Deadline is reporting that Marvel star Anthony Mackie will join PlayStation Productions’ live-action Twisted Metal series in the role of John Doe. While we still, unfortunately, don’t know much about the series at this time, all current reports indicate that the John Doe character is expected to be one of the show’s leads.
So who is John Doe? That’s a great question that John Doe himself would also like to answer.
Sony officially describes John Doe as “a smart-ass milkman who talks as fast as he drives.” They also note that the character has “no memory of his past” and gets a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make his wish of finding a community come true, but only if he can survive an onslaught of savage vehicular combat.”
Right off the bat, that description lets us know the series’ version of John Doe won’t be an exact recreation of the John Doe from the Twisted Metal games. After all, the John Doe that was introduced in Twisted Metal Black as the driver of the vehicle Roadkill wasn’t a milkman. In fact, at the end of the game, we learn that he was actually an undercover FBI agent who lost his memory while trying to prevent the gang he was infiltrating from carrying out a terrorist attack. He’s then killed by Twisted Metal boss Calypso shortly after regaining his memories.
John Doe does appear again in 2005’s Twisted Metal: Head-On, but it’s not the same character that we saw in Black. Actually, that game reveals that the FBI has an entire division of “John Does” that they use to try to take down Calypso.
So is that what’s happening here? Well, there doesn’t seem to be an official answer to that question at this time, but it’s certainly an interesting theory. We suppose that there’s nothing preventing the show’s writers from eventually revealing that John Doe is actually an FBI agent who was somehow using the milkman guise as part of his cover. It’s clear that they’re retaining the amnesia aspect of the character, so there’s really no telling who John Doe will turn out to be once he (presumably) remembers who he was before he got involved in the vehicle combat competition that will still seemingly be the heart of the series.
Then again, what little we do know about this upcoming show suggests that writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Deadpool and Zombieland) aren’t necessarily trying to stick as close to the original games as possible. That would honestly be pretty challenging to do in the first place since each game in the series stars a mostly new cast of characters with unique motivations. There are stylistic and narrative elements that help tie the various games together, but even recurring characters are typically recast and changed slightly from entry to entry.
Of course, we should also mention that there are rumors that PlayStation Studios is working on a Twisted Metal game reboot/revival for PS5. While that project really is little more than a rumor at this time, we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the game reboot could either be directly related to the show or otherwise intended to be released alongside the series’ premiere (which is currently not scheduled).
As always, we’ll be sure to let you know more about Twisted Metal and John Doe as additional information becomes available.