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The John Wick Television Series Has Cast A Surprising Action Star As Its First Lead

Starz’s John Wick prequel series The Continental is still in the works, though it appears it’s that much closer to a premiere date with the casting of its first lead actor. In what some see as a surprising and possibly polarizing choice, the action series announced that Lethal Weapon and Fatman star Mel Gibson has been cast for the hotel-set action-adventure. 

Mel Gibson will play a character by the name of Cormac, though that’s all Deadline reported about the 65-year-old actor’s role. The Continental takes place in New York in 1975 and follows a younger version of the character played by Ian McShane in the John Wick films, Winston Scott. The series, which will premiere as a three-night special television event for Starz, will tell the origin of the franchise's Continental hotel, which serves as a safe haven for assassins in New York City and plays a major part in the John Wick story

The Continental’s casting of Mel Gibson could be seen as controversial to some because the actor has been accused multiple times over the years of making anti-Semitic and racist remarks, most of which the actor has since apologized for. Despite that, the actor’s fall from grace lessened his presence in Hollywood substantially, which makes it something of a surprise any time he resurfaces in high-profile projects. This is especially true for The Continental, as Gibson is traditionally known as a film actor and director, with his main chunk of TV acting happening in Australia 40 years ago.

Mel Gibson in Fatman

(Image credit: Saban Films)

Though his television contributions are few and far between, Mel Gibson’s casting does fall in line with a trend that’s seen more traditional film actors make their way to television in recent years. This is seemingly more true in works based on popular film franchises, though it should be noted Mel Gibson had no prior ties to John Wick before his casting. Gibson does remain a name closely associated with the action genre, however, so it’s not as though the casting is completely out of left field.

One question about Mel Gibson's casting could be whether his role in The Continental will lead to an eventual appearance in the film franchise. Though the actor's age and the series' setting in the mid-1970s presumably rule out the possibility of the character living to the present-day storyline of the movies, there certainly is a possibility for Gibson's inclusion in John Wick 4 or another project via a flashback sequence or something else of that nature. Given Gibson is an actor most known for film work, it's undoubtedly worth speculating if future film appearances serve as partial justification behind casting him as Cormac. We can only continue to wait to see, while wondering how fans will respond to the decision. 

CinemaBlend will keep an eye out for updates on Starz’s The Continental, including some information on when to finally expect it. For more on the franchise in the meantime, be sure to read up on who’s appearing in John Wick 4, if only to see who John gets to kill next. 

Mick Joest

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.