Keanu Reeves Would Be Perfect As These Marvel Characters
Keanu Reeves is one of the biggest movie stars in an era that doesn’t have many left. From his earliest films like “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” up to 2021’s “Matrix Resurrections,” he has headlined some of the biggest cultural touchstones of the last forty years. His star keeps getting bigger, as his considerable swagger and physical prowess took the “John Wick” series from low-budget action movie into one of Hollywood’s hottest modern franchises.
Although he starred in 2005’s “Constantine,” based on the DC Comics character, Reeves has never played the sort of traditional full-on, special-powers-wielding superhero role that many of his contemporaries have turned into long-running, lucrative franchises. In a recent interview, the actor raised eyebrows by making it sound like it’s just a matter of time before he takes on a role in the MCU.
“It would be an honor,” he said. “There’s some really amazing directors and visionaries, and they’re doing something that no one’s really ever done. It’s special in that sense, in terms of the scale, the ambition, the production. So it would be cool to be a part of that.”
While that may sound like the kind of person jockeying for a job, if he were to join the MCU, who would Keanu play? Some of the biggest parts are taken, and at 57, he’s too old to play a new young hero. Fortunately, there’s a number of plum roles still available; scroll on for the best Marvel superheroes (and villains) that could be perfect roles for Keanu Reeves.
Given Reeves’ physical strength and penchant for playing stoic personalities, the herald of cosmic foe Galactus, the Silver Surfer, is almost too perfect a fit. Some may nix the idea, wanting a more left-field candidate for the fan favorite. But Marvel has been known to go with the obvious casting choices from time to time — Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange is a good example — and sometimes the obvious choice is the best one. It’s hard to argue that Keanu Reeves would be anything but captivating as the surfing alien and wielder of the power cosmic.
Arriving on Earth to prepare the planet for the coming of his master Galactus, Reeves’ stone cold resolve would make for a formidable quasi-villain to oppose the Fantastic Four and intimidate mankind ahead of its imminent destruction. If he ultimately turned against Galactus to save mankind, as in some comics, Reeves could flex his acting chops to show the Surfer’s turn to hero. Silver Surfer may be considered emotionless by some, but the role would offer Reeves the rare opportunity to play both a villain and a hero in the same film.
Some fans have dreams of Reeves playing a Marvel hero, but it could be even more exciting to see him take on a rare villainous role. Looking at the list of villains yet to be introduced in the MCU, there’s one foe of the X-Men that jumps out as a good choice: Sebastian Shaw, leader of the Hellfire Club — whose members include Emma Frost, Magneto, and Jean Grey’s evil clone Madelyne Pryor.
Though Shaw has been seen in X-films before (played by Kevin Bacon in “X-Men: First Class”), he and his Hellfire Club were sorely underserved and hardly seen in that film. The backstory of the club, Shaw, and their place in Marvel’s history deserves to be explored in its own story, perhaps one focused on Madelyne Pryor (who he would become romantically linked to) — a major X-element that has yet to be touched upon. Keanu Reeves as the aristocratic, mutton-chopped mutant mastermind Shaw would be a dream, with the actor in a role that would allow him the wide breadth of over-the-top personality he’s rarely portrayed, while still being the dark, reserved presence he has played so well in the past.
If you’re going to add Keanu Reeves to the MCU, why not make him one of its most powerful beings? Created in 2000 by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee, the character was the center of one of the most clever marketing gimmicks in comics history, as Marvel and everyone involved tried to trick comic fans into believing that the character wasn’t new (something easier to do in pre-social media days), but was in fact a long forgotten golden age hero, dredged up and brought back fifty years later for a new comic book. It was apropos, because that’s exactly who The Sentry’s alter ego Robbie Reynolds is: A troubled man who became a superhero and — to save the world — was forced to erase his existence from the minds of everyone who ever knew him, as well as his own memories.
But when his greatest foe “The Void” reemerged, Reynolds would reawaken the hero within himself and return as the world’s greatest hero — with the power of a thousand suns — to stop the diabolical menace from threatening Earth once again. Like Neo in the Matrix, Keanu Reeves as Robbie Reynolds could be the man blind to the truth who must have his eyes opened to a hidden past and new reality, to become the hero he was meant to be. There’s a segment of fans that want Sentry next on Marvel’s docket, and there’s few better than Reeves to play such a grandiose, awe-inspiring character.
As Marvel begins heading down the horror path with a “Werewolf by Night” special on its way in 2022 and the upcoming “Moon Knight” series rumored to be featuring Blade and vampires, it sounds like there’s a rapidly-ticking countdown clock towards the appearance of Marvel’s version of Bram Stoker’s horror legend Dracula. Whether he appears in “Werewolf by Night,” “Moon Knight,” or the “Blade” movie starring Mahershala Ali, it’s hard to imagine a better choice for the Prince of Darkness than Reeves.
