Earlier this year, a rumor hit the internet with as much force as Dwayne Johnson punching a torpedo: Keanu Reeves would be secretly joining the Fast & Furious franchise as Hobbs & Shaw’s mysterious head antagonist. The John Wick star has spent much of the past decade playing noble antiheroes and comical leading men, so to see him put his own spin on a billion-dollar blockbuster villain was enticing to say the least. Yet, upon Hobbs & Shaw’s release, Reeves was nowhere to be found. So what happened?
In a new interview with Screen Rant, Luke Hobbs himself, Dwayne Johnson, revealed that Reeves was originally in talks to play the ominous leader of the Eteon, a shadowy terrorist organization for which the movie’s main bad guy Brixton (Idris Elba) is but a mere pawn. According to Johnson, the casting was almost a go, but things didn’t quite work out.
“And then what we also did at the end was we left the ominous voice faceless. So, for some time, I think you guys have heard the rumor that it was going to be a bit of a John Wick, all disguised… Originally, Keanu was the goal. We were talking, and it just didn’t feel right creatively. …He and I talked, and I totally got it. And it wound up being the best thing, so now we leave that open for the future.”
Despite the promise that Brixton would be a “total badass,” he really didn’t accomplish much in Hobbs & Shaw. His constant reporting to a faceless, modulated voice only hammered down the fact that he was just a super-powered lackey, and his defeat in the final battle felt a bit ‘meh’ because of it. Had the movie instead ended with a reveal that Reeves is the actual madman behind the veil, it probably would’ve made for a more satisfying conclusion.
In any case, Johnson’s wording makes it sound less and less likely that Reeves will be joining the Fast and Furious franchise anytime soon – at least as a villain. Even if it was a bit of an unsatisfactory conclusion, the fact that we never saw who the Leader was by the end of the film still leaves unending possibilities for a wild stunt casting in the all-but-certain Hobbs & Shaw sequel. Who knows? Maybe we’ll learn that it was Kevin Hart pulling the strings all along?