J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot is working on a reboot of the DC comics character John Constantine for HBO Max, according to Deadline. The company has brought in a new screenwriter, Guy Bolton, to write the script, which will follow the character “as a young Londoner”.
Deadline notes that Bolton’s already written the pilot script, and that the studio will be soon opening a writers’ room for the series. The show won’t feature Matt Ryan—who most recently appeared as the character—but instead will cast a “diverse lead”.
The character was originally created by Steve Bissette, Alan Moore, Rick Veitch, and John Totleben for The Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 in 1985: he’s a cynical, supernatural detective who’s characterized by his smoking habit, and has gone on to headline several of his own comic series, such as Hellblazer, Constantine: the Hellblazer, The Hellblazer, and John Constantine: Hellblazer.
Since his creation, there’s been several adaptations featuring him: Keanu Reeves played the character in the 2005 film Constantine (which traded the character’s London origins for LA, and controversially, featured him with black hair rather than blond). The film wasn’t popular when it hit theaters, but it’s undergone a bit of a reappraisal recently. NBC produced a series that was more in line with the character’s origins and appearance, Constantine, featuring Matt Ryan as Constantine, which was well-received. The series was canceled after a season, but Ryan continued on in The CW’s larger Arrowverse franchise, appearing in Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.
This new series is the latest collaboration between WarnerMedia and Bad Robot: back in April 2020, HBO Max greenlit a trio of new shows from Abrams’ company: Overlook, a series that’ll be inspired by Stephen King’s novel The Shining; a 1970s crime series about a getaway driver called Duster, and a take on Justice League Dark—the superhero team that featured Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Shade, the Changing Man, Zatanna—and John Constantine. It’s not entirely clear how this new take on Constantine will relate to the Justice League Dark series, if it features the character at all.