Keanu, of course, played Jonathan Harker in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 epic “Dracula”; a turn as Marvel’s Lord of The Vampires would be a lovely bookend, while at the same time presenting a far more delicious role for him to sink his teeth into. This version of Dracula has a long, winding story in the Marvel Universe, having tangled with Blade, Moon Knight, the X-Men, and even Deadpool and Spider-Man, giving Reeves a chance to appear across multiple films in the MCU. With “Blade” readying to start production, Keanu Reeves might be the best choice to go toe-to-to with Mahershala Ali.
If Reeves doesn’t become Dracula, an alternative could be as a different Marvel vampire lord: the Spider-Man villain known as Morlun.
Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the writers responsible for “Avengers: Endgame,” have already spoken about their desire to bring Machine Man into the MCU, adding that “Marvel is taking all these big risks. It knows this can go on for a long time if you just give the audience different things. Just think what it is using their capital on.” And there’s no bigger swing than Machine Man, the character created by Jack Kirby who was first introduced, of all places, in the comic book adaptation of the 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” An artificial lifeform designated “X-51,” he was hunted by the military before taking a human identity and blending in to live on Earth in his solo series, “Machine Man 2020.”
Since that time, he has returned in the pages of Marvel Comics more than once — including as a part of the superhero team book “Nextwave” that featured Monica Rambeau — before being reimagined most recently in 2016 as a mercenary android for hire. A mix of “The Terminator,” Roy Batty, and Commander Data from “Star Trek,” he’s a character who has lived many lives, and any version of Machine Man that we’ve seen would be ripe for adaptation. Should the character ever arrive in the MCU, Reeves wouldn’t just be a great choice for the role, but he would be the kind of A-List name the studio would probably want to herald a new, bold direction onto the big screen.
With the number of Marvel heroes in the MCU expanding exponentially — thanks to a wave of new films and the addition of a dozen new Disney+ shows — a massive universe spanning crossover events like “Secret Wars” feels almost inevitable. “Avengers: Endgame” directors Joe and Anthony Russo have already hinted at the possibility that the 1986 comic book event series could come to life on the big screen, saying it’s the one story they would love to direct more than anything else now that the Infinity Saga is in the rear view mirror.
But if “Secret Wars” ever made its way to cinemas, it would need its villain: the cosmic game master known as the Beyonder, who gathered heroes from across the Marvel Universe for a massive contest of champions on a planet called “Battleworld.” Though he has since become a powerful presence in the Marvel Universe, he was more of a background villain early on, as a cosmic observer who studied humanity and used human beings as pawns in his bid to understand the nature of our reality. A being unlike any other that has been seen in the MCU so far (except perhaps The Watcher on “What It… ?”), Keanu could imbue the role with the wit and charm of his later appearances, and the aloofness of characters like Neo and John Wick.
Keanu Reeves is one of the most visceral, unrelenting action stars of the past 30 years. He kicked butt as Neo in the “The Matrix” movies, and has now become just as iconic as John Wick, wielding guns and mowing down bad guys in a suit and tie. If you want a perfect role for Keanu Reeves in the MCU, look no further than Hit Monkey, Marvel’s resident primate assassin.
Currently an animated series on Hulu, “Hit Monkey” is a killer snow monkey on a mission to hunt down and assassinate other assassins. It’s every bit as absurd as it sounds, but Marvel has never been shy about adapting characters that have looked silly on paper, such as a talking tree and a mercenary Raccoon, so why not “Hit Monkey”? With “Deadpool” rumored to be making his MCU debut soon, dark comedy could be in the cards for Marvel on the big screen, and Keanu Reeves’ stint as “John Wick” would make him the perfect fit to play — or voice and mo-cap, as it were — a live-action version of the monkey murderer.
The second X-Men villain on this list, Reeves might be a better fit for Mister Sinister than Sebastian Shaw, with the added bonus that this diamond-headed baddie has not yet made his live action debut, in the MCU or otherwise. Though he was hinted at in the after-credits scene of “X-Men: Apocalypse,” the story thread of the Essex Corporation was never followed up on.
Nathaniel Essex is one of the X-Men’s most complex and layered villains, starting out as an embittered eugenicist whose obsession with improving the human race leads him to be subjected to the same Celestial technology that created the Eternals and Deviants. He would become an eternal being himself, and eventually a prime adversary of the X-Men.
Though he’s made appearances in “X-Men: The Animated Series,” “Wolverine & The X-Men,” and more recently “M.O.D.O.K.” on Hulu, Mr. Sinister has yet to make an appearance in live action, which is surprising given his prominent place in the “X-Men” rogues gallery. With the X-Men due to be introduced in their own new films, and elements of his origin already set up with the release of 2021’s “The Eternals,” the time is right for both Mr. Sinister and Keanu Reeves to join the MCU.
It’s a dark horse pick, but it might be interesting to see Reeves take on a lesser known hero, and one that at first glance might not appear to be a perfect fit given the youthful nature of Darkhawk’s alter ego Christopher Powell. The son of a corrupt New York City police officer, Powell discovers a magical amulet that allows him to fight crime as a powerful robotic suit of armor that’s also a sentient being. His origin story and nature have been retconned a few different times over the years, with the Darkhawk armor eventually said to have been created by the Sh’iar Empire. The fluid nature of his origins and lesser known status make Darkhawk the perfect starring vehicle for Reeves, as the character could be molded to fit him.
