The John Wick franchise doesn't exactly belong under the sci-fi umbrella, but it's got some interesting connections to the genre.
The first film, a high-intensity, highly stylized action thriller starring Keanu Reeves as a legendary assassin who goes up against an army of assailants, was set in a nameless, strange city that felt odd and sort of one step removed from reality. The movie's slightly surreal tone and heavily choreographed action and fight sequences would not have felt too out of place in a modern sci-fi blockbuster as well -- like, say, The Matrix.
So it's no surprise to learn that Chad Stahelski, co-director of John Wick and sole director of the upcoming John Wick: Chapter 2, is a veteran of the Matrix films, having acted as stunt coordinator and Reeves' stunt double on that trilogy. But now the Matrix callbacks have become even more overt -- while the casting of Laurence Fishburne in John Wick: Chapter 2 was made public last year, now EW has posted our first image of Reeves and Fishburne -- Neo and Morpheus in the Matrix movies -- together again on set.
Fishburne is playing a character called the Bowery King, and Reeves explained to EW how the actor came to be in the movie and who his character is:
"It was so cool to have a chance to work with Laurence Fishburne again, with the history that we have professionally and personally. I ran into him, and he was saying that he was a fan of the first film, and was there anything in the second film. I said, ‘As a matter of fact there is!’ So, we sent him the project and he responded to the role. Lawrence is playing a character called the Bowery King. He is a leader of this underworld in New York City. He knows everything about everything and he helps John in his mission. It was cool to act with him again and hopefully people will enjoying seeing us reunited."
I guess they couldn't find room for Carrie-Anne Moss or Joe Pantoliano in this one, but maybe John Wick 3? In any case, it's certainly intriguing to see Reeves and Fishburne together again, and hopefully their relationship in this film is as compelling as it was in The Matrix.
John Wick: Chapter 2 is in theaters Feb. 10, 2017.