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'John Wick: Chapter 4' director explains ending, what he'd need to make a fifth film happen
John Wick: Chapter 4 director Chad Stahelski explains the future of the franchise.
If you’re like us, you rushed out to the theater to catch the fourth installment in the John Wick franchise and are now left with some pressing questions about its future. Is this really Keanu Reeves’ last outing as everyone’s favorite assassin with a penchant for K9 justice? According to director Chad Stahelski, maybe not, provided some important things fall into place.
**SPOILER ALERT! Spoilers below for John Wick: Chapter 4**
Things certainly seemed dire and final for Wick at the conclusion of the fourth movie. After fighting his way through every hitman Paris had to offer, he beat The Marquis (Bill Skarsgård) in a duel and somehow managed to secure freedom for his friend, Caine (Donnie Yen) — for now at least. The film concludes with Winston (Ian McShane) and The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) paying their respects at John’s grave, with him having seemingly succumbed to the wounds he suffered in the duel (not to mention the severe punishment he took on the way to it).
By the time the credits roll, the audience is left to believe that Wick has finally died, a fitting end now that he and the few people he cares about are free from their obligations to the High Table. That said, there’s plenty more story to tell within the John Wick universe beyond planned spinoffs (the Ballerina film starring Ana De Armas and The Continental prequel series on Peacock) and Stahelski confessed he has plenty more action setpieces and ideas to fill countless more movies.
“You can walk in the next room to my office and you’ll just see whiteboard after whiteboard after whiteboard of sh** we haven’t done yet,” he explained to SYFY WIRE. “I cut an hour out of this movie already. We’ve got literally a whole notebook with ideas in it. We cut sequences from the script that were written in the beginning. We could go on for days!”
While Wick is canonically dead in the franchise for now, the director isn’t opposed to bringing him back for another adventure. Although he did confess he’s given absolutely no thought yet as to how he would explain his return, Stahelski believes that and the inclusion of new and exciting action sequences is secondary to what he and Reeves really need to figure out before a fifth John Wick is on the table.
“If a gun was put to my head and they said ‘you have to make three more John Wick movies, could we sustain it with action set pieces and storyline threads and could we put in some tributes or love letter Easter eggs for things? Yeah, we could totally do that,” he said. “The real question that Keanu and I keep saying is the why? As an audience member, what would you like to see John do? How many more times can I beat him up?”
Stahelski explained, despite what some people may think, the John Wick movies are about so much more than a series of over-the-top action sequences starring Reeves. He works hard to ensure those scenes are motivated by themes of grief, warrior code, and complicated dilemmas.
“Story can’t just be the thing that happens in between action sequences. It’s got to include the action sequences. It’s got to be the overlay, it’s got to be the thread that holds everything together,” he said. “If I can find a way to get all my action in a storyline with the acting scenes, I’m good. I feel we have that in John Wick 4. If I can crack that on John Wick 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, great. I just don’t have that now. I have to figure that out.”
He added: “If I can come up with a way to do that and Keanu can package that into the spectacle of action or car chases or ninjas or whatever we’re doing, great. Right now, we have ideas for days, we have set pieces. I can travel the world and put set pieces together in any great city with architecture and art… Wherever we go, I can do nightclub scenes for days. Yes, we have all that. But the why, that’s what we need to figure out, [whether] we have an interesting story that would make you guys engaged.”
The former stuntman turned director noted that “punching and kicking and blowing sh** up” is a section of filmmaking he’s very comfortable in and therefore it comes easier to him than most. But for a man who is incredibly passionate about film, who's inspired by directors like Sergio Leone, Bernardo Bertolucci and Akira Kurosawa, he knows he needs more substance than a cadre of good action scene ideas.
That said, he seems very open to the idea of doing a John Wick 5 and beyond, provided his upcoming brainstorming session proves fruitful. If not, then John Wick: Chapter 4 may indeed be the last time we see Reeves' character in all his glory. A man who died at peace, victorious over the highest power in the world, and remembered as a loving husband to those who knew him and the Baba Yaga to those who crossed him.