Earlier this month, we teased our thoughts about John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)—but we still have more to say. Now that you’ve had a chance to see the film, we can ask the big question: what comes next?
Spoiler alert, so venture forward at your own risk!
A Lesson from Friday the 13th
Keanu Reeves has said that he wants to keep making John Wick movies as long as Hollywood will let him. The filmmakers have said that they want Keanu to keep playing John Wick on the big screen in the future. All wonderful news…except for the part where John Wick is now dead and buried next to his wife.
It brings the John Wick franchise to what I like to call the Friday the 13th Point.
Friday the 13th became dependent on Jason Voorhees as its main villain. When they killed Jason off—incidentally, also in the fourth film—filmmakers were left with a problem: how do you make a Friday the 13th movie without Jason?
In Friday the 13th Part V, they tried having a fake Jason—a different killer walking around and using his mask. Audiences did not like that. So in Part VI, they threw logic out the window and brought Jason back from the dead Frankenstein-style. It pushed the franchise from slasher- into supernatural-horror, but it allowed them to keep making Jason movies without boundaries.
Now that John Wick has reached the Friday the 13th Point, the story can go in a few different directions. Let’s take a look at some of the upcoming projects in the John Wick universe.
Option 1 – The Prequel
If there’s no more story at the end, it’s time to go back to the beginning. Because John Wick starts with John in retirement, there’s plenty of room to build out his backstory—and John’s not the only one with a story to tell. The John Wick films barely scratch the surface of their amazing supporting characters. What did John do to help Sofia protect her daughter? Why did Caine give up his sight for The High Table? How did the Bowery King earn his crown?
But if we’re gonna be doing backstories, there’s no better place to start than Winston.
The Continental is a miniseries due to premiere on Peacock later this year. The show will consist of three episodes focusing on the New York Continental Hotel in the 1970’s. You can expect a deeper look into the business world of The High Table—the tailor who makes kevlar suits, the sommelier who provides weapons, the cleaning crew that takes care of the bodies. More importantly, we’ll be getting a glimpse into the beginning of Winston and Charon’s friendship, and how they came to be the Manager and Concierge of the New York Continental.
Option 2: The Side Story
There’s a lot of different ways to do this one. You can take a second pass at the same story, telling it from a different character’s perspective. You can separate the story entirely, telling a completely original story that happens to take place in the same world. Or you can meet in the middle, telling a new story that unfolds alongside the original with varying amounts of overlap.
The upcoming film Ballerina appears to be the third type. According to IMDb, the movie will follow “a young female assassin [who] seeks revenge against the people who killed her family.” So, you know, average John Wick stuff. The movie stars Ana de Armas and features cameos from several other John Wick stars: Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, and even scenes with the late Lance Reddick.
Anjelica Huston is also rumored to be reprising her role as The Director, the head of the Ruska Roma. This gives us a little more insight into the upcoming film and where it fits in the franchise. The Director was introduced in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, where she assists John in leaving the country and is later punished by The High Table. It’s likely that Ana de Armas also plays a member of the Ruska Roma crime syndicate, and that Ballerina will give us some insight into the fate of Huston’s character.
Option 3 – The New Beginning
Like Friday the 13th, it’s possible that the franchise will simply move forward without its main character. It wouldn’t make much sense to have John Wick: Chapter 5 without John Wick, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a new beginning.
Chapter 4 does a fairly good job of setting the stage for that kind of continuation. In the post-credit scene—yes, there was a post credit scene—we see Shimazu’s daughter Akira going after Caine with a knife. We don’t get to see if she succeeds in killing him, but his odds don’t look good. It’s entirely possible that the next arc of the John Wick franchise will have Rina Sawayama at the helm, avenging the death of her father and doing her best to follow in his footsteps.
But what the people love about John Wick is John Wick. That leads us to…
Option 4 – The Resurrection
I doubt that John Wick: Chapter 5 will start with John being struck by lightning in his grave and reanimating his body—but that doesn’t mean he can’t come back to life. The fade-to-black between John on the stairs of the Sacré-Cœur and John’s headstone in the cemetery leaves plenty of room for doubt. Maybe Winston and The Bowery King assisted him in faking his death, just in case any old contacts wanted to drag him back into the business. This time, John wants to stay retired.
It’s possible, but frankly, I hope it’s not a road the writers choose to take. While I’d love to see Keanu Reeves continue to play John Wick, the end of Chapter 4 feels like the natural conclusion of his story. He avenged his dog, Daisy; he helped his friends; he earned his freedom; and he was reunited with the love of his life. Undoing that wouldn’t feel right, no matter how much fun another movie would be.
What do you hope to see in the future of John Wick? Should the franchise press on? Or is it time to lay Mr. Wick to rest?
John Wick: Chapter 4 is now playing in theaters.