Is John Wick ready to hang up his guns (not to mention his pencil)? No, but that hasn’t stopped people from freaking out over a comment that’s clearly being taken out of context. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Chad Stahelski, who directed all four John Wick films, talked about the future of the franchise and whether John Wick: Chapter 5 is on the horizon.
“In our minds, Keanu and I are done for the moment. We’re going to give John Wick a rest. I’m sure the studio has a plan. If everyone loves it and it goes kooky, then we’ll take a quiet minute. Wicks always, for some weird reason, always get the latest release date in Japan. It’s always like, three months later. If it’s the same this time, we’ll do a Japanese tour and release the movie in September. Keanu and I will take the long trip to Tokyo, we’ll sit in the Imperial Hotel Scotch Bar and go, ‘What do you think?’ We’ll have a couple 20-year-old whiskies and write some ideas on napkins. If those ideas stick, maybe we’ll make a movie.”
Predictably, everyone is ignoring “for the moment” and assuming this means John Wick is done with its fourth installment. But it seems to me like Stahelski and Keanu Reeves will need to wind down from what must be a grueling production and think about the next one. Reeves has said that as long as people like the John Wick films, he’ll make more of them. I don’t think anyone begrudges him and Stahelski a break, though, for their own mental and physical well-being as well as to allow them to do some other things so they don’t get burned out on Wick. (That one just dropped in my lap, didn’t it?) And with all the productions Stahelski is involved with now through his action design company 87Eleven (not to be confused with 87North, the production company run by his buddy and original John Wick co-director David Leitch), he’s got plenty to do till it’s time for more Wick. Stahelski himself indicated this to Collider last year, as did Reeves a month or so ago.
What does surprise me a bit, although it probably shouldn’t, is that John Wick: Chapter 5 isn’t already done, or close to it. I remember when the plan was for 4 and 5 to shoot back to back, finishing the storyline that started in John Wick: Chapter 2. I guess the COVID response threw a monkey wrench into that plan, with 4 already releasing almost a year later than was intended. And in a way, that may be for the best; John Wick being on the run and fighting the assassins guild that once employed him should have finished in Chapter 3, but it’s still going. With 5 now a ways off, I suspect it will wrap up in this one, which is good. Then, maybe 5 can be a new story.
By the way, that interview is relatively short and very interesting if you’re into action movies. I especially like what Stahelski says about inflated budgets having an adverse effect on a movie’s quality.