The Real Reason John Wick 2 Ended With A Cliffhanger

Keanu Reeves John Wick Chapter 2 Poster

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for John Wick: Chapter 2. If you have not yet seen the movie, please bookmark this page and return after you do!

At the end of John Wick: Chapter 2, the titular hero (Keanu Reeves) finds himself in a bit of a predicament. In an act of rage, he broke Continental rules and killed Santino D'Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), and as a result finds himself the target of every single assassin in the world. It obviously works as a perfect set-up for John Wick: Chapter 3, which is now in development -- but that wasn't the real reason the ending played out as it did. Instead, as director Chad Stahelski recently explained to me, it was more about the filmmaker's personal affection for "messy endings." Said Stahelski,

I like messy endings. Like Shane. People are still arguing about whether he's alive or dead. We wanted to do the same thing with John Wick. I looked at John Wick 2 like, 'Okay, this is the last time I'll ever direct, so is this going to be satisfying?' [laughs] And you're like, 'Yeah, I'd be happy with that. He ran away, he's on the hunt, the world's after him. And that's good! So if people 20 years from now come back to it, 'Oh yeah, that's cool -- they should do a number three.' And they'd be happy too.

John Wick: Chapter 2 was made because 2014's John Wick was a hit with critics and quickly gained a cult following -- but it seems at no point was John Wick: Chapter 3 a guarantee. That in mind, Chad Stahelski and writer Derek Kolstad were still fully game to let their first sequel end with a massive cliffhanger and the eponymous hero's fate unknown. Of course, because John Wick: Chapter 2 was a box office smash hit, making $166 million worldwide, a third film is now on the way.

I had the opportunity to discuss the ending of John Wick: Chapter 2 with Chad Stahelski at the home video press day for the movie late last month in Los Angeles, and how it will ultimately impact the future of the franchise. Beyond his love for messy endings, the director also told me that the last moment of the film lends perfectly to his philosophy regarding the John Wick timeline -- which is to say that he likes the idea of all of the separate features telling a full story together. Said the filmmaker,

We wanted to treat John Wick: Chapter 2... I always said if we're going to do a trilogy we'll do it as chapters, not 'movies.' I just want it to go one movie to the next movie -- so if you watch them all, they all happen in like 48 hours. They should be somewhat clean. So we wanted to kind of do it like that.

Of course, when I followed up to confirm that John Wick: Chapter 3 will be set in the immediate aftermath of John Wick: Chapter 2, Chad Stahelski slyly told me,

You'll know in a year!

Fans will have the opportunity to enjoy the thrill that is John Wick: Chapter 2 over and over again this week, as the film is dropping on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow, June 13th. Go out and get yourself a copy, and look out for more on CinemaBlend from my interview with Chad Stahelski!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.