Spoiler alert! The following post discusses important plot points and the ending of “John Wick: Chapter 4” so beware if you haven’t seen it yet.
In “John Wick: Chapter 4” (in theaters now), Keanu Reeves’ hard-luck ex-hitman saves his best shot for last and finally gains his freedom from the shadowy High Table. But it’s not without sacrifice as the last mention of our antihero is on a tombstone. But is he really six feet under?
Here’s what that seemingly fatal ending and an intriguing post-credits scene tell us about where the “Wick”-verse might go next.
How does ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ end?
The Marquis (Bill Skarsgård), a powerful emissary for the High Table based in Paris, is in charge of taking out John Wick, whose actions have made him excommunicado from the global criminal organization. With a multimillion-dollar bounty on his head, Wick challenges the Marquis to a duel to the death at the Trocadero where if he wins, he gains his freedom. The Marquis taps his second, Wick’s blind but dangerous friend Caine (Donnie Yen), to do his dirty work, and Wick and Caine take turns wounding each other until Caine’s last shot in Wick’s gut puts him on the ground.
The Marquis steps in, wanting to put a final bullet into Wick, but it turns out Wick didn’t fire his gun for that last round – giving him one last shot via High Table rules – and he shoots the Marquis in the head. Caine and Winston (Ian McShane) tend to the wounded Wick but he’s last seen slumped over, apparently dead.
OK, but is Keanu Reeves' John Wick really dead?
The final scene shows Winston and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) back in New York visiting Wick's grave with his pit bull: John is buried by his wife Helen, with a headstone that reads “Beloved husband” (per Wick’s wishes). At one point, however, as Winston and the King are paying their last respects – rather ambiguously, we might add – the canine’s head perks up as he appears to hear something. Or someone.
Was it a random squirrel, or might the dog have noticed Wick watching this moment from afar, still alive? Fans will have to wait to see: Although a fifth chapter was announced in 2020, director Chad Stahelski recently told The Hollywood Reporter that he and Reeves "are done for the moment." Which is why it's likely a good thing the “Wick” world is expanding beyond its main man, with a prequel series (“The Continental”) in development plus the spinoff film “Ballerina” starring Ana de Armas. Perhaps Reeves pops up in that, but it’s a safe bet we’ll see John Wick again somewhere down the line.
What’s important about the ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ end-credits scene?
The Marquis is able to turn Caine against Wick using his daughter as leverage, since Caine working for the High Table is the one thing keeping her from being killed. Wick’s win in the final duel also frees Caine from his service, and Caine is seen in the end-credits scene walking toward his daughter to give her flowers. Another woman, however, is seen walking toward him: Akira (Rina Sawayama) worked for Osaka Continental manager Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada) – aka her father – as his right-hand concierge and, after an earlier fight alongside Wick, vowed revenge on Caine for killing her dad.
As Akira approaches Caine, she takes out a knife as the scene cuts to black, leaving fans with one more bit of vengeful drama to look forward to in “John Wick: Chapter 5.”
Read more on all things Keanu:
'John Wick: Chapter 4' review: There's still plenty to love about Keanu Reeves' hard-luck hitman
Party on, old dudes? Alex Winter, Keanu Reeves tackle middle age in 'Bill & Ted Face the Music'
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'John Wick 4' ending explained: What happens to Keanu Reeves' hitman?