Looks like it may be time to recast John Constantine once again. The hard-smoking, hard-drinking spiritualist and psychic defender of our Earthly dimension is reportedly set to receive a brand new series via HBO Max, in conjunction with the upcoming Justice League Dark series from the same streamer. HBO Max hasn’t yet officially confirmed the news, but numerous outlets have reported it based on inside sources.
We say “recast” because HBO is apparently searching now for a lead actor to play Constantine, and word is that the series would follow a younger version of the character than we’ve seen so far. In the 2005 film, the character was played by Keanu Reeves, with his British origins sadly retconned. The subsequent NBC TV series, meanwhile, brought in Matt Ryan to play Constantine and was considerably closer to the comic book inspiration, but it was canceled after only a single season. Ryan, however, was generally well liked in the role, and went on to reprise it with frequent appearances on CW series Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. He’s only 39 today, but apparently HBO Max is looking for a fresher face—perhaps the suit-wearing Constantine who dabbled as a punk rocker that comic book fans know from the character’s younger days?
Regardless, Guy Bolton is reportedly attached to write the Constantine series, which would also tie directly into HBO Max’s planned Justice League Dark, produced by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot. The roster for that particular teamup hasn’t been announced yet, but in the comics it has included such characters as Zatanna, Deadman, Swamp Thing, Madame Xanadu and others. If they’re all being given their own series, this would essentially make the Justice League Dark build-up like a re-do of Netflix’s Marvel Television Universe as it worked its way to The Defenders.
HBO Max is certainly working to establish quite an expanded DC Comics presence, there can be no doubt of that. They have multiple projects coming up that tie directly to DC films, including John Cena’s Peacemaker series that will follow his The Suicide Squad character, along with a Gotham police series that will be spun off from Robert Pattinson’s The Batman, likely reflecting the tone of the comic GCPD.
We’ll bring you more updates on this expanded DC slate of shows on HBO Max as the news breaks.