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SYFY WIRE The Continental

The Continental: Peacock’s John Wick Spinoff Almost Didn’t Center Around a Young Winston

When it came to a John Wick spinoff show, there were a lot of possibilities.

By Matthew Jackson
Colin Woodell as Winston Scott in The Continental: From the World of John Wick

In just three months, fans everywhere will get to experience The Continental, Peacock's John Wick prequel series that will take viewers back to 1970s New York, and explore what happens when a young Winston Scott (Colin Woodell) shows up at the title hotel and begins to run things his way. It's a great idea for a show within this world, but it almost didn't happen. 

In a wide-ranging new interview over at IGNJohn Wick and The Continental producer Basil Iwanyk explains that the series only emerged after a "long period of development" in which the creative team batted around all sorts of ideas for what was then a wide-open spinoff series. For a long time, it seemed like the show might not be a prequel, but a straightforward spinoff set at one of the other Continental hotels around the world, giving us a new view of the assassins and staff who populate that location. 

RELATED: The Continental Drops New Images

However, Iwanyk was concerned that any spinoff focusing on a different Continental and a different hotel manager would just be "John Wick-lite," a way to do a new version of the same story. The team finally found a way in, Iwanyk explained, when they remembered Winston's line in John Wick Chapter 3 about serving faithfully at the Continental for 40 years. 

The moment of inspiration behind The Continental being set in the '70s

Colin Woodell as Winston Scott in The Continental: From the World of John Wick

“The writers came up with the idea of going, ‘Hold on, he's been in this hotel for 40-something years – that would lead us to 2000, assuming 1973 or 74,'" Iwanyk recalled. "And we were like, ‘God, that's really cool. What about that? Him getting a hold of this hotel in the ‘70s in New York where it was lawless and crazy and post-war and nuts. That's a cool premise for a gangster movie and that's a cool premise for a Wick series.’ That's how we came to that.”

So, The Continental became a prequel focusing on Winston's rise to power, and the various major players in his life as he works to establish a base of operations in 1970s New York City. But that's not to say those spinoff ideas have been wasted. We've seen alternate versions of The Continental pop up in the films already, including a look at The Osaka Continental in Chapter 4, and of course we are getting a full-on spinoff film with Ballerina next year. When it comes to the small screen, though, it's all about the origin story. 

The Continental, starring Colin Woodell as a young Winston Scott (the character made famous by Ian McShane in the main John Wick series), premieres this September on Peacock.

In the meantime, how about some far-less violent '70s-set fun? Check out That '70s Show, now streaming on Peacock!