In four movies released over the course of nine years, the John Wick franchise unfolded one of the greatest action series we have ever seen hit the big screen. With the skills of director Chad Stahelski, star Keanu Reeves, and a whole bunch of talented stunt performers and filmmakers on full display, the movies deliver everything that any genre fan could want – including a satisfying ending with John Wick: Chapter 4. It’s been an epic ride, but there is still always a question that persists with studio-made franchise films: have we seen the best version of each chapter? Could we ever see Director’s Cuts John Wick and its three sequels?
The latter is a query I posed to Chad Stahelski earlier this year prior to the theatrical release of John Wick: Chapter 4 – and with the blockbuster soon to hit the home video market, it’s a subject as relevant as ever. In response, the filmmaker explained that there are what could be called expanded cuts that he keeps for his own personal enjoyment, but he credits his relationship with Lionsgate for being the reason why John Wick Director’s Cuts likely won’t be a thing. Said Stahelski,
I think what we release is the best version. There's other things I'd like to put in, and I have that version. I have it on my computer, so I can always watch it. But I think for the audience enjoyment and me as a fan as well, I think this is... I'm very fortunate with the relationships and it wasn't always the smoothest, and it never should be, really, between the studio and us. But I have a studio that actually believes in it now, and they've been pretty good. They push back like they should, and that helps me get better.
One can imagine that there has never been a single movie made in the history of Hollywood that didn’t feature at least some conflict between the filmmakers and the studio; after all, they are generally two parties with different aims: the former wants to make the film possible, and the latter wants to make the most profitable film possible. For example, Chad Stahelski has said that there were F-bombs dropped when the vision for John Wick: Chapter 4’s ending was explained with the death of Keanu Reeves’ titular character. Things got emotional, but Stahelski and Reeves were ultimately able to tell the story they wanted to tell.
Obstacles can influence creativity, and the John Wick series director feels that by the end of making each of the chapters in the franchise, everyone has been happy. As such, he feels that what exists as John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and John Wick: Chapter 4 are the final cuts:
I think when everybody agrees to it and they're laughing, I'm laughing, the audience is laughing, I think you kind of hit it, ok? So I guess in answer to your question, being a fanboy and a director, I would just say, yeah, this is probably the best version and I'm proud of it.
John Wick: Chapter 4, the second best film in the John Wick franchise, is already available to rent and purchase digitally, but physical media collectors will be able to pick up copies of the film on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD when they hit store shelves next Tuesday, June 13.