The Marvel fandom is feeling all kinds of hyped right now, after it was revealed that Marvel Studios is actively pursuing John Wick star Keanu Reeves for a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige confirmed that Marvel has been pursuing Keanu for quite some time, and is simply trying to find the right project for him to star in:
“We talk to him for almost every film we make,” Feige laughed. “We talk to Keanu Reeves about. I don’t know when, if, or ever he’ll join the MCU, but we very much want to figure out the right way to do it.”
Well, Marvel fans have been doing their own Keanu Reeves MCU casting for years now. However, following the major shift that came with Avengers: Endgame, and Phase 4 now looming before us, we can make a much better assessment of where Keanu Reeves would fit into the MCU.
Here are the Marvel characters that Keanu Reeves should play in the MCU:
Marvel is making its first Asian-led movie with Shang-Chi, which will chronicle the story of Marvel's "Master of Kung Fu." The cast of Shang-Chi is expected to be filled with Asian and/or martial arts stars - and Keanu Reeves falls into both categories, being part Chinese and a major action star.
A lot of Marvel fans want Shang-Chi to solve one of the MCU's biggest hanging threads, by rebooting the hero's crime syndicate father, Fu Manchu, as the true MCU version of The Mandarin. If that's the path Marvel Studios takes, then casting Keanu as The Mandarin would give the actor a role that is both loyal to the comics, exciting for Shang-Chi, potentially a long-term "big bad" arc Reeves could chew on for awhile, and a potentially major corrective measure for the MCU continuity.
It's already been floated that Nightmare will likely be the villain of Doctor Strange 2, and it's hard to imagine a more delicious choice than casting Keanu Reeves in the role.
Playing the demonic ruler of the Dream Dimension would be a wonderful spin on Reeves past iconic roles in films like Constantine and The Matrix, and we've never really seen him take on a "creature" role that would require extensive makeup. If Keanu is looking to just dip his toe into the MCU franchise, Nightmare would be a great 'one-and-done' option.
Nova is about as big a priority for Marvel Studios right now as casting Keanu Reeves is - so why not kill two birds with one stone?
Keanu would be great as Richard Ryder, the Nova corps greatest Centurion - especially if the story is set after Thanos annihilated the Nova headquarters on Xandar, while obtaining the Power Infinity Stone. Keanu would give great dramatic weight to an older Richard Ryder who is broken and disillusioned after the Nova Corps' fall, and his racial ambiguity would qualify him to the father to a Latino character like younger Nova Sam Alexander, if Marvel Studios wants to tie the Richard Ryder/Sam Alexander origins together.
The Fantastic Four will eventually be making their big debut in the MCU thanks to the Disney-Fox deal, and attaching a name to Keanu Reeves to that film would be a great way to escape the shadow of Fox's failed Fantastic Four movie attempts.
Reed Richards sports a full beard in modern F4 stories - and a bearded Keanu Reeves certainly looks the part. Best of all, modern Marvel Comics feature an alternate universe version of Reed called "The Maker", who is a much more cold, calculating, and villainous version of the character. Seeing Keanu play both versions of Reed would be a real treat.
Marvel fans have been waiting for Moon Knight to make his MCU debut for years now, but it seems like the debate has been about the best format for that debut, as well as who should be playing the role.
Have we mentioned that Keanu Reeves is one of the biggest martial arts action stars working in Hollywood today? Reeves has the physical acting chops to play 'Marvel's Batman,' as well as the offbeat charisma to make the modern version of Marc Spector (with both his "Moon Knight" and "Mr. Knight" personas) into a blockbuster movie draw.
Marvel fans have been thirsty to see Adam Warlock onscreen ever since the MCU went cosmic in Guardians of the Galaxy. And since that Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 post-credits scene confirmed the origin of MCU Adam Warlock, it's just been a matter of time and casting to see how the character makes his debut.
Warlock is an artificial being whose claim to fame in Marvel Comics was expelling both his bad and good natures, becoming a zen-like protector of the universe and the Infinity gems. If wooden personality is a purposeful part of the character, then few would be better at bringing fun and charisma to that performance than Keanu.
After Thanos was Snapped out of existence at the end of Avengers: Endgame, the MCU is looking for a new Big Bad who could carry out a slow-burn arc across the massive span of Phase 4. Given how Endgame opened the door to time travel and alternate realities, Kang the Conqueror has been an early fan-fave choice for the MCU's next villain.
Kang has several key personas that he's developed over the many years of studying time and traveling through it to influence events and/or conquer worlds. The most famous of these is "Immortus," the temporal influencer and scholar that Kang becomes in his later years, after losing his lust for war and conquer. Seeing Keanu Reeves take on both the hammy role of Kang and more Zen persona of Immortus would be fun exercise for the actor - and so much fun for fans when the two personas eventually meet face-to-face!
After DC made a billion dollars plus off the strength of Jason Momoa's Aquaman, it seems like Marvel may have missed the proverbial boat with Namor, The Sub Mariner. However, Keanu Reeves being attached to the character would certainly change that perception.
Namor's snarky and arrogant personality would be a great change of pace for Keanu, and he certainly has that lanky, swimmer's physique that would arguably make him a much more convincing king of the ocean than a bruiser like Momoa. With the right haircut and a little Marvel-brand de-aging, Keanu could make the story of Namor's younger years (and modern plight) a true action/adventure epic.
The High Evolutionary is one of those Marvel Comics who has been around for decades (1966), and has connections to so many Marvel properties (Thor, Avengers, Eternals, Guardians, X-Men), but has still managed to be low enough on the tier of popular characters to be ripe for some re-invention.
Right now there's speculation that the High Evolutionary could be featured in everything from Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 to Marvel's The Eternals. Wherever he shows up, the High Evolutionary's cold, detached, nature would be perfect for Keanu Reeves, and a perfect opportunity for the actor to show up in multiple films, without having to strain himself too much.
Thanos' brother Eros (aka "Starfox") is one of the key figures of The Eternals race, and a pivotal player in some key Marvel Comics properties, like The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the larger Marvel Cosmic franchise. He's gotten something of a major reinvention in modern Marvel Comics, which may make him primed and ready for a compelling MCU adaptation with Keanu Reeves.
Eros is a major cad, who has the ability to persuade/seduce people by stimulating the pleasure centers in their brains. With all of the Keanu Reeves thirst that's out there right now, it would be great meta-humor to have Keanu slinking through Marvel's Eternals playing a sexy Lothario. However, with the death of Thanos in recent Marvel Comics, Eros has also become more villainous, trying to enact a dark plan to resurrect Thanos in a new body. Eros' face has also be revealed to have Two-Face style disfigurement on one side, which would give his MCU counterpart a potentially Jekyll/Hyde nature that would be a great twist for Eternals. Keanu as a sexy Lothario who is revealed to be a demented schemer and Thanos sychophant? Sign us up!
Who would you like to see Keanu Reeves play in the MCU? Let us know in the comments!