Sometimes, filmmakers are lucky enough to be a part of a generation-defining, once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon that forever changes an entire genre for the better. But for an even more rarified circle of artists, they may find themselves involved with yet another sensation years down the line. That’s certainly the case for both Keanu Reeves and Chad Stahelski, both of whom are able to lay claim to two separate pop culture juggernauts that have inspired multiple sequels and fired up the imaginations of countless action junkies everywhere.
With “John Wick: Chapter 4” set to release later this year, Wired recently caught up with both director and star to talk about their shared history leading up to “John Wick.” During the course of their conversation, both were asked whether the ongoing story of an assassin on the run owes a “debt” to the Wachowskis’ “The Matrix.” Reeves took the diplomatic route, saying that, “If we’re gonna compare them, they both were original ideas with visionary filmmakers.” Stahelski, however, went a bit further about the connections between the two:
“No one was under any delusion that ‘Matrix’ wasn’t going to be pretty awesome. Then David Leitch [co-director of the first Wick film] and I stayed on for ‘V for Vendetta’ and ‘Speed Racer,’ so we pretty much got a decade of Wachowski film school. The ‘John Wicks’ are definitely children of ‘The Matrix.'”
There certainly are worse ways to get a crash course in filmmaking than to study under Lana and Lilly Wachowski for almost a decade. With “John Wick” showing absolutely no signs of slowing down, let’s hope the Wachowski influence continues to be felt for many more sequels to come.
“John Wick: Chapter 4” comes to theaters on March 24, 2023.