John Wick: Chapter 4 director and franchise creator Chad Stahelski explains why he hopes to take a break from the series before working on the next installment. Stahelski began his career in Hollywood as a stuntman before teaming up with star Keanu Reeves on 2014’s John Wick. Stahelski would co-direct the film alongside David Leitch, before solely helming the following three sequels after John Wick was a surprise critical and financial success.
In an interview with /Film, Stahelski opens up about the future of the action franchise ahead of John Wick: Chapter 4‘s theatrical release, where he shares that he feels he should take a break from the franchise before continuing Wick’s story. At the same time, the director has indicated he might not direct a John Wick 5, saying, “I’m always saying, ‘This is my last one, this will never happen again.’ And I’ll say that now: This is my last one.” As for why he feels a break is necessary, Stahelski says:
I tried to get better as a storyteller in this one, but I’d be the same guy jumping back into the next one. I’ve got to get better. Keanu’s out there every day getting better — he’s acting, he’s trying new projects. I’ve got to sit in a room and go, ‘Okay, how do I get better as a director?’ I don’t have the same choices. I can’t just direct, direct, direct. I’d have no time to expand. I just think I’d get s***tier and s***tier. I just think, in loyalty to the franchise, I need to get a hell of a lot better before I try to find [another story]. Because otherwise, if you’re not going to get better, if you’re not going to do something different, if you’re not going to try to expand and be artistically better, that’s kind of lame just to do it for a paycheck.
What Is Next For Stahelski And The John Wick Franchise
While Stahelski hopes to step away from John Wick’s reluctant journey through the criminal underworld, the franchise is set to expand with the Ana de Armas-led spin-off, Ballerina. Set between John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and John Wick: Chapter 4, Ballerina explores the story of de Armas’ Rooney, who embarks on her own quest for revenge against her family’s killers. While de Armas is taking over the role from Unity Phelan, Reeves, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, and Anjelica Huston are all set to reprise their roles from previous installments in the franchise.
Following his work on John Wick: Chapter 4 and the other chapters of the franchise, Stahelski is set to apply his directing talents to new worlds beyond the high-stakes gunplay of Reeves’ master assassin. In 2021, Stahelski signed on to develop a film adaptation of Ghosts of Tsushima, the hit 2020 PlayStation video game where a samurai defends the isle of Tsushima during the first Mongol invasion of Japan. The director is also expected to develop a reboot of the Highlander franchise, with Stahelski stating that he envisioned his take on the battle between immortals being a trilogy of films.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is one of 2023’s most highly anticipated releases. As such, while there may be disappointment about a potential break between installments, it is clear Stahelski’s reasons could be beneficial for future films. Additionally, with the director’s future projects trading firearms for swordplay, the lessons that Stahelski learns with Ghosts of Tsushima and Highlander could allow for more riveting fights in future films.
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