John Wick: Chapter 3 Director Reveals Keanu Reeves Wants His Character To Suffer

Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 3

There's no question that John Wick is one of the most talented killers in all of cinema, but the first John Wick movie established that he left that life behind. Alas, to channel Michael Corleone, just when John thought he was out, they pulled him back in, and as a result, his life has gotten increasingly worse. This summer, John Wick: Chapter 3 will reunite us with Keanu Reeves' character and his struggles, but director Chad Stahelski, both he and Reeves like seeing John suffer since it mirrors the classic hero's journey. Stahelski explained:

I'm a big fan of Joseph Campbell's mythologies of the hero and what he would have defined as the theater of pain, or sometimes we call it 'The Die Hard Conundrum': We just to like to beat the (stuffing) out of our heroes. If you choose that kind of lifestyle, you're going to be pretty beat up. So we like John Wick to suffer and think Keanu loves for John Wick to suffer, too.

If Keanu Reeves and Chad Stahelski's goal is to ensure that John Wick is as miserable as possible, then mission accomplished. Still, their reasoning does make sense. It wouldn't be that interesting to watch a hero's journey unfold if the hero is having an easy and relaxing time overcoming adversity and challenges. And considering that John's world is especially violent even by R-rated movie standards, it'd be implausible for him to come out of these adventures unscathed.

In that regard, John Wick is in good company with Bruce Willis' John McClane, who's been put through the ringer across five Die Hard movies (possibly soon to be six). But physical pain is just the tip of John's iceberg of suffering. He's also been put through a lot of mental anguish, and that's definitely not subsiding anytime soon. Chad Stahelski and writer Derek Kolstad, are the ones responsible for John's existence, and if one or both of them are remain involved with the franchise, then it's a good bet that John won't be catching any breaks in the future.

Chad Stahelski also informed USA Today that John Wick: Chapter 3 will reveal more of the eponymous protagonist's origins, which involve Angelica Huston's character, who's so far known only as The Director. John Wick is also leading his own comic book series from Dynamite Entertainment, in case you're looking for extra insight into how John became the man who can easily kill people with pencils. It can be surmised that most, if not all of John's life has been difficult, as no well-adjusted person becomes a killer of his caliber. But it's quite easy to track John's journey of misery onscreen.

Within the John Wick movies, the start of his current round of suffering began was when his wife, Helen, died of a terminal illness. That was just a cruel twist of fate, though nonetheless heartbreaking, marking an end to the four wonderful years he had with Helen after he performed the 'Impossible Task' (so many bodies were buried that day) so she and him could live together in peace. Things started to turn around when a puppy Helen ordered before she died arrived on John's doorstep, and with a new companion in his life, John felt he could find happiness again.

But then Iosef Tarasov and his goons had to break into John Wick's house to steal his car, killing the dog in the process. Now consumed by vengeance, John literally unearthed his old life and killed off anyone trying to prevent him from reaching Iosef. By the end of the first John Wick movie, both Iosef and his father, Viggo Tarasov, were dead, Viggo's criminal empire was dismantled and John even brought home a new dog. Sadly though, John lost his mentor, Marcus, during the craziness.

At the start of John Wick: Chapter 2, John successfully took his car back, though it'll be many years before it's in pristine condition again. Regardless, that was supposed to be the end of John's killing days, but because he jumped back into that world briefly, that was enough incentive for Santino D'Antonio to visit John and demand him to kill his sister as repayment for Santino helping John with the 'Impossible Task.' John refused at first, so Santino destroyed his home, and after some prodding from Continental manager Winston, John successfully carried out the assassination.

Unfortunately for John Wick, then Santino D'Antonio called in a $7 million contract on John's head to tie up the remaining loose end. In the end, John shot Santino in the head, but because this occurred on Continental grounds, he was declared excommunicado and punished by being banned from the hotel chain and losing access to all underworld resources and privileges. As if that wasn't bad enough, the contract on John's head was doubled to $14 million, meaning he's now on the run with just a dog by his side and a Marker in his pocket.

John Wick: Chapter 3 will see John trying to fight his way out of New York, resulting in him leaving behind his highest body count yet. Along with the previously-mentioned Director, we'll meet other members of The High Table, like Asia Kate Dillon's Adjudicator and Robin Lord Taylor's Administrator. Other new players being introduced in John Wick: Chapter 3 include Halle Berry's Sofia, Mark Dacascos' Zero and Jason Mantzoukas' Tick Tock Man, while the returning characters will include Ian McShane's Winston, Lance Reddick's Charon and Laurence Fishburne's Bowery King.

It remains to be seen if John Wick: Chapter 4 will get the green light, though if Chad Stahelski has his way, the franchise will continue indefinitely. That said, a spinoff TV series called The Continental is being developed at Starz, and Keanu Reeves is expected to reprise John at some point during the show. So even on the off-chance John Wick: Chapter 3 marked the end of the assassin's theatrical exploits, we'll still be seeing more of him, and no doubt he'll still be suffering in some form or fashion.

John Wick: Chapter 3 will be released in theaters on May 17, so keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more coverage on the threequel. In the meantime, you can plan your moviegoing schedule over the next 12 months accordingly by checking out our 2019 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.