When It Comes To The Expanding JOHN WICK Universe, Things Are Not Really Mapped Out

There's a lot happening in the Keanu Reeves John Wick universe, including sequels, movie spin-offs and a prequel television series, but it seems the creatives are pretty much making it up as they go along.

These days it feels like John Wick is in the news fairly often, whether it's regarding the fourth chapter in the Keanu Reeves-portrayed cinematic journey of the character, the prequel TV series The Continental set in the 1970s, or The Ballerina spin-off starring No Time to Die's Ana de Armas.

Yet, according to the new oral history of the franchise, They Shouldn't Have Killed His Dog, it's revealed that things are much more seat-of-the-pants than you might suspect. 

Notes producer Basil Iwanyk, "This situation is a little bit like the TV show Lost, where they had no idea what that island was and they'd unpeel certain things. We don't have a John Wick bible. We don't have something that says, 'Here's the story of John Wick.' We really don't. We're making this up as we go along, so the challenge of this is the danger of boxing ourselves into a corner. And people were so fascinated with this character after two movies, that we needed to give them some ideas. I remember when Keanu read the script for John Wick 3, and about the Ballerina, and he said, 'Wait, I was a ballerine growing up?' We were like, 'No, no, no!'"


Adds Chad Stahelsi, director of all four films, "We could be like, 'You, know that John Wick was a Navy SEAL, and he did this, this and this?' We don't talk about it, we just showed it to you so that you believed in the character. You don't have to be told what he can do; you've seen it. Not only did you see it, you saw the individual playing John Wick do it, and that buys his credibility by his honesty as the character. You see someone who cries over a puppy and fights female assassins in his boxer shorts."

"As a fanboy of other movies," points out screenwriter Derek Kolstad, who created the character, "I don't think you could ever do me justice to how I saw the backstory with John killing a man with a pencil. But I would love to have another character come in and go, 'You know what I saw that night?' That's what I think would make it even better.

What excited Iwanyk is that there will be a character in one of the scripts with one or two scenes that just pop. "All of a sudden," he says, "we're getting excited about an actor, and the role gets bigger. Anjelica Huston was a perfect example of that." And now Huston has been signed to reprise her John Wick Chapter 3 role in The Ballerina


"John Wick 2," he continues, "was extraordinarily hard. That was the hardest one, because we were, like, 'What the hell do we do? We already killed the dog.' We thought that was the real hook of the movie, and we were confused on what to do there. John Wick 3, much easier, because it was kind of chasing off of John Wick 2. On John Wick 4, it's a little bit like, 'Where are we going as a franchise? Where is he going as a character? Who are we itnroducing? What are the emotional stakes?' It's been a tough one."

Let's face it: when it comes to John Wick and his ever-expanding world, what isn't?

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