John Wick: Chapter 4 — the fourth entry in the neo-noir action franchise — was its most ambitious outing yet, with Keanu Reeves again taking the lead under the direction of Chad Stahelski. Studio Lionsgate is laughing all the way to the bank too with the fourth outing earning a massive $432 million (£368.8 million) worldwide and becoming the seventh highest-grossing movie of 2023 so far.
As Wick tries to get out from underneath the High Table, the tease of one last job hinted that Chapter 4 would settle Wick’s debts or see him buried in his sharpest suit. Stahelski definitely delivered a potential end to the story, but with John Wick: Chapter 4 breaking records, one question remains.
Read more: Critics praise 'epic' John Wick: Chapter 4
Is this the end of the road for Jardani Jovanovich or is there one more round in the magazine for John Wick: Chapter 5?
Warning: major spoilers for John Wick: Chapter 4 ahead
What happens at the end of John Wick: Chapter 4?
Having survived his fakeout death at the end of 2019’s John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and then taking out the Elder (George Georgiou), Wick was once again in the crosshairs of the High Table. Spurred on by Winston (Ian McShane) to avenge the death of Charon (Lance Reddick), Wick challenged the Marquis Vincent de Gramont, (Bill Skarsgård) to an old-school duel at Paris’ Sacré-Cœur.
The Marquis selected blind assassin Caine (Donnie Yen) as his champion, and despite the former’s best attempts to kill Wick before the duel, it's pistols at dawn. Although it looks like Wick is bested, he pulls a trick on the Marquis and shoots him dead. With Caine and Wick’s slate wiped clean, John succumbs to his injuries, sees a vision of his late wife, and seemingly dies.
Read more on Digital Spy: John Wick 4's alternate credit scene would have solved a big mystery (2 min read)
The final scene featuring Winston and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) at Wick’s graveside all but confirms his demise, but with Stahelski’s original plans being to film a mythical Chapter 5 back-to-back with Chapter 4, fans are rightly asking whether this is really the end of the road for Johnny boy.
For now, even those at the top might not have the answer, with co-writer Michael Finch admitting to Polygon that things were left open-ended: "What I will say is that we never actually see him dying. We see a [grave] plot. What happened in between is up for interpretation."
What do we know about John Wick: Chapter 5?
Following the success of the first three movies, John Wick: Chapter 4 was announced in 2019, while Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer later confirmed it would shoot back-to-back with Chapter 5.
Speaking to Screen Rant, Stahelski explained why he turned down Lionsgate’s hopes to shoot back-to-back, saying "I think the greatest part is that, after each John Wick, I took two years off to go live and get better; to travel, to read more, and to get better. I don't know how to do a movie back-to-back and get better for the second one."
Stahelski described it as "kind of a cheat" and shifted focus to just one movie at a time. Although this stopped the studio’s plans in their tracks, he's given hope to the idea of digging up Mr. Wick in the future.
The director warned The Hollywood Reporter, "We’re going to give John Wick a rest. I’m sure the studio has a plan. If everyone loves it and it goes kooky, then we’ll take a quiet minute.” Saying that he and Reeves will go on a tour of Japan ahead of Chapter 4’s release there in September, Stahelski concluded, “We’ll have a couple 20-year-old whiskies and write some ideas on napkins. If those ideas stick, maybe we’ll make a movie.”
Giving his thoughts to Total Film (via GamesRadar) earlier in 2023, Reeves said, “You have to see how the audience responds to what we did. The only reason we’ve had a chance to make these movies is that people have liked what we have done.
"So I think we have to wait and see how the audience responds to it. Hopefully they’ll like it.”
Given that Chapter 4 has a rarely unified critical and audience response of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s safe to say the fourquel has impressed audiences.
The most definitive answer comes from Lionsgate exec Joe Drake. The Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Chair promised Deadline, “We're not ready to say goodbye to Keanu with this franchise. It's what alternative there will be.
"There's a lot of different things that we can do… I've seen this movie five times in the last week. I can see the way that the audience moves him."
Talking to The Hollywood Reporter after the film's impressive opening weekend, Drake added about a fifth film: “There’s a will and there’s an openness. And you could certainly interpret that ending in different ways. 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.
Read more on THR: John Wick 5 back on the table after box office blowup (5 min read)
“Keanu and Chad, rightly so, are very protective about never screwing with the audience. So we certainly have our work cut out for us."
Despite these promising statements, director Stahelski appeared to throw doubt on the development of a fifth movie shortly afterwards. Speaking to Empire in June 2023, the filmmaker admitted that anything could happen regarding a part five, saying "I honestly don't know."
He continued, adding: “Lionsgate is keen on doing more John Wick stuff, understandably. It’s not a bad thing for a director to have a property that they want to make more of. I don’t have a take right now. But I could wake up tomorrow and have a cool idea that I’d pitch to Keanu, or he would pitch to me, and it might hit that chord of, ‘Oh my God, we got to do this right now.’”
That's not to say he's out of ideas. Stahelski also told the outlet “I have scenes, I have action sequences in my head that we haven’t used that I’d love to do.
“If we do come back, we can’t just do the same thing. I gotta do my homework. I gotta get better.”
Will John Wick return? Only time will tell.
How can John Wick return?
We know Reeves will be suiting up for Len Wiseman’s Ballerina. The spin-off is set between the third and fourth John Wick movies and stars Ana de Armas as an assassin called Rooney, who briefly appeared (played by another actor) in Parabellum.
Alongside the return of McShane, a posthumous Reddick, and Anjelica Huston as the Director, Reeves will appear in some capacity. With Rooney being the focus, we expect it’ll be more like Bryan Cranston reprising his role as Walter White for Better Call Saul.
There's also The Continental, a three-part prequel series that visits the infamous haunt in the 1970s. Colin Woodell plays a young Winston, with an expanded cast including the likes of Mel Gibson. There’s no word on anyone playing a young Wick, but with the surly assassin being born in 1964, it would make for a great Easter egg. Either way, more Wick-adjacent stories from other directors give Stahelski his chance to let the character “rest.”
Read more on The Wrap: Lionsgate film chief talks ‘master plan’ for John Wick (11 min read)
Most recently, producer Erica Lee announced another spin-off is on the way. Although she refused to give any details on where and when it’ll be set, Lee suggested to Collider it could be announced in the “next month or so.”
An obvious story to tell would pick up the Chapter 4 post-credit tease of Akira (Rina Sawayama) taking vengeance against Caine for the murder of Koji (Hiroyuki Sanada). This solves the problem of tying up loose plot threads while keeping Wick’s noble end intact.
It’s hard to imagine a fifth John Wick movie without the man himself, and unless he’s confined to flashbacks à la Tobin Bell in Saw, the most likely option is to give Wick another miraculous resurrection.
He didn’t exactly have a happy ending in Chapter 4, but to drag him back into the criminal underworld for the sake of churning out another movie is sure to rattle more than a few fans.
Then again, if Stahelski and co. can get anywhere near the quality of Chapter 4, most won’t care if Reeves comes back as a clone, robot, or John’s twin brother.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is available to buy or rent on digital. Watch a trailer below.