Keanu Reeves plays the legendary Johnny Silverhand in Cyberpunk 2077. The actor and his likeness featured in Microsoft’s E3 2019, so we already knew that Cyberpunk 2077 features Keanu Reeves. However, it has emerged in a press release that Keanu Reeves is the one and only Johnny Silverhand.
Reeves, with seriously cool sunglasses and a bionic arm, appears towards the end of a live action trailer played at the keynote – you can see that in full below. The accompanying press release states: “The trailer reveals one of the key characters of Cyberpunk 2077, Johnny Silverhand. The legendary rockerboy is played by Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves (The Matrix trilogy, John Wick series, Johnny Mnemonic). In addition to his appearance and voice, Reeves is also providing full-body motion capture for the character.”
Johnny Silverhand is one of the biggest names in Cyberpunk lore – a Rockerboy singer and guitarist with a cyberlimb and a big grudge against the Arasaka Corporation. He’s referenced several times in the materials we’ve seen so far for Cyberpunk 2077, but it’s worth remembering that one particular detail in the demo shown at Gamescom 2018 presents some notable implications for the story.
One particular line jumped out at us at the time, with a radio noting that it’s “been a year since Johnny Silverhand’s last ride.” Unusual, since in the existing lore, Johnny died way back in 2024, and if you couldn’t guess, that’s over half a century before 2077 is set to take place. We don’t know about you, but Keanu’s character certainly looks alive and kicking to us.
Of course, sci-fi character deaths are always fungible, particularly when that death occurs as part of an RPG sourcebook. (Maybe 2077 assumes the old player characters were somewhat more competent.) But this does mean we might expect some of the details of the world to change between the 2020 books and CD Projekt’s version of the universe – perhaps we can think of this as more of a soft reboot than a sequel to the original RPG.
We know the upcoming game is building very directly from the original tabletop game – CD Projekt’s gotten heavy input from the original creator, after all – but up to this point we’ve assumed the game would be a direct sequel to that story, taking place many years later. Perhaps we should instead assume that all that existing lore is being remixed and pushed ahead in time to be more believably futuristic.
You’ll certainly hear a lot about Johnny Silverhand in Cyberpunk 2077, since his band will provide parts of the in-game soundtrack. But, in much bigger news, we now have a Cyberpunk 2077 release date to go with its star-studded cast. It’s coming in April next year, and Cyberpunk 2077 Steam pre-orders are already available. That means we get to see more of Keanu’s beautiful – if slightly-smudged with dystopian grime – face very soon.