'Constantine' Reboot With 'Diverse' Lead Eyed at HBO Max

A reboot of Constantine is being eyed at HBO Max, and the series would reportedly have a "diverse' lead. According to Deadline, J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot is developing a "darker reboot" of DC Comics character, with Guy Bolton set to write. Bolton is a London-based writer who has received high praise for his novel The Pictures and its sequel, The Syndicate. While little is known about the show's specifics at this time, it will reportedly focus on a younger version of John Constantine. Deadline reports that Bolton is said to have already completed the pilot and that there are plans to open a writers room this spring.

If the show comes about, it will be the third live-action adaptation of Constantine, a British detective who specializes in exorcism and the occult. The character first appeared in Swamp Thing comics before going on to be the lead in his own series, Hellblazer. In 2005, John Wick star Keanu Reeves portrayed Constantine in a self-titled film. The movie was a hit with audiences, having earned more than $230 million at the global box office. Critics were far-less kind to the film, but it has found new appreciation in recent years from both fans and critics alike. Notably, there has been talk of a Constantine film sequel for many years, and in 2020 actor Peter Stormare — who played Lucifer Morningstar in the movie — stated that one was "in the works."

Additionally, there was previously a report that Abrams had signed on to produce the potential Constantine sequel, which was said to be a joint-production between DC Films, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Bad Robot Productions. There is no word on if that is still happening or if the new series is what formed out of the plans for a follow-up film. No one from Warner Bros. appears to have commented on the reports at this time.

Constantine was brought to life a second time with a live-action series that aired on NBC. That too was simply titled Constantine, but this time John Constantine was portrayed by Welsh actor Matt Ryan. The show was canceled after 13 episodes, but the character and Ryan's performance were such a hit with fans that he was eventually brought into the Arrowverse on The CW. Ryan first turned up as Constantine in Arrow, and then later reprised the role during Season 3 of Legends of Tomorrow. He was promoted to series regular ahead of Season 4 and remains on the series today.