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SYFY WIRE The Continental

What to Know About the John Wick Movies Ahead of The Continental

How do the John Wick films set up a prequel? Let's take a look back.

By Matthew Jackson

Later this month, The Continental: From the World of John Wick will arrive to give viewers everywhere their crime epic fix in the form of three 90-minute installments on Peacock. The miniseries event is the first spinoff from the Wick films, and serves as an ambitious expansion of the world already laid out in four present-day feature films, each with their own rich additions to an ever-expanding mythology. 

The Continental, of course, is a prequel to those films, set in the 1970s, which follows Winston Scott's (Colin Woodell) rise to power at the title New York City hotel, where he'll eventually be the steadfast manager and key ally to John Wick (Keanu Reeves) himself. Naturally, its prequel status means that there are certain key details you'll want to remember for the show to fully connect to the films, but which ones? We're here to help. Here's a quick refresher on everything from the Wick movies worth remembering ahead of The Continental's Peacock premiere.

What is The Continental?

As established in the first John Wick film, The Continental is a hotel in New York City that caters to criminals, specifically criminals who all work within the vast network of authority known as the High Table. The beautiful, storied old building serves as a sanctuary for these criminals, particularly assassins and people who may or may not have prices on their heads, and we eventually learn that the sanctuary rules dictate that "no business" can be conducted, and therefore no blood shed, on Continental grounds, lest the rule breaker be excommunicated and, therefore, killed. 

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Over the course of four Wick films, we learn that the hotel is one of several Continentals scattered throughout the world, all operating under the High Table's rule, all subject to the same code of conduct. We also learn that the penalty for defying the High Table, if you're a Continental proprietor, is what's known as "deconsecration," a ritual of destruction in which High Table troops will kill the hotel's manager and everyone allied with them, eventually wiping the hotel itself off the map. For the purposes of the films, the New York Continental is often the focus of these goings-on, and becomes a key beacon in John Wick's life as things get more and more deadly. And you thought the regular hotel business was rough. 

Who is Winston Scott?

Played by Ian McShane in the John Wick films, Winston is the longtime, confident, and unflappable manager of the New York Continental, a position he's held for years when we first meet him. He knows John well, well enough to be the only person in the films who calls him "Jonathan," and serves as a key ally in Wick's ongoing fight against those who want him dead. We don't learn that much about Winston's past in the films, but we do know that he's been ensconced in The Continental for a very long time, and it's basically considered his hotel, apart from the High Table's influence. 

In fact, Winston's personal stake in The Continental is such that he's willing to go to extreme lengths to protect it, including battling deconsecration by the High Table itself and, then, shooting John in exchange for the Table restoring his management of the property. Constantly scheming, thinking on his feet, and working both within and outside of the High Table system, Winston is a very smooth operator in the films, and the series will give us a chance to learn how he became that way.

Who is Charon?

While Winston is the focal point of The Continental, he's not the only major player who also made an impact in the Wick films. At his side is Charon, played by Lance Reddick in the films and Ayomide Adegun in the series. When we meet him in the first John Wick film, Charon is the inscrutable concierge of the New York Continental, and therefore Winston's right-hand man. In the series, we'll get to learn how he comes to ally himself with Winston's interests, and why he sticks around for so long. 

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Because, you see, Charon is much more than an employee. When the High Table comes for the New York Continental, Charon allies himself with Winston and John, fighting tooth and nail to keep the hotel in Winston's control. He's a valuable and deadly ally, a close friend, and a partner in keeping The Continental where it belongs, and that makes him vital to Winston's story.

What is the High Table?

In the John Wick films, we learn that John is the most feared killer in a world of assassins and criminals, all governed by an uber-powerful body known as the High Table. Made up of the most influential and wealthy criminals in the world, the Table is basically the ruling council of the entire underworld, so embedded in the lives of everyone who serves them that they have their own currency, their own bureaucracy, and a set of rules that are enforced through a combination of untold wealth and pure brute force. Basically, they're the shadow government of the entire series, and we can expect them to have a role to play in The Continental as we get a glimpse at what the High Table was like decades before the films began.

Is Keanu Reeves' John Wick in The Continental?

We know The Continental is a prequel to the John Wick films, so of course that begs the question: Will John Wick himself show up in the show. 

Well, don't expect Keanu Reeves to come waltzing in at any point, because the show is set in the 1970s. Reeves himself was born in 1964, which means that in theory John could theoretically appear as a young boy, depending on how far along in the timeline the show reaches. That said, we know that John spent much of his youth under the tutelage of the Ruska Roma crime organization, and according to tie-in comics even spent some time in Mexico, so that might not leave a lot of time for him to run into Winston. Still, the possibility is conceivably there, so keep your eyes peeled for a little boy who looks like he might have the potential to grow into the most frightening assassin the world will ever see.

The Continental: From the World of John Wick premieres September 22 on Peacock.