What's Next for John Wick?

With John Wick: Chapter 4 earning rave reviews and burning up the box office, we break down what to expect from the future of the franchise.

by | March 30, 2023 | Comments


Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

(Photo by Murray Close/©Lionsgate)

Nobody wants to see a puppy die in a movie, but if it has to happen, it sure helps to follow it up with one of the most explosive, intricately choreographed, and wholly satisfying action franchises ever to hit the big screen. What began as a simple revenge story has taken on a life of its own, propelling star Keanu Reeves back into the Hollywood limelight, jumpstarting the directorial careers of Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, and spawning both a spin-off and a TV series yet to come. With John Wick: Chapter 4 earning rave reviews and burning up the box office, we’re here to tell you what to expect from the future of the franchise.

[Warning: John Wick: Chapter 4 Spoilers Ahead]

The Fate of Baba Yaga

Kean Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

(Photo by ©Lionsgate)

The first film of the John Wick saga ended tidily enough, with Keanu Reeves’ titular assassin having exorcised his rage on an ill-fated army of Russian mobsters, but he found himself in deeper and deeper borscht in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3: Parabellum as he effectively went to war with the High Table, the ruling syndicate of the criminal underworld. Chapter 4 managed to tie up just enough loose ends to provide John with an honorable, redemptive death… or so we assume.

While it’s true that the final scenes of the film — well, not the final final scene of the film, but more on that later — leave the door ever so slightly cracked open to allow for John’s return, that doesn’t seem likely to happen. For one, none of the performances or storytelling cues in those moments hint at any shenanigans; everything is played straight, and there’s no winking at the audience. Plus, John’s death is meaningful because of everything he endured and everyone he endangered along the way, and bringing him back would rob him of the redemption he earned. It would also be a pretty cheap fake-out (see: Glenn’s “death” in season 6 of The Walking Dead).

Keanu Reeves and Chad Stahelski on the set of John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

(Photo by Murray Close/©Lionsgate)

So where does that leave us? In recent interviews, director Chad Stahelski has waffled a bit on whether or not he and Reeves are looking to do more with the character. He told the Hollywood Reporter just a couple of weeks ago that “Keanu and I are done for the moment,” but a few sentences later, he continued on to say, “We’ll have a couple 20-year-old whiskeys and write some ideas on napkins. If those ideas stick, maybe we’ll make a movie.”

At one point, a Chapter 5 was going to be filmed back-to-back with Chapter 4, but once the end of Chapter 4 was cemented, the fifth installment was scrapped. Thanks to Chapter 4′s monumental opening weekend box office haul (it made over $145 million worldwide), however, it’s looking like Chapter 5 might be back on the table. In another interview with THR just this week, Lionsgate chair Joe Drake argued that “you could certainly interpret that ending in different ways. We’re all going to take a tiny rest here and then scratch at ideas about whether there’s a credible way to get into five. But there’s no guarantee.”

Even if John Wick himself doesn’t come back from the dead, it’s already been confirmed we’ll be seeing him again. Keanu Reeves is set to appear in the upcoming spin-off Ballerina, which stars Ana de Armas and takes place between Parabellum and Chapter 4. Outside of that, the franchise has done such a superb job of world-building that there are still plenty of other stories to explore. Speaking of which…

The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Assassins

Rina Sawayama in John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

(Photo by Murray Close/©Lionsgate)

Now, about that final final scene in Chapter 4: In a post-credits bumper, we saw Rina Sawayama’s Akira approaching Donnie Yen’s Caine with murder in her eyes and a dagger in her hand. We may be meant to infer that Akira succeeded in killing Caine and avenging her father, but the brief moment also feels like a tease of something yet to come. If the franchise were to continue without its Boogeyman, there’s always the potential that it might pivot to follow the exploits of another character, and Akira would be an obvious candidate for that. Maybe her initial assassination attempt goes sideways, and she spends one film trying to take down Caine before she set her bow sights on the rest of the High Table, who could rightfully be blamed for her father’s death.

Alternatively, we might see the two of them come to some sort of understanding — or a temporary truce, at least — just long enough to join forces against the High Table. If not, maybe there’s a chance we see a Caine spin-off instead. According to an interview with Variety, Yen is absolutely on board for that, though he quickly laughed about the likelihood of it, saying, “There’s always ‘talks’ in Hollywood.” So, maybe not.

Shamier Anderson in John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

(Photo by Murray Close/©Lionsgate)

Arguably a less obvious direction for the franchise would be the assassin known simply as the “Tracker,” played by Shamier Anderson. Call it plot armor if you want, but he’s clearly more skilled than the average hitman goon, he seems to operate somewhat outside the influence of the High Table, and by the end of Chapter 4 he’s made his peace with John Wick and we kind of like the guy. His penchant for meticulous note-taking and Wick doodles, his money-driven honor code, and his canine companion — the trademark sign of a good guy in this universe — make him the interesting sort of protagonist we wouldn’t mind seeing more of.

Lastly, it’s also possible we may see something centering on Halle Berry’s Sophia from Parabellum. Like Akira, Caine, and the Tracker, she’s one of the few fellow assassins who have entered into John Wick’s orbit and survived the whirlwind of chaos that always seemed to find him. She also has a shared history with John and, like Caine, a daughter who can be used as leverage against her by the High Table. Oh, and dogs? She’s got two of them. At the very least, even if she doesn’t get her own spin-off, we wouldn’t be surprised to see her resurface at some point.

The Dancer and the Hotel

Lance Reddick and Ian McShane in John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

(Photo by Murray Close/©Lionsgate)

It behooves us here to point out that franchise producer Erica Lee has been doing some interviews, revealing to Collider that an announcement of another film in the John Wick universe is imminent (“in the next, say, month or two”), and that Lionsgate is “developing a lot of stuff.” In an extended interview with Slashfilm, she elaborated further, casually rattling off names like Akira, the Tracker, Sophia, and even Laurence Fishburne’s Bowery King as characters “we think about and talk about.” It’s all very noncommittal stuff, but Lee is clearly invested in the franchise, so we’ll have to see if any of those ideas pan out.

In the meantime, we do have a couple of confirmed titles to look forward to. First up is the limited TV series The Continental, which is scheduled to premiere on Peacock in September. As its name implies, the series will focus on the safe-haven hotel from the movies, run by Ian McShane’s Winston with the help of his loyal concierge Charon, played by the late Lance Reddick. However, it will explore the birth of the hotel during the 1970s, with a younger Winston played by Colin Woodell and a younger Charon played by Ayomide Adegun. You can read all the juicy details on that here.

Ana de Armas at the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party

(Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)

After that, 2024 will bring us the aforementioned Ballerina, starring Ana de Armas as the character we briefly glimpsed in Parabellum and Anjelica Huston, who reprises her role from the same film as “The Director,” aka the head of the Ruska Roma crime syndicate who helped spirit John away to Casablanca. That film will be set between the events of Chapter 3 and Chapter 4, and Keanu Reeves will co-star as John Wick in what, theoretically, could be his final appearance as the character.

Now, Erica Lee is also a producer on both The Continental and Ballerina, and one of the other things she mentioned in her interviews is her “hope” that there will be a Ballerina 2 and a John Wick 5. We don’t know if either of those will actually happen, or if the John Wick mantle might, in fact, be passed on to Ana de Armas, a la Rocky to Creed. For now, we’ll have to make do with the fact that there is more on the horizon from this franchise and hope that it somehow measures up to the incredible precedent set by Reeves, Stahelski, and their merry band of magical mayhem makers.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is currently in theaters.

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