SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers are ahead for “John Wick: Chapter 4,” now playing in theaters.
After killing countless High Table henchmen, falling down hundreds of stairs and dueling one blind master swordsman, Keanu Reeves’ John Wick is…dead?
“John Wick: Chapter 4” ends with Wick seemingly six feet under, after succumbing to three gunshot wounds he suffered during his final duel with Caine (Donnie Yen). Winston (Ian McShane) and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) even pay their respects at the master assassin’s tombstone, which is located next to his wife’s final resting place.
Before he died, however, Wick finally freed himself from the High Table’s clutches. Instead of firing his third and final bullet in his duel against Caine, Wick held onto the round and shot the Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsgard), who had walked over to deliver the final blow to Wick before checking to see if he was out of bullets. With de Gramont dead, Wick won his freedom, but barely got to enjoy it before he died peacefully on the steps of France’s Sacré-Cœur as the sun began to rise.
But is Wick really dead? We never actually see him die from his wounds, nor do we see his body get buried. After all, over four movies he’s survived an inhuman amount of stabbings, gunshots, brandings, hard falls from absurd heights and other serious bodily harm. At the end of “John Wick 3,” he faked his death from the High Table’s Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) and recovered from his wounds with the Bowery King underground, hiding out until the beginning of “John Wick 4.” His death has been staged before, so why not again?
In August 2020, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer revealed that “John Wick 5” was already in the works, before “John Wick 4” had even begun filming. The original plan was for the fourth and fifth entries to shoot back-to-back, which did not end up happening. Last week, director Chad Stahelski told The Hollywood Reporter that, “In our minds, Keanu and I are done for the moment. We’re going to give ‘John Wick’ a rest. I’m sure the studio has a plan. If everyone loves it and it goes kooky, then we’ll take a quiet minute.”
“The thought process was, when we had the opportunity after ‘Chapter 3,’ what was the ‘why’?” Reeves said at a post-screening Q&A at the SXSW Film Festival. “When Chad and I were talking about it, the ‘why’ is death, and it was John Wick’s dead. For him to get his peace or his freedom in a way, that was the reason to make the movie. You gotta have the ‘why.’”
Even if a mainline “John Wick” movie doesn’t happen for a while, Reeves is already booked to appear in the upcoming spinoff “Ballerina,” starring Ana de Armas. Taking place between the third and fourth “John Wick” films, “Ballerina” stars de Armas as an assassin named Rooney who hunts down her family’s murderers. We previously saw a young Rooney in “John Wick 3,” where she was played by ballet dancer Unity Phelan and was under the tutelage of Anjelica Huston’s Director. Huston’s character is the leader of the Ruska Roma crime syndicate, of which Wick was once a member. The group also includes Katia (Natalia Tena), who welcomed Wick back into the adoptive family and branded him with their crest in “John Wick 4.”
“Ballerina,” which does not yet have a release date, could further crack open the shadowy world of “John Wick.” In addition to Reeves, the cast includes Huston, McShane and newcomers Gabriel Byrne, Norman Reedus and Catalina Sandino Moreno. Lance Reddick will also appear as The Continental concierge Charon, in his final appearance filmed before his death last week. Reddick’s character is shot to death by the Marquis de Gramont at the beginning of “John Wick 4.”
The “John Wick” franchise also a prequel series coming that will show the origins of The Continental and many of its major players. Heading to Peacock in the future, “The Continental” will take place in the ’70s and reveal how a young Winston got control of the assassin hotel and safe haven. Colin Woodell plays a young Winston, Ayomide Adegun is Charon, Katie McGrath is The Adjudicator and Peter Greene is Uncle Charlie, who goes onto covertly dispose of bodies in the “John Wick” movies. Mel Gibson stars as a character named Cormac, and the cast includes many other newcomers playing a variety of Continental guests and killers.
“John Wick 4” also has one final, future plot thread teased in the post-credits scene with Akira (Rina Sawayama) and Caine. Earlier in the movie, Caine kills Akira’s father Koji (Hiroyuki Sanada), who was Wick’s friend and the manager of the Osaka Continental Hotel. Akira, who was the concierge of the hotel, approaches Caine in the post-credits scene to take revenge for her father’s death, perhaps teasing a showdown to come.