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Keanu Reeves is building a ‘BRZRKR’-verse with movie, anime & book news revealed at SDCC

Where does Keanu Reeves and BRZRKR end? Probably with the super-punches.

By Trent Moore
 Keanu BRZRKR Header

Not content to simply kick ass as John Wick, Neo and his myriad other iconic characters, Keanu Reeves went and invented a brand new one with BRZRKR. Reeves brought his new Boom Studios original comic series to San Diego Comic-Con this week, with fresh updates on the film and surprises about how the BRZRKR-verse is expanding even further.

The comic is a collaboration between Reeves, comic writer Matt Kindt and artist Ron Garney, and tells the story of an immortal warrior who has lived for thousands of years. The comic is nine issues into its 12-issue run, and has become one of the most successful original comic launches in history. Just as soon as the comic hit shelves, word broke of a live action film in development at Netflix, with Reeves attached to star in the title role (of course).

For Reeves, seeing this world grow so large so quickly has been a ride — especially considering it started with a simple pitch: “I had this idea of wanting to have a character punch people through their chest, and rip their arms off,” Reeves joked. “No, that’s not John Wick. This is something else. The idea of someone cursed with violence, how they came to be, reclaiming their humanity. Hopefully it’s a character you root for.”

The film is still in the early phases of development, though screenwriter Mattson Tomlin teased he’s taking inspiration from Reeves’ past roles, as well as high-concept films like The Fountain and Tree of Life.

“It’s just about being able to do the same kind of things the comic does, using time and perspective,” Tomlin said. “The culture changes but he’s this one force always there.”

Along with the movie, BOOM also confirmed the character will be coming to anime with two seasons already in the works at Netflix. The studio has also partnered with Production I.G, one of the most iconic anime studios in the world, known for seminal series like Ghost in the Shell and Psycho-Pass.

“When I worked with the Wachowskis on the Matrix they were like you need to watch these: Akira, Ghost in the Shell. That’s pretty much the start of it [for me],” Reeves said. "In terms of impact as a storyteller and the action, the morality tales - the idea of ‘us vs. them,’ or exceptionalism, or otherness. I find that world and the lessons, just seeing how the art form can encapsulate that Trojan horse, it’s got a scale and projection to it you don’t find anywhere else. That’s how anime really impacted me as a storyteller.”

BOOM president of development Stephen Christy said they feel the character and concept is versatile enough to bounce between mediums, since there’s so much canvas and story that can be mined when dealing with an immortal character who has been around for 80,000 years.

“I don’t want to say we’re anti-continuity, but that’s not a word we embrace in the development of these different realms. It’s the character,” he explained during the panel, which SYFY WIRE attended.

Along with the ongoing comic, film and anime series, BOOM also confirmed an agreement with Random House for an original novel that will be set in the world of BRZRKR. They couldn’t reveal the author teaming with Reeves to write it, but Reeves noted he was his first choice — and he’s elated to be working with him to break the story. Reeves even stopped himself from doing an impersonation of the author, for fear he’d accidentally give it away. The author announcement should come down soon, but feel free to speculate.

As for the comic that started it all, Reeves teased they’re laying out the endgame now, and fans will get to see those final 12 issues in the coming months, with the final issue set to drop in 2023.

“Things are gonna get a little more difficult. We’re geeked about it,” Reeves said. “The series started with a double issue, and they’ve given us the room to tell that story in the final issue with 48 pages as a double issue. We’re excited about where the story goes.”

If you're looking for more Keanu action in the meantime, check out the entire John Wick film trilogy streaming now on Peacock.