When the first John Wick movie hit theaters nearly a decade ago, no one could have predicted the immense success that would follow. What started as a sleeper hit soon became a global phenomenon, grossing over $1 billion worldwide. The franchise, led by the incomparable Keanu Reeves, captivated audiences with its high-octane action and compelling story. Now, with the release of John Wick 4, fans were left wondering if this would be the end of the assassin’s adventures. However, according to director Chad Stahelski, there are still plenty of stories to tell in the John Wick universe.
A Cinematic Journey through Genres
One of the defining characteristics of the John Wick franchise is its ability to seamlessly blend different genres together. Stahelski describes the progression of the films as a “fever dream”, with each installment taking on a distinct style. The first film lays the foundation with its grounded approach, setting the stage for what’s to come. The second film turns into a rock opera, while the third becomes a kung fu classic. And now, with the fourth film, we can expect a weird western samurai film. The franchise has become more ridiculous and anime-like as it progresses, intentionally creating a mythological narrative.
John Wick as a Mythological Tale
Stahelski emphasizes that the John Wick movies can be compared to mythological tales, where gods and men collide. The story is structured like a fantasy epic, raising philosophical questions about freedom and fate. The lingering question of whether John Wick dies or if “John Wick” dies serves as a meta-commentary on the nature of identity and purpose. It’s not simply a gimmick to prolong the franchise; it’s a deliberate narrative choice to explore deeper themes. Stahelski and Reeves did not plan out the entire franchise from the beginning, but rather, they took each film as an opportunity to expand the story further.
While John Wick 4 may not mark the end of the franchise, it’s clear that Stahelski and his team have bigger plans. Alongside the movies, there are plans for the FX prequel series, The Continental, which will delve into the intricate world of assassins. Additionally, there is another project in development called The Ballerina, aiming for a summer 2024 release. However, the recent strikes by both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA unions may cause delays in production. Despite these setbacks, Stahelski assures fans that there is no shortage of ideas for the future of John Wick.
Behind Stahelski, there are countless notebooks filled with ideas for John Wick 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. The creative team has a wealth of concepts waiting to be explored. However, what remains uncertain is how to bring these ideas to life. Stahelski admits that while the ideas are abundant, the story is not yet fully formed. He has no interest in cash grabbing by simply bringing John Wick back for the sake of it. The story must be compelling and worthy of the character. Should the right story come along, both Stahelski and Reeves are open to returning to the franchise.
The success of the John Wick franchise has left an undeniable mark on the action genre. It has redefined what audiences expect from an action film, combining stunning choreography with a compelling narrative. Keanu Reeves’ portrayal of the titular character has solidified John Wick as one of the most iconic action heroes of our time. Whether the franchise continues with more films or expands into other mediums, one thing is certain: the world of assassins and the legend of John Wick will continue to captivate audiences for years to come.
The John Wick franchise has shown the world that there are endless possibilities for storytelling in the realm of assassins. From its humble beginnings to its status as a global phenomenon, the franchise continues to push boundaries and challenge conventions. With the promise of more sequels, a prequel series, and other projects in the works, fans can rest assured that there is still much more to explore in the world of John Wick. As long as there are new stories to tell, the legend of John Wick will live on.