'John Wick: Chapter 4' director on saying 'f**k it' to the formula and trying something new

Last time we saw John Wick (Keanu Reeves), he was battered and bruised — having just fallen several stories off the Continental roof — and ready to strike up a partnership with The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne). Despite Mr. Wick's uncanny talent for staying alive in a world of assassins who want him dead, even he doesn't have the magical ability to mend broken bones and internal bleeding overnight.

Speaking with Empire for the magazine's January 2023 issue (now on sale), returning director Chad Stahelski revealed that "a little time has passed between" the third and fourth installments. "Enough time for John to stitch some bones back together and heal."

With the lucrative franchise creeping up on the 10-year mark, Stahelski doesn't want it to fall into predictable patterns. "It gets a little scary after the third one, because we now have a formula that works," he explained. "But you have to throw caution to the wind and say, 'F*** it, we're not doing that again.' So now, on number four, we have multiple storylines. The movie feels different. It feels more epic."

In terms of story, John Wick: Chapter 4 (out in late March 2023) finds the titular character working to defeat the High Table once and for all. But before he can do that, he must face off with a brand-new enemy with sinister connections all around the world. "I don't think we have one antagonist in this film, we have many," Stahelski added. "We've given the High Table a little more of a face."

What's more: this project gave the filmmaker a chance to realize two action set pieces he always wanted to do, but wasn't quite sure how to pull off successfully. He refused to give up any specifics, but teased it as a mixture of The Good, The Bad And The UglyZatoichi; and something out of a Greek myth. Even if you did manage to somehow cross-pollinate those things, however, it wouldn't fully encapsulate what Chapter 4 has in store for audiences. "Now you know why I like doing John Wick films," the director concluded.

Co-written by Shay Hatten (Army of the Dead) and Michael Finch (Predators), the film also stars Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Laurence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Shamier Anderson, Lance Reddick, Rina Sawayama, and Scott Adkins. Reeves serves as an executive producer alongside Louise Rosner, David Leitch, and Michael Paseornek. Stahelski is a producer with Basil Iwanyk and Erica Lee.

John Wick: Chapter 4 rides into theaters everywhere March 24, 2023. Ballerinaa spinoff project with Reeves, McShane, and Ana de Armas, recently kicked off production in Prague. And soon, Peacock will become the home of the John Wick Extended Universe with The Continental, a prequel series about a young Winston (played in the blockbuster films by McShane).

Want to get your adrenaline pumping? The Fast and the Furious is currently streaming on Peacock.

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