John Wick endured a lot of punishment over the course of four movies, and by the end of John Wick: Chapter 4, it seemed like he’d finally drawn his last breath. In the final minutes of the 2023 movie release, allies Winston and The Bowery King were seen standing in front of the assassin’s grave, although with the prospect of John Wick: Chapter 5 still on the table, it remains to be seen whether or not he’s actually dead. Nevertheless, going into Chapter 4, Keanu Reeves was insistent that he wanted his character to be “definitely killed” for a specific reason.
John Wick franchise producer Basil Iwanyk opened up about Reeves’ request while speaking with Collider, explaining that both the physical and emotional demands that come with the role were becoming too much for the actor. In Iwanyk’s words:
After the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th movie, making these films is so exhausting and it destroys Keanu, physically and emotionally. By the end, he’s always like, 'I can’t do this again,' and we agree with him. The guy is just a shell of himself because he just goes off and goes for it. He was like, 'I wanna be definitively killed at the end of this movie.' We were like, 'You know, we’ll leave a 10% little opening.'
It certainly appears like Keanu Reeves’ wish was granted when one’s finished watching John Wick: Chapter 4, as he appeared to be fatally wounded from his duel with Donnie Yen’s Caine, which then led to the aforementioned grave scene. But even ignoring that, one can’t fault Reeves for wanting to push John Wick to the side. With the first movie having shot in October 2013, he’s been playing the title character for a decade now, and at 59 years old, it’s no doubt harder for him to effectively play this role than when he was on the cusp of 50. So there’s certainly a scenario where Chapter 4 is indeed the end of the assassin’s arc.
However, there’s also been quite a bit said about John Wick: Chapter 5 in recent months. Shortly after Chapter 4’s release, Lionsgate chairman Joe Drake mentioned that Chapter 5 was in development, and considering that the fourth movie is the franchise’s highest-grossing entry with a $432.2. million haul, the studio would undoubtedly welcome a fifth movie even more. Additionally, director Chad Stahelski said in late August that while he and Reeves are open to the possibility of Chapter 5, they’re focusing on other projects for the foreseeable future.
It’s also worth mentioning that whether John Wick: Chapter 5 happens or not, Chapter 4 won’t be the last time we see Keanu Reeves playing John Wick. He’s reprising the role in next year’s Ballerina spinoff, which stars Ana De Armas and is set between Chapter 3 and Chapter 4. After that though, it remains to be seen if John Wick remains deceased or if events will play out that lead to the revelation that his death was faked so that he can jump back into action for Chapter 5. Other familiar faces in the Ballerina cast include Ian McShane, Anjelica Huston and the late Lance Reddick, as well as newcomers Norman Reed’s, Gabriel Byrne and Catalina Sandino Moreno.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is now available to stream on Starz, which you can easily add on to your Hulu subscription. Don’t forget that the prequel spinoff show The Continental also premieres to Peacock subscribers this Friday, September 22.