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As a sequel, John Wick: Chapter 2 does an amazing job of expanding the unique universe that was established in its predecessor -- but it also had certain duties that it needed to fulfill. Being a follow-up to a cult hit, the narrative required the use a good chunk of its first act to explain to audiences who the main characters are and what has been happening in the story. It's ultimately not harmful to the film, but it is an albatross that always hung around the project's around its neck. Fortunately, because Chapter 2 was such a big hit at the box office, fans really shouldn't be expecting any kind of rundown of that nature in the developing John Wick: Chapter 3. Director Chad Stahelski recently told me,
Two is always the tricky one. Because you don't know who has seen number one, who hasn't seen number one. Now I think because we've done well with one and two, people are vested into the John Wick world, so 3 I don't have to spend 20 minutes of the first part of number three reminding you, 'This is a guy with a dog.' We can just jump right in and have fun and truly be free to create some other expansion of the world without having to ride that line. So looking forward, we're developing 3 right now -- we have a writing team already on it. Derek Kolstad, of course. And we've been putting ideas together for the last four months.
With John Wick: Chapter 2 set to arrive on Blu-ray and DVD in the coming weeks, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Chad Stahelski during a press day in Los Angeles yesterday, and a nice portion of our conversation was dedicated towards looking ahead in the John Wick franchise. I started our talk with questions about the degree to which the series has been planned out and whether or not there is a John Wick "Bible," and Stahelski used part of his response to discuss the distinct advantage that Chapter 3 has versus Chapter 2 when it comes to expanding the world.
For what it's worth, John Wick: Chapter 2 does find a fun way to deliver its exposition. The film opens with a bang as Keanu Reeves' titular protagonist on the hunt for the 1969 Mach 1 Mustang that was stolen from him in the first movie. While Wick uses vehicles and guns to cut down enemies in his way, Peter Stormare's Abram Tarasov explains to a colleague why it's a very, very bad that his shop is currently in possession of the car. The explosion delivered in an elegant and funny way, but it's still nice that it's baggage that Chapter 3 will not have to carry.
This is most definitely a good thing, as John Wick: Chapter 3 has the potential to start off with a bang and not let up until the end credits roll. At the end of Chapter 2, Wick finds himself with a billion targets on his back because he broke the rule of the Continental, and he has only one hour to prepare for the onslaught. Because the movie won't have the pressure to slow things down to explain what's going on, it can jump straight into that action and just focus on moving forward instead of backwards.
As I learned from Chad Stahelski, John Wick: Chapter 3 is now four months into development, and the plan is to get the film rolling into production by the start of next year. Fans will be able to revisit John Wick: Chapter 2 much sooner, however, as the movie is available on DigitalHD now, and will be available on Blu-ray and DVD starting June 13th. Stay tuned for that, as well as more from my interview with the director!