Keanu Reeves is an actor who is pretty well-versed when it comes to the subject of fictional violence. The man has spent decades playing a wide variety of characters who know how to expertly and efficiently kick an enemy’s ass – from his kung fu moves on display in the Matrix movies to the deadly skills featured in the John Wick series. One thing we’ve never seen him do, however, is rear back his fist and straight-up punch a guy through the chest… but evidently that’s an image that fascinates him on some level, as it was evidently the key idea that inspired his hit new comic book series BRZRKR (an adaptation of which is now in the works at Netflix).
Boom! Studios published the first issue of BRZRKR in March 2021, and it’s been such a massive success that the comic got to host a special Hall H panel today at San Diego Comic-Con with Keanu Reeves on stage. The actor/filmmaker/comic creator was asked by the moderator at the start of the event what it was that first inspired the invention of the lead character in the series, and Reeves explained that he loved the idea of a protagonist with unreal strength and power, but one who is also “cursed” with inflicting pain. He explained,
Clearly the idea originated as a concept for a role that Keanu Reeves could play in a movie or television series, but the medium for the idea changed in 2017 when he took a meeting with Boom! Studios – the American comic publisher founded in 2005. They asked him if there was anything that he was interested in developing, and he explained his graphic, violent idea:
From that nugget of a concept resulted BRZRKR, which has been so exceptionally popular since its launch that it’s actually considered the most successful comic book debut in the last 30 years. Keanu Reeves further developed the idea with writer Matt Kindt, artist Ron Garney and the editors and executives at Boom! Studios and the result has been hundreds of thousands of issues flying off the shelves of comic book stories everywhere.
The “hero” of BRZRKR is a half god/half mortal known as B. who has been on Earth for 80,000 years, but whose own history is a mystery unto himself. Because of his remarkable skills and supernatural strength, he is enlisted by the U.S. government to take on exceptionally dangerous missions that only he could survive, and in exchange he will learn not only of his origins, but how he can end his violent life.
The comic book, which still hasn’t finished publishing its debut 12-issue run, has been so popular that is inspiring a great deal of multimedia expansion. In addition to the aforementioned live-action feature film that is being developed for Netflix (with screenwriter Mattson Tomlin penning the script), it has also been announced that there is going to be a novel published by Random House and that an anime is now in the works from Production I.G. – the animation studio best known for making the exceptionally popular Ghost In The Shell series.
At present, the BRZRKR movie is one of many upcoming Keanu Reeves projects, and it doesn’t have a set target release date (as that’s not something that Netflix typically does), but those who are excited for the project can start getting hyped now as the comic series continues to release new installments. The first nine issues are now available in stores, and BRZRKR #10 is, according to Previews World, going to be released in September.
While we wait for more info about the adaptation, you can put your Netflix subscription to good use by checking out the best movies that are now available on the streaming service.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.