Why did Keanu Reeves want his character dead in John Wick 4? Exploring the reason behind his decision

Keanu Reeves in and as John Wick in John Wick 4. (Photos via IMDb)
Keanu Reeves in and as John Wick in John Wick 4. (Photos via IMDb)

Keanu Reeves apparently requested the makers to “definitively” kill off his character in John Wick 4, the franchise co-producer told a media publication. For the star of the famed neo-noir franchise, executing all those death-defying stunts with such panache required a lot of physical and mental exertion, hence the request.

Basil Iwanyk, the series co-producer, acknowledged this while speaking with Collider and said that after every movie, Reeves emphasizes that he “can’t do this again.”

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The same happened while filming John Wick 4, which took the action quotient several notches higher.

All the action sequences in the film were intense for which Keanu Reeves had to learn martial arts and also how to use nunchaku, among others. Naturally, shooting for such scenes was pretty taxing for the actor, hence the plea for finality.


John Wick 4 team did pay heed to Keanu Reeves’ request, though not fully

Iwanyk spoke to Collider while promoting the now-released The Continental: From the World of John Wick, a miniseries set in the 1970s focused on Winston Scott. Accepting that shooting for all John Wick movies drained Reeves out, the producer noted that the actor was done by the time the 4th part rolled.

Collage of snippets from John Wick 4 trailer. (Photo via YouTube/Sportskeeda)
Collage of snippets from John Wick 4 trailer. (Photo via YouTube/Sportskeeda)

He said:

“After the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th movie, making these films is so exhausting and it destroys Keanu, physically and emotionally…By the end, he’s always like, 'I can’t do this again,' and we agree with him.”

Describing the star assassination portrayer as a guy who is “just a shell of himself,” Iwanyk added that Reeves, despite complaining, went ahead and created magic with the shot.

But in John Wick 4, he pleaded that his character “be definitively killed (off) at the end.” However, the team negotiated with him and settled for a “10% little opening,” indicating the presence of Wick in the forthcoming projects.

Iwanyk added:

“The guy is just a shell of himself because he just goes off and goes for it. He was like, 'I wanna be definitively killed at the end of this movie.' We were like, 'You know, we’ll leave a 10% little opening.'”

To recall, in the viscerally satisfying climax of John Wick 4, Wick was shown to be almost fatally wounded after he killed Marquis Vincent Bisset de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård) in the duel at Sacré-Cœur.

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Later, his grave was shown with Winston and the Bowery King paying him tributes. But that can be just Wick’s ploy for the world so that he can finally be at peace.


How much of Wick will see going ahead?

It is no surprise that Reeves will reprise his role as Wick because Lionsgate has already given the go-ahead for John Wick 5 due to the huge box office success of John Wick 4. But will Wick be seen in the series?

Back in 2017 when The Continental: From the World of John Wick was announced, there was a possibility, but six years later, there are nil chances of that happening.

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The basic logic is the timeline. The Peacock series is set 30 to 40 years before the events in John Wick, so the character will be in his teens, and at the time, he surely didn’t dream of being the asset killer that he eventually becomes.

However, Wick will be seen in the spin-off Ballerina. Set in between the 3rd and 4th installments, the action thriller stars Ana de Armas and is set for a June 7, 2024 premiere.

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Edited by Divya Singh
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