will make the sequel tricky. Warner Bros. has gone through a major regime change since its merger to become Warner Bros. Discovery. This change in management prompted the hiring of co-chiefs, James Gunn and Peter Safran, who were given the painstaking task of reshaping the entire DC cinematic brand.

Credit: AS USA

This immense shift in the creative direction of DC could be a wrench in bringing Constantine back. However, the success of Matt Reeves’ The Batman and Todd Phillips’ Joker have proven audiences are fine viewing DC character films outside of a shared cinematic universe. Until then, Francis Lawrence is currently promoting the latest Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

What do you think of Lawrence’s comments? Has too much time passed to make a second film?

in DC, Movies

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