How much more pulse-pounding, gun fu-fighting action can fans of the John Wick franchise expect to get? If star Keanu Reeves has anything to say about it, as much as they want.
In an interview with GQ, lead actor Reeves revealed that he plans to play the dog-loving ace assassin John Wick for as long as audiences plan to keep buying tickets. Asked how long he intends to stick with the franchise, Reeves said,
"As far as my legs can take me. As far as the audience wants to go."
That was a small tidbit pulled from a huge GQ profile on Reeves from 2019, so small, even, that some fans are only now picking up on what the actor said.
OK! Magazine recently ran a short interview piece with Reeves in conjunction with the August 28, 2020 release of his newest movie Bill & Ted Face the Music, and in it, the outlet included that pull-quote from Reeves' lengthy sit-down with GQ.
Reeves has a point: John Wick never goes out of style.
While it's fun being an action star and portraying one of the biggest badasses on the planet, for Reeves, the most interesting part about playing John Wick is the duality of the character. He seems especially intrigued about how all of John's efforts to settle into a nice, normal life are thwarted by those who know just how good he is at violence.
The actor explained to GQ,
"He's got this beautiful, tragic conundrum, these two selves. The John who was married, and John Wick, the assassin. John wants to be free. But the only way he knows how is through John Wick. And John Wick keeps f---ing killing people and breaking rules. We're really watching a person fight for their life and their soul."
It's an assessment of the character that perhaps only Reeves would have made. But, of course, if Wick were simply a soulless killing machine, it's doubtful that Reeves would have had any interest in playing him in the first place. It probably also helped that the franchise was co-created by Chad Stahleski, a former stunt performer who doubled for Reeves in all three Matrix films, and with whom the star has been friends ever since. The pair have forged a synergistic, collaborative relationship on the John Wick movies, Reeves even turned in a script polish on the first one, and the star is clearly in no hurry to bail on such a partnership.
Reeves' comments to GQ had to be music to the ears of the executives at studio Lionsgate, as the film franchise has earned steadily increasing returns.
While the first film in 2014 managed only $76 million at the worldwide box office, 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2 more than doubled that total with a $171 million global take. Then, 2019's John Wick: Chapter 3, Parabellum kept the ball rolling by nearly doubling that total, cleaning up at the worldwide box office to the tune of $325 million. It's no surprise, then, that Lionsgate has more John Wick goodness in the works.
In August 2020, it was reported that the studio's CEO John Feltheimer dropped a bombshell while on an earnings call with investors. While a fourth installment in the franchise had previously been announced back in May 2019, Feltheimer confirmed that John Wick 4 wasn't the extent of Lionsgate's immediate plans for the franchise. According to Deadline, Feltheimer said,
"We're...busy preparing scripts for the next two installments of our John Wick action franchise, with John Wick 4 slated to hit theaters Memorial Day weekend 2022. We hope to shoot both John Wick 4 and 5 back-to-back when Keanu becomes available early next year."
That would be a pretty huge undertaking, but it wouldn't be Reeves' first rodeo in that respect. The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions were also shot back-to-back, and those productions were quite a bit larger in scale than the Wick movies.
Even if the franchise doesn't continue on after the upcoming one-two punch of John Wick 4 and 5, action fans could hardly ask for a more satisfying series than the one they've gotten with the first three films alone.
Eventually, though, all good things must come to an end, and when we inevitably arrive at the last scene in the John Wick franchise, Reeves has a pretty good vision of how he wants it to look. Sure, it might make a certain amount of sense to have a violent, tragic figure like Wick go out in a heroic hail of bullets, but Reeves has other ideas.
Speaking with ScreenRant last year, the star expressed his desire for Wick to get the neat ending that he feels the character deserves, saying,
"What would I prefer? I want John to be happy. So, let's have him walk out [into] the sunset because he's...fighting for his life. So if there's a battle to be won, it's his life. So that he can remember the love, and for [his deceased wife] Helen...[Wick should] walk off into the sunset." Watch the video to learn How Long Keanu Reeves Said He'll Play John Wick For!
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