The Continental Trailer Gives John Wick the Star Wars Treatment

Prepare to see the John Wick brand milked for everything it’s worth because Peacock has released an official trailer for The Continental: From the World of John Wick. The Continental is a miniseries depicting the early life of Winston, the manager of the titular New York City hotel that is governed by the High Table, particularly how he took control of the Continental. Colin Woodell stars as Winston (who is portrayed by Ian McShane in the films), with Ayomide Adegun as the young Charon (the late Lance Reddick in the movies) and Peter Greene as the young Uncle Charlie, the cleaner who covers up murders (David Patrick Kelly on the big screen – if you don’t recognize the name, he was Sully in Commando, Luther in 48 Hrs., and… also Luther in The Warriors). Other cast members include Katie McGrath, Nhung Kate, Adam Shapiro, Jessica Allain, and Mel Gibson as the villain (because Mel Gibson is only allowed to play villains and deeply flawed heroes who die nowadays). The Continental consists of three episodes, which will air on Peacock on September 22, September 29, and October 6, 2023. You can see the trailer below:

I’m not thrilled about The Continental. I love the John Wick movies, but part of what makes them cool is how mysterious Wick’s world is. You’re an outsider looking in as you follow Wick through the underworld, with tidbits about how it works and who runs it parceled out as needed. It makes them a ride, and it makes the High Table and its operations mysterious and scary – and John Wick even scarier because these people fear him. The Continental won’t necessarily strip all of that away, and the trailer doesn’t suggest it will, which is good. But it is going to demystify Winston by necessity, and that isn’t needed. Like the rest of that world, Winston is largely a mystery, which makes him the perfect representation of it, at least among the (kind of) good guys. He is the embodiment of what John Wick left behind and must fully embrace once again, simultaneously temptation beckoning him back and a friend advising him to leave forever. In other words, I don’t need to know his life story.

The Continental trailer

And look at the way he’s depicted in the trailer for The Continental. Colin Woodell comes off as trying to do an impression of Ian McShane’s Winston, which is necessary for a show like this, but hye still just feels like a knockoff. The scene where he preens about not finishing his brandy while standing before a willing woman doesn’t work, and he looks like a dandy more than a cool customer. What’s funny is that I can see Ian McShane pulling off that line. It’s not just that McShane is such a good actor; it’s that he’s older, craggy, seasoned, and looks like he’s crafted his persona over a lifetime. It’s a bit unfair to Woodell; this is a role designed for an older man that he must now play in his early 30s but with the personality of that same old man. And this is one of the problems with prequels: you either give us the same character fully formed but in a younger man’s body, or you show us the boring and unnecessary story of how a younger man became the character we like.

The Continental trailer

The Continental doesn’t look all bad, though. The action is very cool, which it needed to be to fit with the John Wick movies. And Mel Gibson being in anything (outside of those direct-to-video embarrassments he has to do now) is enough for me to watch it, although I can’t imagine I’ll be rooting for some effete little punk over him, even if I know he’ll be Ian McShane one day. Casting Peter Greene as the young Uncle Charlie is an interesting choice, not the least because I think he’s about a foot taller than David Patrick Kelly. But I like Peter Greene, and he plays sinister well. I hope the series is good, or at least inoffensive enough that it doesn’t cheapen the movies, but I don’t want another great IP turned into a cottage industry of content for content’s sake that chips away at the mystique of its universe.

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