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SYFY WIRE Constantine

Constantine getting younger in new dark reboot from Bad Robot, HBO Max

By James Comtois
Hellblazer cover

After headlining his own feature film, a show on NBC, and appearing in The CW’s Arrowverse and a series of films produced by Warner Bros. Animation, a new version of DC ComicsJohn Constantine is now heading to HBO Max. Citing unnamed sources, both Deadline and Variety are reporting that J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot is developing a Constantine series with WarnerMedia for the streaming service.

The new series would not be connected to The CW’s Arrowverse shows and the eponymous hero will not be reprised by Matt Ryan ... or Keanu Reeves, for that matter. Instead, this show will focus on a younger version of the trenchcoated paranormal investigator and exorcist and be played by a non-white actor (who has yet to be cast). "Fledgling writer" Guy Bolton has penned the pilot and plans to set up the writers’ room next month, according to Deadline. Representatives from HBO Max declined to confirm or comment on the media reports. 

The series would be directly connected to the Justice League Dark series that Bad Robot is also currently developing for HBO Max. Rather than the conventional heroes found in the Hall of Justice, Justice League Dark is DC Comics’ team of paranormal heroes and antiheroes who tackle the paranormal problems and supernatural threats that Aquaman and The Flash would rather not touch. In addition to Constantine, the squad’s lineup has included Zatanna, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Detective Chimp, Man-Bat, Traci Thirteen, Nabu, Upside-Down Man, and Blue Devil, among others.

Originally appearing in DC Comics’ The Saga of Swamp Thing issue #37 in 1985, then later heading up his own comic book series Hellblazer in 1988, Constantine is a London-based chain-smoking warlock and occult detective who hunts down demons while of course battling his own (because metaphors).

The character was first portrayed in live action by Reeves in the 2005 film, Constantine. Ryan then played him in the NBC series, Constantine, which ran for one season between 2014 and 2015. Ryan then reprised the role in The CW series Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, as well as animated films such as Justice League Dark, Constantine: City of Demons, and Justice League Dark: Apokolips War

Constantine and Justice League Dark are part of Abrams’ and Bad Robot’s $500 million mega-deal to create films, shows, games, theme parks, and other media for WarnerMedia between now and 2024. In addition to these two shows, Abrams is also developing Overlook, a horror-thriller based on Stephen King's The Shining; and Duster, about a getaway driver for a crime syndicate in the 1970s Southwest, also for HBO Max.