It’s fitting, given the mythological edge of the John Wick movies, that the series is somewhat in purgatory right now. If you’ve seen John Wick: Chapter 4 – and if not, this is your MAJOR SPOILER WARNING from hereon in – then you’ll know the super-sized sequel had a pretty seismic ending with ramifications for everything else to come: the small matter that John Wick seems to be, er, dead. Like, fully dead and buried. Finally free of the demands of the High Table, Keanu Reeves' hitman seemingly succumbed to his not-insignificant bullet wounds in Paris, the film ending with Ian McShane’s Winston visiting John Wick’s final resting place. Except, in the wake of its series-best box office ($427 million worldwide), talk immediately turned to the possibility of a John Wick 5.
With ambiguity written into John’s apparent end, there are ways of bringing him back. But as it stands, a few months on from John Wick: Chapter 4’s initial release, series director Chad Stahelski doesn’t have a definitive answer yet on whether a fifth film is happening or not. “I honestly don’t know,” he tells Empire in the Rebel Moon issue. “Lionsgate is keen on doing more John Wick stuff, understandably. It’s not a bad thing for a director to have a property that they want to make more of. I don’t have a take right now. But I could wake up tomorrow and have a cool idea that I’d pitch to Keanu, or he would pitch to me, and it might hit that chord of, ‘Oh my God, we got to do this right now.’” Already, possible ideas are forming. “I have scenes, I have action sequences in my head that we haven’t used that that I’d love to do,” says Stahelski. “If we do come back, we can’t just do the same thing. I gotta do my homework. I gotta get better.”
Whether John Wick the man really died, or just the myth of him (“You know, we’ve seen John take worse injuries,” notes Stahelski), his future is undecided. But while other filmmakers have stepped in for upcoming three-episode prequel series The Continental and next year’s Ana de Armas-starring spin-off movie Ballerina, expect the theoretical John Wick 5 to once again have Stahelski calling the shots. “I keep a really open mind. If somebody I’ve never met before walks in that door and lays down this pitch, it’d be worth the talk. But I’m very selfish and jealous,” he says when Empire posits a non-Stahelski John Wick movie. “I’m a control freak. I want to smack you just for suggesting it. [Laughs] Like, how dare you? Of course I want to do it.”
John Wick remains in purgatory then – but who knows when the muses will strike again. “Now we’ve done the four, and completed the circle, so to speak, I think it’s pretty good closure for the series,” says Stahelski. “And then there’s the competitor, or the real director in me who goes, ‘Fuck it, let’s just see if we can do it.’ It’s very appealing. I just don’t have the ‘why’ yet. But that doesn’t mean we should stop looking.” Stay vigilant, everyone: reports of the death of John Wick may well have been exaggerated.
Read Empire’s full Chad Stahelski interview – looking back on the making of John Wick: Chapter 4, an discussing what comes next – in the August 2023 issue. Become an Empire member to access the digital edition in full on launch day, or pre-order a print copy online now here. John Wick: Chapter 4 is out now on digital, 4K, Blu-ray and DVD.