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Everything to know about ‘John Wick's Winston Scott before ‘The Continental’ lands at Peacock
There’s more to managing a secret hotel than counting assassins’ coins.
Sheesh — is there any John Wick job that comes with more pressure than managing The New York Continental Hotel? Through four films and in the upcoming Peacock event series The Continental, hotel proprietor Winston Scott deftly navigates the deadly-delicate book of unwritten rules set in place by the High Table, the super-powerful syndicate of underworld criminal masterminds who preside over their charges’ every act with a seemingly omniscient eye.
But who is Winston Scott really? After the game-changing events of John Wick: Chapter 4, we’re more intrigued than ever by how Winston rose to his pivotal presiding position over the super-sacred code of conduct that lends each assassin in his orbit that elevated aura of honor among criminals.
For the deeper backstory to what makes Winston tick, The Continental is sure to provide answers. But before the miniseries debuts this September, it’s probably wise to bone up on our Winston Scott knowledge — just so our manners, while on the premises, don’t suffer from a life-or-death lapse in judgment.
Who is Winston Scott?
A longtime underworld member who rose to his position through adventures that so far have remained offscreen, Winston holds ultimate power — but also bears ultimate responsibility — for everything that takes place at The Continental. Decreed by the High Table as a neutral zone where assassins can set the hunt aside for a time and just relax, The Continental delivers bespoke, top-notch service befitting the world’s elite mobsters, with Winston making sure that every guest — no matter how sleazy and disloyal they may be on the outside — enjoys a pampered and well-appointed stay.
Played by the iconic Ian McShane in the main John Wick movies (as well as next summer’s spinoff movie Ballerina), Winston has a past that ties him to John Wick (Keanu Reeves) in a more personal way than to most other guests. Winston and Charon (the late Lance Reddick) are saved from a kidnapping by John Wick himself in the 2019 prequel video game John Wick Hex, which explores the events leading up to the start of the first John Wick film. By John Wick 3: Chapter 3 — Parabellum and a shocking ending we won't spoil here in John Wick: Chapter 4, it’s clear that Winston’s loyalty to John is as genuine as it gets, stretching the limits of the High Table’s set-in-stone code that promises lethal consequences for aiding and abetting all rule-breakers.
Colin Woodell will play Winston as a young man in Peacock’s The Continental, which dives decades back into the past to explore the origins not only of the hotel itself, but of Winston’s own underdog role in ascending to The Continental’s key top position.
What’s Winston’s role in the John Wick franchise?
On the surface, Winston occupies one of the underworld’s highest-trust roles, with the High Table and everyone beneath placing their full faith in his reliable certainty to enforce the hotel’s sanctuary status as a safe and peaceable neutral zone. It’s a trust that’s well earned, too. When Ms. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki) breaks house rules in the original John Wick by attempting to kill John on the premises, Winston revokes her membership and arranges for her execution — an effectively persuasive demonstration of his commitment.
There’s another role Winston plays, though, and it’s been a beacon for fans since the very first John Wick movie back in 2014. In many ways, he’s a proxy for the audience itself, serving as the benign eyes through which viewers witness John and his deadly predicaments from a safe, but always sympathetic, distance.
Without delving into spoiler-y developments in John Wick: Chapter 4, it’s safe to say Winston even views John from the perspective of a father figure, with his paternal brand of affection really coming to the forefront at the end of John Wick: Chapter 2 and all throughout John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum. When Winston dutifully declares John excommunicado — a move that shows him playing the assassin’s game as it’s meant to be played, even if it hurts — viewers feel Winston’s same sense of sadness and dread as he broods over John’s chances of surviving the $15 million death bounty that sets scores of underworld assassins hot on his trail.
Where will we see Winston next?
Secret societies, shadow worlds, and deeply-hidden intrigue: Yep, there’s a reason the mysterious criminal netherworld of John Wick has launched an entire universe. Thankfully, though, the veil of secrecy is soon to lift on Winston Scott’s place in it all. The Continental is set to put Woodell in Winston’s prequel role at Peacock this September, with the event series’ final debut date sure to be revealed sometime in the near future.
Back in the almost-present day, McShane will again return as Winston alongside star Ana de Armas in next year’s Ballerina feature film, which follows the action of betrayed assassin Rooney (de Armas) after the events of John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum. Also featuring Reeves, Reddick, and Anjelica Huston from the main movie series, Ballerina twirls into theaters on June 7 of 2024.