Years before Matt Ryan brought John Constantine to life, Keanu Reeves first portrayed the chain-smoking occult detective in live action. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Constantine’s release, and while a sequel never followed, both Reeves and the movie’s director, Francis Lawrence, are still down for another round to tackle the DC Comics character if the opportunity presents itself.
Here’s what Francis Lawrence had to say about the prospect of Constantine 2:
Right now, we don’t have that character available to us for TV or movies, which is a bummer. We all investigated it, but I think it’s kind of crazy when you have Keanu, who would love to do another Constantine, and us wanting to do another Constantine, and people are like, 'Uh, no, we got other plans.' We’ll see what happens.
So the lack of Constantine 2 happening even a decade and a half after the first movie came out isn’t for a lack of interest from its lead star or director. As Francis Lawrence informed Slashfilm, John Constantine’s usage is complicated by “shared universes” (i.e. the character once being part of Vertigo, which was a DC Comics imprint, and now resting within the main DC universe), and the plans in store for said universes. Still, if it were up to Lawrence and Keanu Reeves, they’re willing to re-explore this supernatural realm they first delved into in the mid-2000s.
It’s safe to say that Constantine took a fair amount of creative liberties with the source material, and upon its release in 2005, it was met with mixed critical reception and only made $230.9 million worldwide off a $100 million budget. Nevertheless, 15 years later, has assembled a sizable fanbase, and talk about making a sequel stretches back over a decade. In 2011, Francis Lawrence noted how he’d want to make Constantine 2 R-rated and extra scary, and Keanu Reeves even expressed interest last year in reprising John Constantine.
Of course, even Keanu Reeves wasn’t busy acting in all sorts of projects, including the popular John Wick franchise, as Francis Lawrence noted, there are other obstacles in the way to reuniting with this incarnation of John Constantine. That’s not even counting that Matt Ryan’s Constantine continues to be a regular presence on the CW series Legends of Tomorrow.
Earlier this year, it was announced that J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company is partnering with Warner media to create a Justice League Dark film and TV universe, starting with a show centered on the team of supernatural characters heading to HBO Max. Given how John Constantine’s part of the main Justice League Dark roster in the comics, it wouldn’t be surprising if he was one of the series’ main characters, but there’s even been rumors about Constantine leading either his own movie or separate TV series set in this new universe.
While there’s a slim possibility that this Justice League Dark universe could incorporate Keanu Reeves’s John Constantine, be it in the ensemble TV show or in his own adventures, given the actor’s stature and schedule, as well as to allow for more creative freedom, I suspect that fans will be introduced to another version of the character. Still, at least it’s nice to know that if DC and Warner Bros are willing to revisit the world of 2005’s Constantine, Keanu Reeves and Francis Lawrence are open to it. Ideally the sequel would be even more successful if Lawrence was allowed to go down that R-rated path, not to mention Reeves’ increased popularity in recent years.
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