One of the most impressive reveals of E3 2019 was when Keanu reeves jumped on the Microsoft stage to present Cyberpunk 2077. Seconds before, CD Projekt Red confirmed in a trailer that the actor from The Matrix and John Wick would be Johnny Silverhand, the famous Rockerboy from the Cyberpunk saga.
The interesting thing is that Keanu Reeves it was not part of the developers’ initial plan. The studio approached the actor in 2018 to lend his appearance and record the dialogue and motion capture, as featured in one of the official trailers. What was the original Johnny Silverhand like then?
Lea Leonowicz, Senior Artist at CD Projekt Red posted on Artstation some previous character concepts Keanu Reeves. Although the actor gives more weight to Silverhand, we cannot deny that the original version has its own thing.
The original Johnny Silverhand from ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ was a true rockstar
The original Johnny Silverhand has the appearance of a british rock star, of those who lead a life of excess like the Rockerboy. This version is much thinner and paler than Keanu and does not wear a beard. Apparently CD Projekt Red had no problem discarding it once the actor agreed to play Silverhand in the final version of Cyberpunk 2077.
In the artist’s profile we can see more concept art related to Silverhand, like his cybernetic arm in detail, the DeLuze Orphean guitar that he uses in his Samurai band, as well as a scene of the character in action. Leonowicz also displays versions of V, Evelyn Parker, and the final art that was used on the game box and all promotional materials.
Though Keanu Reeves plays a big role In Cyberpunk 2077, we kept thinking about what would have happened if CD Projekt Red didn’t sign the actor. Probably the studio would have used a good voice actor to capture the whole essence of Silverhand, after all, he is one of the crucial characters in the story.
Unfortunately for the study, not everything turned out as expected. CD Project Red faces two class action lawsuits from its shareholders due to the poor performance of the game on PS4 and Xbox One. The developers already announced that will invest all of 2021 in correcting the failures and deliver a final version worthy of the fans.
The article This was Johnny Silverhand from ‘Cyberpunk 2077’ before Keanu Reeves was published in Hypertext.