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SYFY WIRE Constantine

Constantine: Why We Haven't Got a Sequel — and Will There Actually Be One?

Is there a cinematic afterlife for Keanu Reeves’ smoldering demon-slayer?

By Benjamin Bullard
John Constantine (Keanu Reeves) is pulled by ghouls in a fiery hellscape in Constantine (2005).

All the way back in 2005, the devil gave Keanu Reeves’ jaded, chain-smoking exorcist a second lease on life in Constantine (stream it here on Peacock!). But ever since our angsty antihero traded lung cancer for a supernaturally brighter future at the end of the killer comics-based first film, we’ve been waiting for a sequel to arrive — and at this point, getting it would almost feel like a minor miracle.

Is there any hope that Keanu and director Francis Lawrence (who admittedly got busy soon after Constantine with The Hunger Games franchise) can still put it all together and give us a Constantine sequel? Or are we destined to remain in movie limbo until our own fateful date with destiny? Let’s dive in and find out!

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There was an early plan to make a Constantine sequel

Story-wise, things didn’t look good for John Constantine’s future movie chances until the very end of the original film, when Satan (aka Lucifer, played by a sneering Peter Stormare) stepped in and offered Reeves’ character a sweetheart of a deal: All he had to do was hand over Lucifier’s wayward son Mammon in exchange for a life free from lung disease. Of course, Constantine gladly agreed. After all, he’d spent the whole movie trying to keep Mammon from summoning a demon army to wage war in the streets of Los Angeles, so (for once), his purposes and the devil’s were aligned.

In the bargain, John managed to save L.A. cop Angela (Rachel Weisz) from oblivion, while also vindicating the supposed suicide — an eternally damnable offense — of Angela’s twin sister Isabel (also played by Weisz). It was a tidy way to end the movie, with each key character — including the Prince of Darkness — getting what they were fighting for.

Though Constantine was a commercial success, the critics responded tepidly and, at least for a time, talk of a sequel came mostly from a small but vocal internet corner where fans of the movie were making the biggest noise. But as time passed, Constantine began to grow in reputation as an under-appreciated cult classic, even as it held a special place in Lawrence’s mind as his breakthrough debut as a feature film director.

By 2011, Lawrence was signaling his interest in revisiting more stories from the DC and Vertigo Comics character. “It's interesting that over the years, Constantine seems like it's become... like it has this sort of cult following, which has been great," he told MTV at the time. “…It would be great to figure out a sequel, and if we did, and we've been trying to figure one out, it would be great to do the really dark, scary [version]. We got caught in that weird PG-13 - R no man's land, and we should do the hard-R scary version, which I would love to do.”

More time passed without a lot of official buzz about whether, or how, a sequel might take shape. In 2021, Reeves even admitted, while chatting with Stephen Colbert, that he’d long “tried’ behind the scenes to make a sequel happen, and flatly stated that he “would love to be John Constantine again.”

The Constantine sequel is officially revealed!

Constantine (Keanu Reeves) wears a suit in Constantine (2005).

There’s no way to know if Reeves already knew something special was in the works at the time he teased his late-stage sequel interest to Colbert. But less than a year later, word officially arrived that a second Constantine movie was in development at long last, and that it would reunite the original key players from the first film — a dream team of creators including Reeves, producer/screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company, and Lawrence as director.

That announcement came in the fall of 2022, not long before James Gunn and Peter Safran took up their shared mantles as co-heads of the newly re-envisioned DC Studios. A five-month writers’ strike came along in the summer of 2023 to complicate the timeline even further — though neither the strike nor the new creative direction at DC appeared to permanently derail the project, as Lawrence explained in more recent remarks to Gamespot.

“So Constantine 2 got obviously held up by the writers strike. And we had to jump through a bunch of hurdles to get control of the character again, because other people had control of the Vertigo stuff. We have control,” he said. “…Keanu and Akiva Goldsman and I have been in meetings and have been hashing out what we think the story is going to be, and there's more meetings of those that have to happen — the script has to be written — but really hoping that we get to do Constantine 2, and make a real rated-R version of it.”

Even with all the recent development buzz surrounding the (hopeful) sequel, there’s an ocean of distance between its original announcement (which came with no firm development timeline) and the possibility that fans will ever see a finished product. Industry watchers have speculated that a second Constantine film would slot into Gunn’s larger creative vision as one of the lore-independent movie projects of the “Elseworlds” side of the DC Studios movie-verse — though it’s reasonable to suspect that he’d prefer to establish a canon of mainline DC films that follow their own Avengers-style timeline continuum before delving too deep into a slate of Elseworlds movies that (at least in theory) are intended not to advance a multi-movie story arc, but rather to stand on their own.

Then again, we really don’t know what Gunn might have up his sleeve when it comes to incorporating John Constantine (or, perhaps, omitting him) from DC’s larger shared-universe plans. On top of that, the studio hasn’t teased any hint of a release date for a sequel. For now at least, we’ll simply be grateful that all the key players appear to remain committed to the project… while we pray like the devil that Constantine 2 actually makes it out of movie limbo.

Constantine is streaming on Peacock here.