John Wick was something of a surprise hit when it first arrived on the scene, but with one successful sequel under its belt and another on the way, it looks like the studio behind the series may have found another way to build the franchise. A bidding war for a new script was just won by Lionsgate and they see potential in using the film, Ballerina, as a way to expand the John Wick universe.
Ballerina is written by a new up and coming screenwriter named Shay Hatten who currently works as an assistant writer for Robert Downey Jr. Production company. The plot focuses on a young girl who is raised to be an assassin and hunts down the other assassins who are responsible for killing her family. It's being compared to La Femme Nikita, but The Hollywood Reporter is calling it "more pulpy and hyper-stylized." A hyper stylized world full of assassins hunting each other down? Yeah, it's not surprising somebody saw this as a potential companion piece to John Wick.
Apparently, the reason Lionsgate was interested in the script, they beat out Universal and Warner Bros. who were both also interested, was specifically because they saw in it potential to grow the John Wick franchise. As ideas go, this isn't the worst one we've heard. One of the things that made the John Wick movies so interesting was the idea of an intricate and organized underworld that existed just under the surface that went apparently unnoticed by those that weren't part of it. Clearly, that world is full of interesting characters and stories so setting a new story in that world could certainly work.
Since Lionsgate just picked up the script it's obviously too early to know exactly what they're going to do with it. There is a third John Wick film currently in the earliest stages of development. Whether they would find a place to introduce the lead character of Ballerina in that movie before setting her off on her solo adventure is unclear, but it would make sense. It makes the job of marketing the movie as part of the John Wick franchise that much easier to do.
Of course, now that the idea of John Wick as a franchise or a "cinematic universe" is out there, we have to wonder what could come next. While John Wick: Chapter 2 was clearly designed to setup a sequel, it would now appear that the studio is looking at for a lot more than simply one more John Wick movie. Why make one more movie, when you can make several, of course.
Still, the John Wick movies have been great and if they can stay that way we'll take as many more of them as we can get.