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SYFY WIRE Constantine

Constantine director and Keanu Reeves want a sequel but can't get the rights: 'It’s not for a lack of trying'

By Jacob Oller
Keanu Reeves in Constantine

As Constantine rounds the corner on its 15th anniversary, fans of the film from director Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games franchise) and star Keanu Reeves (everything that is good and pure in this world) will be pleased to note that those involved with the cult comic adaptation love it as much as they do. In fact, even if the DC film about a bisexual hellblazer sputtered at the time (the world just wasn't ready for superhero movies), they and producer Akiva Goldsman have talked about doing a sequel — the only problem is that comic book movies are a lot more complicated to put together nowadays.

Speaking to Slashfilm, Lawrence documented his efforts to get a second run at the beloved occult cynic, summarizing that, "It’s not for a lack of trying." Everyone involved has continued to have blockbuster careers...the only problem is that superhero movies became a gigantic, universe-planning affair in the last decade and a half.

“I think we all wanted to do it. It was successful enough," the filmmaker said. "We wanted to make a responsible, more R-rated movie. By responsible, I mean we’d make a movie that wouldn’t cost quite as much as the original, which we thought was going to be PG-13. We worked on the sequel for a while."

Where does a film, that's Heaven and Hell antics were perhaps a turn-off to mainstream non-geeky audiences, go for a sophomore effort? "It was tricky to come up with where to take it," Lawrence explained. "What I really liked about the first one was it was a really personal story, so I thought it’d be a mistake to get caught up in the supernatural gobblygook. The idea of a personal story was really interesting, and that was the hard thing to come across."

But that doesn't mean they weren't willing to try. After rumors swirled about Keanu being open to returning to the character — something very believable considering his return to Bill & Ted — Lawrence confirmed: they'd all discussed and wanted a sequel.

"We have been talking about it recently," Lawrence said. "It’s always stuck with all of us because we all love the movie, and especially realizing there’s a real cult following for this movie, it’d be fun to make. Keanu, Akiva, and I have actually talked about it."

But he said iit hasn't happened because of rights, universe canon, and corporate structure: "Unfortunately, I don’t even remember who has it, but with all these shared universes that exist now, with Constantine being a part of Vertigo, which is a part of DC, people have plans for these shared universes," Lawrence said. "You know, possibly different Constantines and things like that. 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.”

Of course, the character of Constantine has been a mainstay in The CW's Arrowverse the past few years, played by Matt Ryan. The character remains a series regular on Legends of Tomorrow.

A grizzled big screen Constantine return could be exactly what DC's bold new standalone strategy could need. Those looking for more Constantine news can watch its Comic-Con at Home reunion panel, which looks to bring Reeves, Lawrence, and Goldsman back together on Saturday, July 25 at 12:00 p.m.