Warning: FULL SPOILERS for the ending of John Wick: Chapter 4 follow!
John Wick: Chapter 4 got off to a terrific start at the box office this past weekend, bringing in more than $73 million – a new record for the franchise — along with great reviews and audience scores.
With already-filmed spinoffs coming both to TV (The Continental) and movie theaters (Ballerina) in the near future, the John Wick franchise is bigger than ever… even if it’s not quite clear if the central movies can or will continue, given how Chapter 4 concluded.
The Man in the Suit
Yes, John Wick died at the end of Chapter 4. We think. Probably. But maybe not quite in the way it looks?
The end of the film had John (Keanu Reeves) collapse after being shot by his old friend, Caine (Donnie Yen), during their duel – after one hell of a night of mayhem – moments after John asked Winston (Ian McShane) to take him back home. And in the final scene, Winston and The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) visit John Wick’s grave, located next to his wife, Helen.
It sure seems final, even though there is a bit of ambiguity still, to be sure. Was John’s collapse really his moment of death? Is a body actually in that grave?
When Fandom asked Keanu Reeves if we should leave the theater thinking John Wick has left this mortal coil, the actor replied, “I feel like he has. But we also wanted to not be Debbie Downer and we wanted to have some kind of hope [at the end], because that’s John Wick. You know, he fights, he gets knocked down, and he comes back.”
Added Reeves, “There is some wiggle room. But when I made the film, I felt like he was coming to peace.”
Goodbye, John Wick. Hello… TBD?
Commenting on the hints of ambiguity about the ending, director Chad Stahelski remarked, “I guess that’s kind of the cool thing, right? You can think what you want. We leave it open ended. You can tell I have a fetish with reflections. It’s always about duality and there’s always a reflection in every shot kind of thing.”
When it comes to reflections, both Reeves and Stalheski made it clear they felt “John Wick” was specifically the persona John used when he went to work in his own bloody manner. As Reeves told Fandom, “I feel like there’s John the man, the husband. And then there’s John Wick the assassin.” This of course brings to mind the possibility that this movie was indeed showing us the death of John Wick, from a certain point of view, but that John himself might live on.
Said Stalheski, “There’s John [and] there’s John Wick. So who died? Who lived? You know, I leave that for the audience…”
When I mentioned to Stahelski that we know from the series that John Wick wasn’t his original name, it was Jardani Jovonovich, he replied, “Exactly. So I think that’s great too. The biggest compliment you get is when you develop a franchise that people can add their own input into. The audience is supposed to take it over. ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if… ninjas!? It’d be cool if this! It would be cool if we had Gurkhas in there!’’ What’s your version of it? Go spin and riff with it, you know? That’s the magic.”