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Regardless of 'John Wick 4' ending, studio 'not ready to say goodbye' to Keanu Reeves series
Sorry Keanu, sounds like a haircut isn't coming anytime soon.
How much longer can the John Wick franchise go on? According to one Lionsgate executive, the studio is definitely not ready to hang up the title character's guns just yet, no matter what happened in Chapter 4.
Speaking to Deadline after the fourth film in the action franchise opened to a massive $137.5 million global box office take over the weekend (the best of the series so far), Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Chair Joe Drake said that he's still interested in keeping Reeves involved in more Wick stories as long as possible.
"We’re not ready to say goodbye to Keanu with this franchise," Drake said.
SPOILERS for John Wick: Chapter 4 ahead!
Now, if you've seen Chapter 4, you know that things might get a little tricky on that front, because the film seemingly killed off John Wick in the final minutes, giving him peace after a long fight and even allowing a moment for Winston (Ian McShane) and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) to say goodbye to their fallen friend. So, how does Reeves continue appearing in a franchise that's killed him off?
“There’s a lot of different things that we can do,” Drake said. “I’ve seen this movie five times in the last week. I can see the way that the audience moves him.”
Indeed, even if John's death sticks in franchise canon, he's already set to come back at least once, in next year's spinoff film Ballerina, starring Ana de Armas in the title role. Reeves has confirmed that he'll reprise the John Wick role for that film, which takes place in between Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 of the John Wick story, which means we definitely haven't seen the last of him yet. And even Ballerina is not the end of the Wick franchise, as the prequel series The Continental is already heading to Peacock later this year.
So, how else do you manage to keep John Wick alive in a franchise that says he's dead? There's always the old standby of a fake death and a resurrection at a key moment, but Lionsgate could also continue to take the Ballerina approach and tell stories featuring Wick as a supporting character. They could even, if they're careful, work on more prequels, showing us things like the fabled "impossible task" that got John his first retirement, or some other legendary exploits from the career of the Baba Yaga.
However it all shakes out, it's clear that Lionsgate isn't ready to let go of their prized action hero. Now we just have to see if Reeves feels the same way.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is in theaters now. Still craving more Keanu action? Stream John Wick Chapters 1-3 on Peacock right now.