John Wick is one of the most popular action movie franchises at the moment that doesn’t feature a superhero. And the filmmakers are looking to expand on the mythology of the series with a TV spinoff focusing on The Continental, the hotel for assassins introduced in the first film. Starz broadcasting company’s President and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch recently commented on the show’s release date at the Television Critics Association.
“I had a meeting on a season pitch for this yesterday. We like the group of writers, and we’re trying to get it in the right place so it doesn’t interfere with the motion picture. It will air sometime after the fourth [John Wick] movie.”
Starz is backed by Lionsgate, the distributor behind the John Wick movies. The John Wick TV series had been picked up by them in January 2018. The series is aimed at exploring the origins of The Continental hotel. In the world of John Wick, assassins are not just a disorganized group of guns-for-hire, but rather a regimented circle of highly trained and disciplined professionals, with their own currency, code words, and their own set of iron-clad rules.
Seemingly at the center of the deadly games played out by the assassins against each other stands The Continental, an imposing, upper-class hotel that provides refuge to assassins in need of assistance. No assassin is allowed to spill the blood of another while on the Hotel’s premises, and it was precisely because John Wick broke this rule that he was turned into a pariah and hunted down by every other assassin, after the manager of the hotel put out a contract on John’s head.
While the movies saw passing references to the world of professional assassins, their main focus was on John’s personal journey of vengeance. The spinoff show will allow fans to explore the circumstances that go into creating a man like John, and the part that places like The Continental play in keeping the balance between opposing sects of assassins.
It’s not just the complex mythology of John Wick that made the movies such a hit. It was the approach to the action scenes taken by director Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, both of whom had worked previously as stunt doubles on The Matrix for Keanu Reeves.
The slick, stylish action visuals drew heavily from anime and action cinema of Hong Kong, with an emphasis on real hand-to-hand combat instead of CGI effects. For a market oversaturated with Marvel and Fast and the Furious type actioners, John Wick was a breath of fresh air and a box-office rebirth of sorts for leading man Keanu Reeves.
Chris Collins is serving as both the writer and showrunner for the series, along with other important members of the original movies who have been brought on board as executive producers, including John Wick franchise screenwriter Derek Kolstad and Chad Stahelski, who is also set to direct the first episode of the show. It will be interesting to see whether the team will be able to successfully translate the spirit of the original films to the small screen.