In 2014, John Wick surprised critics and action fans alike by smashing on to the scene and swiftly proving itself to be far from the average, boilerplate action movie. John Wick Chapter 2 was released earlier this year and continued to work within the thrilling vein that the first film established. The franchise is continually praised for its refreshing take on certain genre tropes, thrilling fight choreography, and the consistently impressive performance from Keanu Reeves, who plays the titular assassin out for a bloody streak of revenge in both films.
IndieWire recently reported that director of both John Wick films, Chad Stahelski, has confirmed that a prequel television series to the franchise is in the works at Lionsgate. The series is currently titled The Continental, named after a chain of hotels that plays an important role in the John Wick universe. Plans for the television series were actually in place even before the sequel film, which focused on services the hotel chain serves for worldwide assassins, providing access to resources and safe rest from their work. Since the success of the sequel film, Lionsgate has pressed forward with its progress on The Continental.
Stahelski stated he wants the series to explore the “cool, Wick-ian, magical world” of the hotels, going on to detail how a television show provides a freeing opportunity for storytelling. The director explained that “[you can] expand to all the different characters and follow them throughout their journey. [You can] be with all these different characters and walk through the world in different aspects; ones that I’m a little limited [from exploring] by staying with my lead guy.”
While Stahelski will not serve as showrunner (that role has gone to an undisclosed person) due to the fact that he is currently writing the third installment of John Wick and plans to begin shooting early next year, he emphasized that he still very much plans on being involved in the series. “Currently, I’d like to stay involved throughout the development stage and hopefully direct a couple of episodes,” the director said. Stahelski went on to confirm that there is a possibility of a Keanu Reeves cameo. “I think he would make an appearance,” Stahelski said. “I think that’s part of his thing, [But the series] isn’t centered around John Wick.”
Though Stahelski has no experience working in television, he described his excitement at being given the chance to work within the action genre on the small screen. Game of Thrones’ Season 6 “Battle of the Bastards” episode set a new standard for action television, said Stahelski – and he hopes The Continental can do the same. “Granted, they’re the biggest budgeted show on TV right now, but could we do something interesting with ‘John Wick’ with what we have? Yeah,” Stahelski said. “I’d like to give it a go and prove to the TV world that you can have feature action on a TV show. It would be a nice little feather in my cap, sure.”