J.J. Abrams’ Race-Swapped ‘Constantine’ Series Reportedly “Dead”

Hellblazer #151 (2000), DC

A new report claims that J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot Productions previously announced Constantine series is “dead.”

Hellblazer #50 (1992), DC

Back in 2021 it was reported by Deadline that Abrams and his Bad Robot Productions company had tapped writer Guy Bolton to write a series that was expected to stream on the then HBO Max service.

In that report it was detailed by Peter White that “the character is set to be cast as a diverse lead, a departure from the one played by Matt Ryan in the NBC Series, which aired for one season between 2014-15.”

Not only would it be a departure from the NBC series, but it would be a departure from the original Vertigo comics.

Matt Ryan as John Constantine in Constantine (2014), NBC

RELATED: Rumor: HBO Max To Race Swap John Constantine In J.J. Abrams Production

A day before White’s report, a rumor from The Illuminerdi detailed “the production is currently searching for for an actor for the lead role, with the hopes of casting a BIPOC actor in their late 20’s, similar to a young Riz Ahmed.”

In April 2022, the outlet reported that Abrams and HBO Max were looking to cast British actor Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù to play Constantine. They stated, “According to our sources Warner Bros. is circling Ṣope Dìrísù to play John Constantine in the new HBO Max series.”

Ṣope Dìrísù via Harper’s Bazaar UK YouTube

Knights Edge Media also claimed to reveal a logline for the series read, “The series blends urban action, body horror, and the supernatural on the streets of modern-day London. It follows a young man whose entire world is upended when a chance encounter with a young girl pulls him into the dark and treacherous world of the occult.”

Furthermore they noted that the production was looking for a 10 year old female girl of Cambodian heritage to play the role of a character codenamed Akara, which the outlet speculated “could be Astra (also known as Astrid) from the original comics.”

The demon Nergal possesses Astra Logue in Hellblazer #8 (1988), DC

RELATED: ‘Constantine’ Sequel With Keanu Reeves And Director Francis Lawrence Officially Announced By Warner Bros.

In September 2022, White reported that HBO Max had passed on both the Constantine series as well as a live-action Madame Xanadu series with Angela Robinson attached.

At the time White detailed that while HBO Max passed on both series they would “be shopped by the studio to other platforms.”

Hellblazer #155 (2000), DC

Now, a new report from Variety detailed that the series is officially dead. Zack Sharf reports, “A new Constantine series for Max by J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions had been in development when news hit of Reeves’ potential return for a movie sequel. The new show had been far enough into development that a lead actor was already in talks to take on the lead role, but sources confirmed to Variety that the Max project was dead.”

He added, “Four scripts were written for the series, which was set in contemporary London.”

Hellblazer #169, (2001), DC

What do you make of Abrams’ race-swapped Constantine project getting scrapped?

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