Alan Ritchson's Fast X Role Was Originally Intended For Keanu Reeves

This post contains spoilers for "Fast X."

When you think about it, it's kind of ridiculous that Keanu Reeves hasn't appeared in the "Fast & Furious" franchise. Alongside former stunt performers turner directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, the man helped redefine action for the modern age with "John Wick" back in 2014, and has been steadily justifying his place at the pinnacle of the genre with each successive film in that saga.

As the "John Wick" films have ventured further and further into all-out action blockbuster territory, they've begun to mirror the trajectory of the "Fast" franchise, which itself pivoted from a street racing theme towards over-the-top action spectacle with its fifth installment. Now, the "Fast & Furious" movies represent one of the biggest action properties in Hollywood, while the "John Wick" series recently cemented its own status within that same pantheon by crossing $1 billion at the global box office.

So, when Leitch signed on to direct 2019's "Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw," talk of a Reeves cameo circulated. Surely this was the moment the famously-dedicated action legend would join the #Fastfamily. Turns out, Reeves was almost in "Hobbs and Shaw," and was only absent because Leitch couldn't find the right role for old John Wick in his "Fast" movie. As the director told The Hollywood Reporter at the time, "I had been talking to Keanu periodically through the shooting of it all and looking for opportunities of where it could be. [...] We came to the conclusion of 'Let's put a pin in it.' I'm all for finding opportunities, but I also didn't want to force anything."

Now, "Fast X" has screeched into theaters and once again, Reeves is unfortunately absent. But it seems he just missed out on making his "Fast" debut this time around.

Alan Ritchson wasn't the first choice

Alongside Brie Larson, Daniela Melchior, and Jason Momoa — who arguably plays the best "Fast" baddie yet — "Fast X" added yet another new name to its capacious roster of stars. Alan Ritchson brought his Jack Reacher muscle to the role of Aimes, the new head of mysterious government department The Agency, seemingly filling the extensive void left by departing star Dwayne Johnson. But while the "by the book" agent begins the film appearing to be an obvious replacement for Johnson's Hobbs, it's eventually revealed that he's been on the side of Momoa's Dante the entire time.

Ritchson makes a lot of sense within the world of the "Fast" movies. His "Reacher" series on Amazon Prime Video is shot like a premium action-thriller, but is basically an excuse for a large man to punch people in stylish ways across eight episodes. That paradigm maps on nicely to "Fast X," where Ritchson's 6-foot 3-inch frame and hulking physique fits neatly into the cacophony of outrageous action sequences. But despite the actor seemingly being perfect for the role of Aimes, he wasn't the first choice.

According to Ritchson, who spoke to Entertainment Weekly about "Fast X," his casting was "just a little stroke of luck and good timing." He continued:

"I was working on a movie with Hilary Swank up in Winnipeg in the freezing cold, and I got a call that things had shifted in the plans with Keanu Reeves, which is I think who was originally intended to play my part. Tough act to follow."

Yes, it looks as though Universal tried to shoehorn Reeves into their premier action franchise once again. And once again, things didn't work out. But it's surely only a matter of time...

There's still time

Alan Ritchson's casting in "Fast X" was announced back in May 2022, a couple months after it was reported that "John Wick: Chapter 4" was undergoing reshoots. The Keanu Reeves-starring blockbuster had wrapped in 2021, but clearly needed more work before it was ready to cut together. And considering Reeves' intimate involvement in the franchise since its beginning, it would make sense if the "Matrix" star was still too heavily involved in "Chapter 4" to give his full attention to "Fast X."

Which isn't all that big a deal considering Ritchson's suitability for the "Fast" movies. What's more, prior to "Reacher" the actor had landed some decent roles (Raphael in the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" reboot movies, Hank Hall/Hawk in Max's "Titans"), but was yet to become a major star. Now, with his hugely successful Prime Video show and a role in one of the most expensive movies ever made, he's finally getting the break he's been working for — something Reeves most certainly didn't need. In other words, good for Alan Ritchson.

Meanwhile, we've still got at least one last "Fast & Furious" movie to go, which means there's plenty of time to get Reeves onboard before the franchise is retired to the scrap yard. And with John Wick's status unknown in the wake of the conclusion to "Chapter 4," the veteran star should have a little more time on his hands.

"Fast X" is currently playing in theaters.