Rumours appeared as early as June 2019 that Keanu Reeves would make his Marvel/MCU debut in The Eternals.

At the time, The Economic Times wrote that “negotiations” were “on”, but that Reeves was “yet to sign on the dotted line”; even earlier, in February 2019, Screen Rant reported that he was a hair’s breadth away from joining the cast of Captain Marvel.

So why, after so many opportunities, is Keanu Reeves yet to star in a Marvel movie?

Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Is Keanu Reeves feature among the cast of Marvel’s The Eternals?

No. Although several outlets reported in June 2019 that Reeves, known for playing Neo in The Matrix films and starring in the John Wick series, was in talks to appear in The Eternals, he never actually did.

Citing MCU Cosmic, one outlet wrote that “negotiations” were “underway”, but that “talks” were “still in the early stages”.

The cast was already star-studded: Angelina Jolie would play Sersi (things changed – she actually plays Thena; Gemma Chan plays Sersi); Richard Madden was set to play Ikaris (he does); and Kumail Nanjiani and Ma Dong-seok were already cast (they play Kingo and Gilgamesh, respectively).

Ever since rumours emerged that Keanu Reeves might play Doctor Strange, or even Captain Marvel, fans have been on the edge of their seats to see the Matrix star join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Studios’ Eternals | Final Trailer

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Marvel Studios’ Eternals | Final Trailer
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What happened to prevent him playing Yon-Rogg in Captain Marvel?

Before the Keanu Reeves/The Eternals rumours even came about, Screen Rant had reported that he “almost joined the cast” of Captain Marvel.

In the end, Jude Law got the role. He played Yon-Rogg, a Kree Empire commander and leader of Starforce. Yon-Rogg is one of Captain Marvel’s earliest villains in the comics.

But Keanu Reeves couldn’t take on the role as Marvel Studios’ production schedule clashed with that of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

For those who follow the series, the release date of John Wick 4 will now be March 24, 2023. Lionsgate revealed the new date in a YouTube video just before Christmas. 

Photo by Sam Santos/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Pictures Canada

From 2014 to 2021 – what has Keanu Reeves said about joining MCU?

Over seven years ago now, in October 2014, Collider talked with Reeves about the possibility of him playing Doctor Strange.

“I like the idea,” he said. “I go to those kinds of movies. I grew up on them and comics and graphic novels. [But]”, he went on, “I didn’t know Doctor Strange as a character, I didn’t read that as a kid.”

Next day, Screen Rant suggested – to his face, no less – that Keanu Reeves was the best person to play Doctor Strange

(The movie, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, came out in 2016.)

Reeves responded, “I don’t know a lot about Doctor Strange”, but that he likes “that kind of stuff”. Hardly a conversation to write home about, but the idea took hold.

How does he feel about it now?

In a November 2021 episode of Esquire’s YouTube series, Reeves described the MCU as “bigger than a universe”.

“It’s almost like a Multiverse. It’s a Marvel-verse.”

And would he like to join the franchise? 

“You know, it would be an honour. There’s some really amazing directors and visionaries. They’re doing something 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.”

And finally, in February 2021, Esquire reported that Reeves had been offered the role of Kraven the Hunter in a standalone SUMC movie. But, as it stands, IMDB lists Aaron Taylor-Johnson as playing the character, with the movie set to come out in 2023.

SUMC, or Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters, is different from the MCU, although no one seems to know exactly how – as yet, Keanu Reeves is in neither.