The creators of John Wick never expected to have a franchise. The first film was designed to be the directorial debut of stunt and second unit directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. But audiences loved Keanu Reeves’ titular assassin character and the world he inhabits so much that the franchise just released its fourth film and a three-part prequel miniseries set in the John Wick world — minus Reeves, though — arrives in September.
The event is called The Continental: From the World of John Wick, named after the hotel for assassins featured in the films. Rules at the Continental stipulate that no “work” can be done on Continental grounds — no killing! John Wick broke that rule in Chapter 2 by killing the man who forced him back into the life, while Chapter 3 saw John on the run and New York Continental manager Winston Scott (Ian McShane) facing repercussions for letting him go.
Plans for The Continental have evolved since Starz first announced the series before it moved to Peacock. On April 12, Peacock released a teaser trailer for The Continental that confirmed some of the information previously teased. A full trailer on August 9 confirmed many of those plans and revealed the new characters. Here’s everything we know about The Continental so far.
Official series description from Peacock:
The three-part event will explore the origin behind the iconic hotel-for-assassins centerpiece of the John Wick universe through the eyes and actions of a young Winston Scott, as he’s dragged into the Hell-scape of 1970’s New York City to face a past he thought he’d left behind. Winston charts a deadly course through the hotel’s mysterious underworld in a harrowing attempt to seize the hotel where he will eventually take his future throne.
The Continental premieres September 22 on NBCUniversal’s Peacock, streaming home to the John Wick films. (Note: Rotten Tomatoes is also a division of NBCUniversal.)
Premiere Date & Rollout:
NIGHT 1 – Friday, September 22
NIGHT 2 – Friday, September 29
NIGHT 3 – Friday, October 6
The Continental stars Mel Gibson (Cormac), Colin Woodell (Winston Scott), Mishel Prada (KD), Ben Robson (Frankie), Hubert Point-Du Jour (Miles), Nhung Kate (Yen), Jessica Allain (Lou), Ayomide Adegun (Charon), Jeremy Bobb (Mayhew), and Peter Greene (Uncle Charlie).
Katie McGrath, Ray McKinnon, Mark Musashi, and Marina Mazepa were announced in February and will appear as guest stars.
Lance Reddick’s sudden death at age 60 on March 17 shook the John Wick family, Hollywood, and fans. His character, Continental concierge Charon, will appear in the series as a young man played by Adegun, while Woodell plays the young Winston, previously announced as the lead of the 1975-set show. Also, given the New York Continental’s fate in John Wick 4, fans will be happy to see it in its original glory.
Early plans for The Continental would have introduced a new assassin in the world of the hotel. Stahelski originally told Rotten Tomatoes, “There’s a whole new cast coming aboard for that and that hasn’t been seen before,” which remains true, but two of them are now the young incarnations of Winston and Charon. In an interview with Deadline, Lionsgate Television Chairman Kevin Beggs offered an update on the John Wick TV series, including setting it in 1970s New York. The teaser confirms the ’70s.
“What we’re exploring in The Continental is the young Winston and how it came to be that he and his team of confederates found their way into this hotel,” Beggs told Deadline. “[The Continental is] about a crumbling New York in the 1970s with a garbage strike that has piled up bags of garbage to the third floor of most brownstones, the mafia muscling in on that business which is why in The Sopranos he’s in the sanitation business. And other things that are really real as an interesting backdrop to explore the origins of The Continental.”
McGrath (Supergirl’s Lena Luthor) plays an adjudicator, like Asia Kate Dillon in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum; Greene (The Mask and Pulp Fiction villain) dons the fedora of Uncle Charlie (based on the tight-lipped body disposal expert); Robson is Frankie; Point-Du Jour is Miles; Allain is Lou; Prada is KD; and Kate is Yen.
When John Wick killed Santino D’Antonio in the Continental at the end of John Wick: Chapter 2, he broke the sacred law that no work be conducted on Continental grounds, and set the next two sequels in motion. Perhaps in The Continental we see why violence in the hotel is so forbidden.
