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Why Do We Never See the Full High Table in the John Wick Franchise? Blame Austin Powers, Baby!

The weird influence Austin Powers had on the John Wick franchise.

By Josh Weiss

Oh, behave! You know a parody has permanently entrenched itself in the cultural zeitgeist when it kind of ruins a specific genre and/or trope for everyone else. In other words, you can thank Mike Myers' beloved Austin Powers trilogy for why we'll never get to see a full gathering of the shadowy criminal cabal known as the High Table in the John Wick franchise (Chapters 1-3 are now on Peacock alongside the prequel series, The Continental: From the World of John Wick).

While fans have met certain representatives of the felonious body — from the D'Antonio siblings and Ruska Roma to Adjudicators and Harbingers  — they'll never get a full view of the association that pulls the strings of the assassin underworld.

For More on John Wick:
Everything We Know So Far About a Possible John Wick: Chapter 5
The Continental Director on "Reverse Engineering" Ian McShane and Lance Reddick’s Characters for John Wick Spinoff
Why The First John Wick Movie Spent Around $5,000 On CGI Dog Poop

John Wick Director Explains Why We'll See the Entire High Table Sitting Around a Table

Keanu Reeves in John Wick Chapter 4 (2023)

Recently appearing as a guest on The Discourse podcast (via The Playlist), longtime Wick director Chad Stahelski explained that no one can do an international Spectre-like organization anymore because the Powers movies "mocked it so well" with the ragtag collection of quirky, bumbling masterminds led by Dr. Evil (also played by Myers).

"An actual table with the stereotypes tropes of evil from different ethnicities from all over the world," Stahelski explained. "We’re never going to show the whole High Table; we’ll show the representatives, but we’ll always keep some of that [mystery]."

With that said, the stuntman turned storyteller isn't opposed to pulling back a tiny sliver of the curtain in a television series, à la The Continental: From the World of John Wick. In fact, development has already begun on another small screen spinoff. "Lionsgate is having us develop the John Wick TV show, so we thought we could explore The High Table in that a little bit,” Stahelski teased.

Chad Stahelski Teases Anime Project Set Within the World of John Wick

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) appears in all-black in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019).

Stahelski also made mention of a John Wick anime adaptation (it's unclear whether it's intended for film or TV), which seems perfect for an IP whose overall style owes a great deal to Japanese culture and tradition. Makes you wonder why it hasn't happened before!

"We’re really looking forward to that; we’re really excited about it because we’re doing that and a Japanese anime because I love Japanese anime so much,” the director said. “So to create all the cool stories that anime could achieve better than we could and the TV show to expand our world, we’ll still get our fix, you know what I mean? And we’ll still have all the fun.”

Beyond those two confirmed projects, Stahelski is also interested in exploring a number of new characters introduced in Chapter 4 — mainly Caine (Donnie Yen), The Tracker (Shamier Anderson), and Shimazu Akira (Rina Sawayama).

"The TV show and the ancillaries will give us a chance to expand the kind of fun world we’ve created, and it doesn’t have to be John Wick, the character specific, you know what I mean so that we can explore all that stuff,” he concluded. "And I think TV is a better format for that, I think because people can jump into the backgrounds, you don’t have to spend so much time with the first act set up and all that."

John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2, and John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum are streaming on Peacock alongside The Continental: From the World of John Wick prequel series.

Originally published Nov 13, 2023.