John Wick: Chapter 4 director Chad Stahelski revealed why he turned down the studio's plans for a fifth movie in the hit action franchise.
Stahelski's latest gun-fu epic is in theaters now, as Keanu Reeves' now-iconic assassin, John Wick, seemingly came to his untimely end.
While the world of John Wick is set to expand with a streaming prequel coming later this year in The Continental and the Ana de Armas-led Ballerina spin-off film set for release in 2024, it remains unknown if the mainline Wick films will go forward after 4.
Stahelski remained adamant that John Wick is "done for the moment" but also mentioned that has been the case following every John Wick film so far.
Chad Stahelski Turned Down John Wick 5
Speaking in a new interview with ScreenRant, John Wick: Chapter 4 director Chad Stahelski revealed why he turned down Lionsgate's plan for John Wick 5.
After the mention of the studio's initial idea to shoot both Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 back-to-back, Stahelski remarked that "the dauntingness of that at first [was] a little intimidating" and one of the main reasons he was against the proposal:
"Oh God, to be honest with you, I don’t know. And I think… yeah, not to cause any weird clickbait or anything like that, the studio first came to us and go, ‘Look, we would like to explore the option of doing four and five together.’ And the dauntingness of that at first is a little intimidating and a little bit like, ‘Well, what were you thinking? "
He did make clear how "flattering" it was to have the studio want even more Wick, but it was not something he was super interested in:
"But, it’s also incredibly flattering when… in an industry where everyone’s trying to get something made, and you’re trying to get your wacky ideas made, and somebody to listen, and [get] given a shot, to have people come to you and go, ‘Please make more of what you do.’ I can’t thank Lionsgate enough for just even presenting that opportunity."
The filmmaker noted that he has been a part of "projects that have done two films together," and "creatively," he "[doesn’t] know how to get my head around that:"
"I just felt, as a director, I’ve been a part of projects that have done two films together at once and it just… I can’t think of one that was… at least for me, I don’t know how I would do it. It just, creatively, I don’t know how to get my head around that."
Repeating a sentiment he shared before, Stahelski said that the best part of the Wick films was "[taking] two years off to go live, and get better:"
"I think the greatest part is after each John Wick is I took two years off to go live, and get better, and do everything that we were just talking about, to travel, to read more, to get better. I don’t know how to do a movie back-to-back and get better for the second one, because they’ll be released a year apart, right?"
He added that if he were to film back-to-back, how do these two films have their own identity:
"So what you do is you’d see John Wick 4, and John Wick 4 Part B. Same camera, same colors, same action, same style of choreography, same story lines, I had no time to to be influenced by life and bring life back in. So I just thought it was kind of a cheat."
The director mentioned that, right now, he has "ideas, fragments of stuff" for a fifth John Wick film but "[thinks he needs] a little time to breathe" before jumping back into another:
"Again, super grateful for that opportunity and if it does come to fruition sometime in the future, I don’t know what John Wick 5 is right now, I may have thoughts, we have ideas, fragments of stuff, but I think I need a little time to breathe and see how this one does… All I see when I watch are my mistakes, and shortcomings, and like ‘Ah, could have, would have, should have."
Will John Wick 5 Happen?
While Chad Stahelski and John Wick star Keanu Reeves have been clear this "time to breathe" is part of the process for the franchise, things feel a little different coming out of Chapter 4.
The team has seemingly killed off its main character before. So that throws a completely new narrative wrinkle for Stahelski to grapple with when he starts pondering what he could do with the series next.
It has been made clear that Reeves' gun-slinging assassin will be seen and heard from again, having a "small part to play in" the upcoming Ballerina spin-off film, but beyond that, nothing has been confirmed.
If the team were to leave Mr. Wick where they did at the end of Chapter 4, it would make a lot of sense. The ending of the fourth film had a feeling of finality to it. And there are plenty of potential stories to tell centered on any number of characters from this colorful cast.
However, as has been made clear throughout the films, John Wick is unrelenting, and just when one thinks he is gone, he is back, standing at their door with katana and pistol in hand.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is playing in theaters worldwide now.