Action scenes in the show occur within the hotel, including gunfights and martial arts brawls in the stairwell, plus more in the hallways and on the roof.
Cormac (Mel Gibson) is in charge of the New York Continental in the ’70s. Winston’s brother, Frankie (Ben Robson), has stolen from Cormac. Now it’s Winston’s problem to find him, but Winston won’t just do Cormac’s bidding.
So Winston assembles a team of assassins to take The Continental. Winston has some convincing to do, but it looks like his new team takes on Cormac’s in the hotel and on the streets, even in speeding vehicles. Given we never hear about Cormac in the movies, our money’s on Winston.
In the movies, Charon (Lance Reddick) is the concierge of Winston’s New York Continental. Young Charon (Ayomide Aden) is working for Cormac in this trailer, showing Winston out when Cormac is done with him. Perhaps The Continental is also the story of how Winston and Charon became lifelong friends and partners in The Continental.
The trailer also gives Wickheads a look at the new badasses of The Continental. Katie McGrath wears a mask as an Adjudicator overseeing some torture. Asia Kate Dillon played an Adjudicator in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Mark Musashi and Marina Mazepa play long-haired hitmen Hansel and Gretel.
Franke handles the big stairway fight. Lou (Jessica Allain) and Miles (Hubert Point-Du Jour) are on Winston’s team and they handle some fighting business in the bar. Lemmy (Adam Shapiro) is the outspoken doubter of Winston but from the mayhem that follows it appears he changes his mind. Yen (Nhung Kate) takes on Gretel on the roof.
Though the trailer and promotional materials only identifies the era as “The 1970s,” rather than one specific year in the decade, the trailer confirms one specific holiday. A New Year’s Eve party is part of the mayhem. Which two years that encompasses may be left ambiguous.
As a prequel, this is presumably where some of the films’ famous lines originated. But, since the movies came first, it’s nice to see The Continental pays homage to some of the memorable John Wick lines.
When Winston say, “We need guns, lots of guns,” that’s what John asked Winston for in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. The trailer concludes with Winston saying, “And away we go” which is what he said at the beginning of the finale of the third film. He’s probably had many opportunities to say that between the ’70s and today.
The trailer also begins with Winston discussing the merits of a good suit, but the importance of the person inside it. Perhaps this is before they invented the bulletproof suits, because those have been quite an asset to John. Winston also appreciates a fine drink, which he won’t put down for a lady in waiting, and he corrects Lemmy who mistakes his cravat for an ascot. Yes, Winston was always a man of fine taste.
While the creators focused on making movies, Lionsgate and Starz presented the possibility to expand the franchise into the television realm as well following the success of John Wick: Chapter 2. Stahelski agreed, and the franchise creators started expanding the world of The Continental in the films.
“When we finished the first one, we thought we’d never work again,” Stahelski said. “We were looking for day jobs. Then when we were asked to do the second one, that’s when we put the thinking caps on. We did what we wanted to and what we had in mind for the first movie. It wasn’t until developing the second film that all the thought really went into it.”
Lee told Collider the series would address the Continental staff like the cleaners, other staff members and how they make the gold coins like the ones Wick uses to buy his wares. The teaser shows that signature gold coin too as a hand passes it across the counter.
Behind the scenes of The Continental:
• Developed, written and executive produced by: Greg Coolidge, Kirk Ward, Shawn Simmons
• Writers: Greg Coolidge, Kirk Ward, Shawn Simmons
• Executive producers: Thunder Road Pictures’ Basil Iwanyk and Erica Lee, Albert Hughes, Kirk Ward, Greg Coolidge, Chad Stahelski, Derek Kolstad, David Leitch, Shawn Simmons, Paul Wernick, Rhett Reese and Marshall Persinger
• Directors: Albert Hughes (Parts 1 & 3), Charlotte Brandstrom (Part 2)
• Studio: Lionsgate
The embargo for The Continental lifts on September 20, and the show will get a Tomatometer score when the series has at least five reviews.