Warner Bros. revealed today that it’s bringing Keanu Reeves back to play John Constantine, the famed DC Comics warlock, for a sequel to Reeves’ 2005 “superhero” film.
The sequel would re-team Reeves with original director Francis Lawrence, who’s all over the news this week—having recently also been tapped to direct a biopic about the band Sublime. The proposed film also comes as Warner Bros., uh… Well, how do we put this delicately? Let’s go with “Attempts to solidify its comic book movie strategy into something that looks like it might have come from an actual corporate machine, and not a guy who couldn’t find his ass with two hands and a map to the ass store.”
(The studio, recently merged with Discovery, is apparently struggling to find someone who wants the unenviable job of running their overall superhero movie division, i.e., spending the next two years of their life getting compared unfavorably to Marvel’s Kevin Feige while Warner/Discovery CEO David “Movie Murderer” Zaslav breathes directly down their neck.)
It’s not entirely hard to see why Constantine might appeal for a sequel treatment, though. Reeves is, if anything, even more popular now than he was back in 2005, when the original movie—based off of DC’s Hellblazer comics, and a character originally co-created by Alan Moore—clocked a respectable $230 million at the box office. The character has also been kept nicely alive in the public consciousness: Matt Ryan played him (with significantly more comics-faithful swagger than Reeves, we feel moved to note) for several years across multiple D.C.-based TV shows, and the Constantine family name is currently alive and well in Netflix’s Sandman. Plus, the sequel is being written by Akiva Goldsman and produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot—and while Goldsman’s presence isn’t necessarily a hallmark of quality, it does promise that a decent chunk of change is likely to get tossed at this thing.
It’ll be interesting to see how much of the original Constantine cast returns for the film; Rachel Weisz co-starred in the first movie, and Tilda Swinton and Peter Stormare both had major roles—Stormare’s turn as Satan at the film’s climax is still one of his best, most scenery-chewing performances in a career that’s never lacked for them.