John Wick: Chapter 4 should be the end of the series

John Wick: Chapter 4 has been a massive success at the box office, recording the biggest-ever debut for the series, which has inevitably led to discussion of John Wick 5 happening in the near future.

"There's a will and there's an openness," Lionsgate boss Joe Drake told The Hollywood Reporter. "We're all going to take a tiny rest here and then scratch at ideas about whether there's a credible way to get into five. But there's no guarantee."

It makes total sense that talk has turned to a fifth movie after the incredible opening weekend. What's more, we had originally expected John Wick 5 to be filmed back-to-back with the fourth movie, so even though that didn't happen, it was always a possibility that Wick could return.

The question now is whether, after the surprise ending to John Wick: Chapter 4, Keanu Reeves should return as the formerly-retired hitman. And for our money, as much as we love Keanu in the role, we think that Chapter 4 should be the end.

To explain why though, we have to go into some major spoilers, so don't read on if you haven't seen the new movie yet.

keanu reeves, john wick 4

It's hard to ignore the elephant in the room when it comes to talk about a potential John Wick 5. The ending of Chapter 4 saw John Wick seemingly die following his duel with Caine (Donnie Yen) that left him fatally wounded.

As we noted at the time, there is some ambiguity surrounding Wick's death. We never see his body as the movie cuts from Wick slumping over to Winston (Ian McShane) and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) at Wick's grave.

Even Wick's dog doesn't believe his owner is gone as you see the puppy looking around, a hangover from a different version of the scene that had more ambiguity. "There was a different way to do [the funeral scene], and we wanted it to be a little bit more mysterious," director Chad Stahelski previously said.

Talking to IndieWire, producer Basil Iwanyck noted that he doesn't think the ending "boxed ourselves into any corner": "There are two characters, really. There's John Wick, and John, the civilian. The question for all of us is, OK, if the audience embraces the story and the box office works, is there another story to be told?"

Essentially, if the fifth movie does happen, then there will likely be a retcon that Wick isn't actually dead, he just 'killed off' that element of his life. But that will rob Chapter 4 of the emotional climax it delivered to the four John Wick movies to date.

keanu reeves, john wick 4

For one, Wick's death makes thematic sense. The fourth movie includes discussion of having a "good death", which Wick believes is beyond him given that he hasn't lived a "good life", but the events of the movie lead to a pretty good death all things considered.

In his final hours, Wick not only saves the mysterious Tracker's (Shamier Anderson) dog, he only spares the life of his former friend Caine and avenges the murder of Charon (Lance Reddick) by killing the Marquis (Bill Skarsgård). Killing the Marquis also secures Winston's future and frees Caine from the High Table (although Akira might be on the horizon).

For a man who has killed a lot of people, it's a good way to go out. Wick never wanted to be back in this world and since he's been back in it, it's been a constant battle for him to get out of it. Yes, death is a pretty permanent exit, but at least he might be reunited with his wife.

If it turns out that Wick (likely with Winston's help) faked his death, then a fifth movie would have to find a way to get him back into this world. We'd absolutely watch a movie of Wick living a quiet civilian life, but that isn't going to happen if Chapter 5 is confirmed.

Talking to Digital Spy ahead of Chapter 4's release, Reeves spoke about how the John Wick movies "don't cheat the audience". "We respect the audience," he added, and we can't help feeling that if Wick has just faked his death, that would feel like a cheat.

keanu reeves, john wick 4

"Let's just say John Wick has found a way to be at peace," Stahelski told EW of the ending, which was the "first thing" they decided on.

"What's the only way John could have gotten out? He's got to make everyone think he's dead, or he has to be dead, or he has to kill off a part of his persona. However you want to take that, that's cool with us. But it feels satisfying to me, at least, and to Keanu.

"We've come full circle, and that feels like a satisfying ending. How you interpret it, I'll leave it to you guys."

Fans might not want Wick to be dead, but series can't (and shouldn't) go on forever. There's nothing wrong with going out on a high and with various spin-offs, including Ballerina, on the way, it's not like this rich world would end.

It can live on in various ways so there's no need for Wick to live on too.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is out now in cinemas.

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