Keanu Reeves' star power could've become even greater as he was nearly cast as Dr. Manhattan in Zack Snyder's Watchmen. Over the last few years, Reeves has returned to being one of the biggest actors on the planet, or at least as far as the internet is concerned. It started with John Wick and has carried him to land multiple surprise roles. He lent his voice to Duke Caboom in Toy Story 4, had a meta role in Netflix's Always Be My Maybe, and recently was revealed to be in Cyberpunk 2077.
As much as it may sometimes seem like Reeves is bigger than ever before, that is tough to say based on his past work. He made Bill & Ted a cult-classic franchise and will return to the series for Bill & Ted 3 next year. He then became a staple action movie star with hits in Point Break and Speed, and then transferred this to help bring Neo to life in The Matrix. The latter is still likely his career-defining role, even though he's done other blockbusters (The Day The Earth Stood Still) and played a superhero (Constantine) in the past.
In the late 2000s, though, Reeves almost took on another significant role: Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen. The all-powerful role ultimately went to Billy Crudup, but as Screen Rant discusses in our video about numerous Keanu Reeves facts, Reeves war originally in contention. He confirmed this to MTV several years ago saying it just "didn't work out," likely due to The Day The Earth Stood Still's production overlapping. For more facts like this, check out the video at the top of the post, but how would a Watchmen movie starring Keanu Reeves be different?
Reeves in the role of Dr. Manhattan would be a noticeable difference, but also one that he could've excelled in. Manhattan's cerebral nature and general lack of emotion fit with some of Reeves' best work as an actor, so it's no wonder Snyder considered him for the role. For Watchmen, though, the addition of Reeves could've bolstered the movie's financial success potentially. He has been part of several big franchises, and The Day The Earth Stood Still made $233 million worldwide, surpassing Watchmen's $185 million haul.
In a world where Keanu did star as the glowingly blue, mostly naked, CGI character, it would be a very different role for him to tackle and potentially could've changed his career trajectory. Just having the in with Snyder at that point in his career could've resulted in him working with the director again in the future. Reeves has always wanted to be Batman, and if they would've had a successful collaboration on Watchmen, could we have seen Reeves fill the grizzled Batman role in the DC Extended Universe instead of Ben Affleck? It's a hypothetical scenario that is all the more fascinating now, but one that never came close to happening since the initial partnership on Watchmen didn't happen.