We’ve all done it: cast movies with our favorite actors for our favorite comics properties. With the announcement of the 4th Matrix movie and all the rumors flying around about the meetings Keanu Reeves has had with MCU guru Kevin Feige, this piece will be part pitch, part wish list as we forge a list of roles best suited for Reeves from various comics companies.
We’re not just talking about the rumored roles that are currently out there in the online either, like Moon Knight, Silver Surfer, Dr. Doom, or Namor. This list is to try and point him in the direction of his next Matrix or John Wick style franchise.
So, who should Keanu Reeves play? Here are just five ideas.
5. Uncle Sam (DC Comics)
The Spirit of Liberty has been fighting the good fight since WWII. Created by Will Eisner and published by Quality Comics, his first appearance was in National Comics #1, but he would eventually be acquired by DC Comics — notice the trend. With all the reboots and Flashpoints, his origins are sketchy at best, but he’s consistently appeared whenever the USA needs him the most and boy, do we need him now.
Like the recent Wonder Woman movie, an Uncle Sam movie could be a trilogy of period pieces that have him showing up at our darkest hours, protecting people, protesting injustice or just being a beacon of hope. Uncle Sam’s character can be boiled down to a kickass patriotic super-hippie, characteristics that Reeves is great at playing — at least the hippie part, i.e. Ted.
4. Zoltar/Galactor (Top Cow)
This next pick checks a bunch of geek boxes: a beloved sci-fi/action anime property, Gatchaman aka Battle of the Planets is set during the early ’80s, and the anime’s main antagonist Zoltar has a mysterious/messy background. Messy because of the US version having stripped down a lot of the mature themes, and for this piece going with Zoltar was just a choice of clarity, but pushing past that…
This can be a fun venue for Reeves to flex his artistic muscles. As a super ruthless master of disguise, playing the androgynous Zoltar calls for a gang of skills, including being a physically demanding role and from all the training video from John Wick, Reeves seems like the type of actor who loves leaning into the needs of the part. Right now the comic rights seem to be with Top Cow Productions and there have been a couple of Asian live adaptations but Keanu was born to cape it up.
3. Grand Admiral Thrawn (Star Wars/Marvel)
With the Star Wars movies closing out the saga of the Skywalker family, this fan-favorite character could be the next successful franchise for the Over Mouse. Originally from the Star Wars Expanded Universe line of books, books that were cannon to the SWU before the Disney purchase-snapped them out like the Force version of the Snap/Blip. Thrawn’s popularity before and after has made him one of the only EU characters so far to have transitioned into the new SW continuity being backdoored by the Rebels animated series and a new series of books by his original creator Timothy Zahn rebooting his origin.
Think of Thrawn as an evil alien version of Sherlock Holmes: a cold and calculating military mastermind from the Unknown Regions, he gave the New Republic a series of body blows that brought it to its knees and almost undid everything that was accomplished with the death of Emperor Palpatine and the fracturing of the Empire, in the books. Reeves hasn’t spent a lot of time in the makeup chair, but a haircut, contacts and some blue paint puts him in a three-movie deal, easy, to explore the darker side of the SWU with an Empire-centric point of view.
2. Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt (Dynamite Comics)
A deep cut character, Peter Cannon was originally published by Charlton Comics, then acquired by DC (the character of Ozymandias from The Watchmen is based on him) and is currently being put out by Dynamite Entertainment.
What makes this a good look for Keanu Reeves is that Thunderbolt is a great mash-up of Batman and the Dali Lama, given a cache of ancient knowledge and trained to use untapped portions of his brain to the peak of human perfection making “…seemingly fantastic feats possible!” The list of folks that can pull off a Zen superhuman isn’t long, but either way, Reeves would be on it.
1. Magneto (Marvel Entertainment)
With the X-Franchise being folded into the MCU proper and the need to recast the primary roles, Reeves could pull off the X-Men’s most recognizable opponent, Magneto. Now both Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender have brought very important characteristics to their portrayal of the character, leaving very big shoes to fill, molding the Master of Magnetism into a Machiavellian proponent of Mutants and their struggle with a dark sense of humor and self.
At this point in his career, besides the physicality of the role, Keanu Reeves can pull off that twisted sense of humor and he already knows how to stop bullets and fight killer robots, on film. Now if this does happen, then I really need to start playing lotto.
Bonus: X-O Manowar or Ninja-K (Valiant Comics)
The Valiant cinematic properties have had a ton of buzz, and Reeves would be great for either one of these title characters, both of which would be great for his physical ability.
With Ninja-K, his snark is a great match for Reeves — the only drawback would be the British accent, which Reeves would have to fake.