HBO Max Is Developing A Constantine Reboot With JJ Abrams

DC's master of the dark arts is getting a new show on WarnerMedia's streaming service.

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Constantine is hardly DC's highest-profile character, but he's apparently one of the most adaptable; HBO Max is prepping a new series for the character in partnership with J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company, according to a report from Deadline.

The series will focus on a slightly younger version of John Constantine, the lead character from the Hellblazer comics. The creators are apparently looking for a non-white actor for the role. According to the report, the show will focus on the comic's horror roots more than the religious focus that previous incarnations have generally focused on. Newcomer Guy Bolton is writing the pilot script, and the series will reportedly connect to HBO Max's planned Justice League Dark, which Abrams is also producing.

John Constantine, DC's master of the dark arts, first appeared in Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 in 1985, with his appearance based on British musician Sting. He appeared in live action first in the 2005 film Constantine, played by Keanu Reeves and laid dormant for almost a decade before NBC revived him for a television show of the same name. There, British actor Matt Ryan portrayed a more comics-accurate version of the character in the one-season show. After its abrupt cancelation, the CW worked out a deal to bring the character and actor over for a single appearance on Arrow, where he helped Sara Lance reclaim her soul after being revived in a Lazarus Pit. The character was popular enough that the CW's timey-wimey superhero show DC's Legends of Tomorrow brought Ryan on to reprise the character in season 3, and he's been with the crew since.

DC previously preferred to keep its live-action incarnations to one actor playing one character, but the success of the CW's The Flash weakened that resolve, and the on-screen appearances of three different Barry Allen Flashes and three Supermen for the CW's Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover all but shattered it. While it's uncertain whether the HBO Max version of Constantine and the CW's version will both air at the same time, its absolutely possible (though its unlikely that they'll cross over).

The show is in the early stages of planning, so we don't know when it'll premiere, but when it does it will join HBO Max's growing list of dark DC Comics shows alongside the likes of James Gunn's Peacemaker, Justice League Dark, and DC Universe shows Doom Patrol and Titans, along with more traditional superhero fare like the announced Green Lantern show.

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