The world of John Wick is about to get bigger. And no, I’m not talking about the Ballerina spinoff that’s been in development for three years now. The gun fu-packed action franchise that Keanu Reeves has anchored for three movies now is making the jump to the small screen in the near future with The Continental, which will air on Starz. So for those of you who have been itching for this environment full of assassins to be expanded upon, you’re in luck with this John Wick TV show.
As clearly indicated, The Continental will revolve around the same-named hotel chain featured in the John Wick movies that serves as neutral ground for members of the criminal underworld (most of the time). While a handful of details about The Continental have been revealed to the public, such as how it will focus on the Los Angeles branch rather than the New York one we’re most familiar with, but there’s still plenty about the show we still don’t know yet. Here are seven specific questions that have been weighing on my mind, and I doubt I’m alone in thinking about these.
When Will The Continental Air?
Right now, The Continental’s exact airdate is up in the air, but one thing we do know is it’ll be after John Wick: Chapter 4 has played in theaters. Originally the plan was for the movie to come out in May 2021, so it’s possible The Continental could have hit the airwaves as soon as summer 2021. However, Chapter 4 has been pushed to May 2022 as a consequence of the current health crisis that’s sidelined plenty of film and TV projects.
John Wick: Chapter 4 hadn’t started filming yet, but it was planning to soon, and now it’s unclear when exactly cameras will roll on that. So we’ll now have to wait a little over two years at minimum for The Continental to arrive, if not longer should Starz decide to hold the series for the end of 2022 or early into 2023. As for why the channel is waiting for Chapter 4 before debuting its show, we’ll discuss that more later.
When Is The Continental Set?
One thing we do know for a fact is that The Continental will not be set in the present day John Wick universe. It was revealed last summer that the series will be a prequel, with then-Starz COO (he’s now the network’s president and CEO) Jeffrey Hirsch describing The Continental as taking place “way earlier” in the timeline. That puts The Continental in good company with shows like Caprica and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
It’s nice to have that tidbit of information, but how far back are we talking about? A decade before the events of the first John Wick movie? Two decades? Are we going back as far as the 1960s? Could this be set in the aftermath of the American Civil War? Okay, maybe that last one is going a little too far, but if The Continental does take place decades before John Wick, it’s entirely possible the show will depict The Continental hotel chain being established. One doesn’t just construct hotels for assassins on a whim.
Who Will Be The Main Protagonist?
Keanu Reeves is keeping busy enough with the John Wick movies and various other projects, so while there’s still a chance we could see him cameo as a younger John in The Continental, he won’t be the star of the show. That then begs the question of who will fill in as the main protagonist.
One can logically assume it’ll be someone associated with the criminal underworld if they’re associated with the Continental, but will it be one of the hotel’s employees? Or will it be an assassin who makes use of that particular branch while they’re in town? Whatever the case, it’ll be interesting to see how this character compares to John in terms of skill level and level of sympathy they can generate; at least we can presumably count on them being skilled in fighting and using firearms.
Who Will Be The Main Antagonist(s)?
Thus far in the John Wick franchise, the antagonists have basically been other assassins who have their own agendas, with The High Table now being positioned as the ultimate baddies. Since The Continental will take place before the film series, it seems doubtful (but not impossible) that The High Table will fill that same role, so who then will our main protagonist, and any allies working with them, have to clash against?
If the primary character’s an assassin, it’s easy enough to imagine them going up against a rival criminal or organization that’s determined to impede their efforts. Who knows, maybe we’ll see law enforcement brought in to track down down the main character. After all, Thomas Sadoski’s Jimmy clearly knows what kind of antics John Wick gets into, so who’s to say he’s the only police officer who’s familiar with this world.
Which Established Characters Will Appear?
Just because The Continental will be set in the past doesn’t necessarily mean that the series won’t include any familiar characters, even if they’re only around for guest spots and/or are played by different actors. In fact, Chad Stahelski told Fandom that the series would involve “origin stories of some of the characters you see in Wick.”
With Ian McShane’s Winston being the main Continental representative in the John Wick movies, maybe we’ll see a younger version of him take part in the TV show, at a time when he was still working his way up the Continental ranks. I’d also be interested in seeing The Director, the head of the Ruska Roma who was by Anjelica Huston in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, perhaps visiting this branch of the Continental at a time when she’s also slowly collecting power.
Will We Learn The Origins Of The John Wick Universe’s Rules?
Criminals may break the law, but if you’re gonna operate within the John Wick universe’s underworld, there are still certain rules that one must follow; ones which are governed by The High Table. As noted earlier, it’s possible that The Continental will explore the origins of the hotel, but there are plenty of other layers in this mythos that can be peeled back. For instance, keeping it tied to the hotel, who decided that “conducting business” was an offense most often punishable by death? Where did they come up with the gold coins for currency? How were markers established as this society’s representation of a blood oath?
Because the John Wick movies are focused on John being bombarded by threat after threat, there’s only so much time that can be spent on explaining the ins and out of this world. The Continental series provides the opportunity to delve deeper into this proverbial pool, if the writers (including showrunner Chris Collins, who’s previously worked on The Sopranos, The Wire and Sons of Anarchy) choose to do so.
Will The Continental Tie Into John Wick: Chapter 4?
The fact that Starz won’t air The Continental until after John Wick: Chapter 4 is released has me wondering if the series will somehow tie into the movie. Granted, the fact that The Continental is a prequel means it’s not like the show can truly spoil Chapter 4’s events. That being said, perhaps there’s a new piece of John Wick universe mythology or a new detail about a main character’s life that will be brought up in Chapter 4, and The Continental will elaborate on it.
Or maybe those in charge just don’t want The Continental to take any attention away from the next John Wick movie, as it might be a little awkward to have the series debut shortly before or after the film drops. It’d just be nice to have some clarification on the matter, though either way, I imagine the John Wick movies will remain enjoyable to watch enough on their own, and that The Continental will serve as bonus material to take in rather than become necessary viewing.
Will The Continental End Up Being An Anthology?
While it would make perfect sense for The Continental to follow just one main cast of characters at one hotel, the fact that there are so many Continental locations means that this show could easily visit a different one each season anthology-style, assuming it gets renewed. Shows like American Horror Story, Fargo and True Detective have enjoyed great success in recent years, and while Starz already an anthology show (The Girlfriend Experience), there’s no reason The Continental couldn’t become one too.
Not only would this allow more opportunities to explore more corners of the John Wick universe, but you can still easily bring back established characters who need to visit whatever Continental branch we’re frequenting next, as part of being involved in this underworld means going on business trips. We could even go as far as revisiting the Rome location that was briefly seen in John Wick: Chapter 2.
Let us know what questions you have about The Continental in the comments below, and stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates about the Starz series as they come in. In the meantime, keep track of currently airing on TV with our handy schedule.
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Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.