Warning: SPOILERS for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum are in play. If you haven’t seen the film yet, bookmark this page and come back once you’ve caught up.
If anyone had doubts about the John Wick franchise’s ability to print money at the box office, this weekend’s stellar performance of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum should be enough to put them to the side. Which is perfect, because as The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) and John Wick (Keanu Reeves) have now sworn to basically team up to take down The High Table, there’s going to be room for at least one more sequel that’ll keep the franchise going.
Of course, it’s moments like these where a franchise really has to take stock in where it is and where it’s going. With a solid story and tighter action so far, the John Wick story seems to be hitting its stride. However, how long can it keep running before it’s backed against the wall, with one too many plot assassins to contend with?
We’ve seen it with almost any iconic series that’s made it to the trilogy marker, and since John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum represents exactly that, that question should be asked right now: should the hypothetical John Wick: Chapter 4 should be the final installment of the well-favored series of action films that has reinvented Keanu Reeves’ career as an stuntacular superstar? Or is this an overreaction that seems rather premature? Let’s look at the pros and cons together and discuss.
Yes, John Wick: Chapter 4 Should Be The Finale
With The Bowery King and John Wick’s alliance serving the purpose of waging all-out war with The High Table, it could act as a proper and fitting end to the John Wick saga. For so long, this organization has ruled over the world of assassins with a strict code of rules that seems to reap a fresh current of blood with the passing of each film.
So having that expectation set for whatever John Wick: Chapter 4 may be titled, it feels like the great game should end with a blaze of glory. Maybe the film incorporates a time jump forward rather than continue right after the previous chapter, and sees John and The Bowery King worn down from an extended period of street warfare. Then, out of nowhere, a cunning strategy, some new alliances and a Hail Mary to end all desperation moves send the John Wick series out in a blaze of glory.
Though director Chad Stahelski has gone on record as stating he could make John Wick movies for the rest of his career, the story naturally has to end at some point. Why not make it the point where John takes the battle to his former overlords, shatters their grasp of power and either dies a hero or lives as a hermit, with his dog as his only companion?
No, John Wick: Chapter 4 Should Be The Door To Something Bigger
On the other hand, an all-out war with The High Table is something that the John Wick series could definitely extend into at least two, maybe even three films. With all of the intricacies in the code of assassins, and the expansion of the lore that John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum added to the picture, things could just be getting started.
In fact, one of the John Wick franchise’s strengths is the fact that with each entry, there’s just enough lore to keep your mind occupied and enough action to satisfy the part of the audience that craves spectacle. Nothing is over explained, and everything seems to happen in its own due time, without too much retconning.
With no shortage of story, and an eager cast and crew ready to keep John Wick on his slow and steady descent into High Table Hell, the series doesn’t need to rush itself into a finite end. As long as there’s an exit strategy in mind, the John Wick series could continue for as long as it wanted. Maybe it could even go into a ninth installment, with just enough films to match the number of circles Hell itself contains.
Where We Stand On The Issue
While it’s tempting to try and walk away from the table while the streak is hot, it does feel like John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum sets up too big of a future story path to end with just one film. That’s not exactly an invitation to continue aimlessly over the course of unchecked sequel growth, as there should be a definite endgame for John’s quest to become a free man yet again.
Some franchises have amazing staying power, and if there are resources and enthusiasm to continue down a certain story path, then you really can’t keep a good franchise down. John Wick’s vengeance deserves to be seen, heard and felt in its due course of time, and rushing things would only water down the quality work we’ve seen thus far.
It’s not often you’ll see a franchise that builds such a compelling case for its own continuation as John Wick does. You really don’t know what’s going to come next, and the way the story has been told up until this point is not only deliberate in its pacing, it’s also still at a point where there’s unlimited potential for fun twists and turns.
This weekend’s box office result is only further proof that the viewing public is still in love with the series that started with a reluctant, but vengeful hero who’s now sworn to rip apart the world that’s only grown to torment him more as time goes on. Each time they’ve confronted him, The High Table has thought they’d cracked John Wick’s resolve, only to see him find a new way to reduce the competition’s numbers.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was it destroyed in that short a span of time. So if John Wick needs a couple passages past John Wick: Chapter 4, who can argue with that? Actually, if you’re looking to continue this discussion, you could, dear reader.
Now that we’ve talked out both sides to the John Wick: Chapter 4 issue, it’s your turn to get involved. Take our poll below, and tell us in the comments section about whether you feel the John Wick series has run its course or if it’s just getting started.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is in theaters now.