John Constantine, the big city occult detective and chainsmoker of DC Comics, is so beloved he’s fueled both a movie and a TV series in the last 15 years. Now he’s coming back for a third round: According to Deadline, HBO Max is developing its own series from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production company. The big difference: The character will be younger and he’ll also not be white, with the creators looking for a more diverse cast.
Keanu Reeves was the first actor to play the character, headlining Constantine, a big-budget film adaptation released in 2005, which took a character usually portrayed as British and blonde — Sting was the original inspiration for the character’s look — and making him American and brunette. (He also quit smoking, but not till the end of the film.) That movie failed to result in a franchise, but the character came back a decade later, this time as a CW show, where he was played by Welsh actor Matt Ryan. It only lasted one season, but Ryan continued to play him on Arrow-verse shows.
John Constantine made his debut in an issue of The Saga of Swamp Thing, in the middle of Alan Moore’s name-making run of the DC character. He was then given his own comic, Hellblazer, which became the longest-running comic in DC’s more adult-oriented Vertigo imprint. Constantine is an antihero — a deeply cynical and sarcastic conman and manipulator, albeit one who tends to work on the side of good, especially when supernatural forces threaten humanity. And while both the Keanu movie and the CW show have its fans, maybe the third time is the one that sticks around.