Within the John Wick universe, the Continental chain of hotels are integral locations, as most of the time, they serve as neutral ground for assassins and other sorts of criminals. Just like in the first three John Wick movies, The Continental will factor into the upcoming John Wick: Chapter 4, but those who are curious about the origins of the hotels are in luck. Since 2017, a Continental series has been in development, and today brings word that the Starz project has found its lead director.
Albert Hughes, who has directed movies like Menace II Society, Dead Presidents and The Book of Eli with his brother, Allen Hughes, has come aboard to direct two episodes of The Continental, per THR. While The Continental was originally envisioned as a straightforward spinoff series to the John Wick movies, Starz has since redeveloped it as a three-night event series, with each episode running 90 minutes each and reportedly being given budgets stretching over $20 million. Hughes will direct The Continental’s first and third episode; a director hasn’t been found yet for the middle episode.
With The Continental marking the John Wick franchise’s transition from film series to expanded universe, Albert Hughes will have plenty of help from folks who have been instrumental in making this franchise so successful. Chad Stahelski, who’s directed all the John Wick movies so far, and Derek Kolstad, who wrote the first three movies, are executive producing alongside Basil Iwanyk of Thunder Road and David Leitch, who co-helmed 2014’s John Wick with Stahelski. Keanu Reeves, the man who brings the Baba Yaga to life, is also in talks to executive produce The Continental, but don’t expect him to appear in the series given its time period.
Set in the 1970s, The Continental will follow a young man named Winston, who’s played in the movies by Deadwood’s Ian McShane. While Winston runs the New York branch of The Continental in the present day, 40 years before the events of the John Wick movies, he was starting out as a hitman hotelier. The Continental series will follow him working alongside others to create this safe haven for the criminal underworld, which will eventually expand across the world. Naturally McShane won’t play Winston in the TV show given his age, but back in 2019, he expressed interest in doing a voice-over for it.
Depending on how The Continental performs on Starz, it’s possible the network may decide to green-light another trio of episodes to flesh out the mythology of these hotels, perhaps following how one or more branches were set up either later in the ‘70s, or even going into the ‘80s or ‘90s. For now though, Starz is focused on delivering one event series, and hiring Albert Hughes to direct two-thirds of this particular story is a big step forward in the creative process.
Although we’re still a ways off from The Continental premiering on Starz, hopefully we’ll at least get some casting news before the year is over, and maybe even learn what shooting will begin. In the meantime, John Wick: Chapter 4 is set to come out on May 27, 2022, and along with John Wick: Chapter 5 confirmed to be on the way, a spinoff movie called Ballerina is still in the works.