Two more JJ Abrams (Lost, Fringe) projects at HBO Max have been booted from the platform. Deadline reports DC Comics’ Constantine and Madame X series, both being produced by Abrams’ Bad Robot, have been canceled under Warner Bros. Discovery’s watch. Abrams hopes both series will find new homes as they remain at the top of his list.
The Constantine news came as no surprise as Warner Bros. Discovery announced a sequel to the 2005 film adaptation was in the works this week. John Wick and The Matrix star Keanu Reeves is set to return in the role 14 years later. The project, according to Deadline, will involve the same writer and director with Akiva Goldsman (Winter’s Tale, I Am Legend) and Francis Lawrence (Red Sparrow, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1) returning as well. With money flowing to a film version of the character, there simply wouldn’t be room for the TV adaptation.
According to Deadline, the series had been in development for more than two years, preceding the very existence of HBO Max. Abrams had attached Guy Bolton (Fighter, Straw Man) to write the script which would have set the darker-toned series in contemporary London. This version of Constantine – a being who wields dark magic against supernatural forces – was to be inspired by the character’s depiction in the 1989 Hellblazer comic run. Gangs of London and His House star, Sope Dirisu, was to star in the role previously held by Reeves and, more recently, Matt Ryan (Justice League Dark, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow). He posted a tweet in support of Reeves’ return for the upcoming film.
— Ṣọpẹ́ (@sopedirisu) September 16, 2022
As for the Madame X series, Angela Robinson (Passing, D.E.B.S.) was set to write, executive produce, and serve as showrunner, via Deadline. Both series would have had Abrams and Bad Robot’s Rachel Rusch Rich (Demimonde) set to executive produce.
A previous Abrams project, Demimonde, was canned earlier this year as part of Warner Bros. Discovery’s new outlook for HBO Max. Deadline reports Abrams will start shopping for other networks this week. An obvious choice may be Netflix, given the platform already houses Neil Gaiman’s (Good Omens, American Gods) The Sandman and continued the Fox series, Lucifer. Both were produced by Warner Bros. Television.