Cyberpunk 2077: Who is Keanu Reeves' Johnny Silverhand?

Cyberpunk 2077 Johnny Silverhand
Cyberpunk 2077 Johnny Silverhand (Image credit: Windows Central)

Ever since Keanu Reeves stepped on stage during Xbox's 2019 E3 conference, his role in Cyberpunk 2077 has been one of the most hyped aspects of the game. The star of The Matrix and John Wick movies is playing Johnny Silverhand, a cyborg celebrity who will accompany V throughout his journey. Here's what you should know about the character.

Johnny Silverhand in 2020

Cyberpunk 2077 Johnny Silverhand

Source: CD Projekt S.A. (Image credit: Source: CD Projekt S.A.)

Johnny Silverhand was born Robert John Linder. His father was a disciplined military man who was killed by rioters, tearing apart Johnny's family and leaving him to fend for himself on the streets at the age of 6. A family of Nomads took him in, and as he traveled with them, Johnny learned how to play the guitar and shoot a gun.

His time with his adopted family ended with a romantic conflict that killed Johnny's rival. After some time performing on the road, he decided to join the military to escape the heat from his crime. He was filled with implants that left him on the brink of psychosis and decided to desert rather than keep killing for corporations.

Johnny stole a car and headed west to Night City, where he fully embraced the Johnny Silverhand persona. He played music at local bars and forged relationships with the city's gangs. He formed the chrome-rock rebel band SAMURAI to spread a message that the current system needed to be disrupted and accumulated a cult following.

Eventually, Johnny decided that making music wasn't enough and teamed up with some mercenaries to blow up Arasaka Tower. While the mission was successful, Johnny was captured and hasn't been seen or heard from since.

Johnny Silverhand in 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 Silverhand Album Cover

Source: CD Projekt Red (Image credit: Source: CD Projekt Red)

Johnny's personality was saved in digital form in 2020, and in 2077, it's implanted in V's head. V is shot and left for dead early in the game, and a prototype chip V stole from Arasaka is the only thing keeping him alive. You'll get to know more about Johnny through flashbacks that show the man he was and how he's been changed by 57 years alone in a digital prison.

Johnny will provide V, and in turn the player, with a huge amount of knowledge about the workings of Night City and its major players, but he also has his own agenda. The chip is eating away at V's mind, and eventually, your character will be fully replaced by Johnny's personality. Johnny hates not having control of V's body, but he appears as a digital construct in scenes you're in, providing commentary on your actions.

Cyberpunk 2077 lead quest designer Pawel Sasko calls Johnny Silverhand's arc the spine of the game's plot, and how the player relates to the character will determine what ending they get. Johnny serves as a co-protagonist and V's foil, alternately acting like an angel and devil on your shoulder.

How was Johnny Silverhand created?

Cyberpunk 2077 Wheres Johnny

Source: CD Projekt Red (Image credit: Source: CD Projekt Red)

CD Projekt Red pitched the role of Johnny Silverhand to Keanu Reeves in 2018, picking the actor because his famous performances in science fiction movies would help the character feel like a star that everyone would recognize and want to spend time with. They began working with him on voiceover, motion capture, and scans of his face, body, and gestures in January 2019.

While Reeves had done some voiceover work before for cartoons and documentaries, Cyberpunk 2077 was the most he's ever done. The animation team worked to translate Reeves' movements into the digital world, including his walk for the character, which the actor described as a hybrid between a panther and a cobra.

The voice in your head

If you love Johnny Silverhand, you might want to keep him on your desk by picking up his figures, which are among the best Cyberpunk 2077 collectibles. You should also keep checking back here for more information on how to navigate the complex world of Cyberpunk 2077.

Samantha Nelson