Darkhawk’s varied history in comics, from a street level vigilante to a member of the Avengers to the interstellar “War of Kings,” gives the character an opportunity to play a key role in a variety of stories across the MCU. The thought of seeing Keanu Reeves suited up in metal armor, fighting crooks alongside the likes of Daredevil and Ghost Rider in the alleys of Manhattan, then battling bigger villains with the Avengers, and capping off a trilogy by teaming up with the Guardians of The Galaxy may be too tempting to pass up.
Among the most infamous supervillains in comics, Dr. Doom was one of the first big bads of the Marvel Universe, debuting in an early issue of “The Fantastic Four” in 1962. The megalomaniacal ruler of the foreign nation Latveria, he was born in Romania before attending a university abroad in New York where he would meet Reed Richards, who later became Mr. Fantastic. After being disfigured, Doom would build a powerful suit of armor, and later clash with the Fantastic Four, Avengers, Spider-Man, and more.
Though he might have to be reimagined if Marvel were to cast younger actors as the Fantastic Four — perhaps Doom would be a former teacher rather than a fellow student — the misguided tyrant Victor Von Doom is exactly the kind of left-field fit fans ask for, a perfect match that’s not the most obvious choice.
A former mystic too, Dr. Doom also has ties to both Mephisto and Doctor Strange, and could appear in any number of upcoming films and Disney+ series. While he may be hidden beneath a mask for some of role, Reeves’ distinctive voice and stoic intonations make him the perfect man to take on the role and menace the MCU.
Despite its poor reception, Anson Mount (“Hell on Wheels”) did a good job portraying the mute Black Bolt in the much-maligned “Inhumans” TV series. Given his talent, it’s unlikely that many would complain if Mount were brought back to the big screen when Marvel inevitably decides the time is right for a reboot of the team for the MCU proper. But given the awful reaction to the series, the less connections to it the better, so it’s almost a certainty that the entire team will be recast. With that in mind, there are few actors better suited to play Inhuman leader Black Bolt than Keanu Reeves.
The role needs an actor who can be powerful and imposing without saying a word. An actor whose steely gaze can speak just as loudly as any dialogue, and that’s where Keanu Reeves excels. But even with Reeves silent for most of the film, his star power — and acting talent — would still resonate. Such silence would make it all the more powerful when in a climactic final battle, he devastated an entire city with a single word… “whoa.”
Johnny Blaze, Ghost Rider
“Ghost Rider” is no stranger to movies and TV, with two attempts starring Nicolas Cage: 2007’s “Ghost Rider” and its 2011 semi-sequel “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.” The skull-faced chopper-riding demon has had many human aliases, including Danny Ketch in the 1990s, and more recently Robbie Reyes, who drives a flaming-wheeled Dodge Charger. But his original human alter ego was Johnny Blaze, and Keanu could be an ideal fit for the hell-bound renegade.
In 2016, Ghost Rider began a recurring role on ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” series — but as Robbie Reyes, not Blaze, and portrayed by “Terminator: Dark Fate” star Gabriel Luna. In “Good Samaritan” (Season 4, Episode 6), it was said that Johnny Blaze had passed the Spirit of Vengeance on to Reyes, though he was never seen. Talks of a spinoff starring Luna fizzled in 2019, so perhaps Marvel could now pursue a big budget re-launch of the character.
If they were to bring Luna back as the younger Ghost Rider, there’s nobody better to mentor Robbie Reyes than the older, wiser, more experienced Johnny Blaze, this time played by Keanu Reeves. A team of two Ghost Riders would make a unique contrast to Nic Cage’s original pair of films, and as the MCU’s original Ghost Rider, he might even have a chance to team up with Moon Knight, Blade, and Doctor Strange to form the Midnight Suns.
Sure, you’re probably sick of hearing about Mephisto — fans have long anticipated his appearance in the MCU, particularly as the events in “WandaVision” unfolded — but there’s a reason why Marvel fans want to see him so badly.
The devilish demon could show up in a “Doctor Strange” sequel, or one of the upcoming horror projects Marvel is cooking up, or even in a cosmic Marvel movie. He’s a versatile baddie who traverses each of those realms with equal aplomb, and it’s high time that Marvel’s version of Satan shows up in the MCU. Sometimes seen as a dark haired human in a fine suit, now that Keanu wants to join the Marvel party, it could be a perfect role for him — and another callback to an earlier time in his career, when he did business with Satan in “The Devil’s Advocate.”
Mephisto has crossed paths with virtually every hero from every corner of the Marvel Universe, from the Eternals down to Daredevil, making soul-stealing deals with Spider-Man, Scarlet Witch, the Punisher, and even Phil Coulson. With all those connections, Keanu Reeves in the role of the red-caped demon could give him the chance to spread his wings and inherit from Josh Brolin’s Thanos the role of the MCU’s next big, bad long-term menace.