A Complete Guide to the Many Movies in the John Wick Universe
Keanu Reeves is one of the most beloved action stars of all time, partly because of his star turn as the titular antihero in the John Wick movies. As the movie's crew recounted in the 2022 book "They Shouldn't Have Killed His Dog," the original script for "John Wick" called for a 75-year-old actor as the lead, but Reeves and his agents really wanted to find a new action flick for him and connected with the story.
"[Franchise producer Basil Iwanyk] brought the script to me with the idea that I would be a part of such a great collaboration," Reeves said in the book, according to Entertainment Weekly. "We all agreed on the potential of the project. It has this character of John Wick, but then you also have the real world, and at the same time this kind of underworld. This den of thieves that have this honor and a code. It has this emotional connection with John Wick, who's grieving, who's lost the love of his life and has this mythical dark past. And I loved the quest that he goes on to reclaim his life. And the world he moves through to do it."
Reeves ended up working on the script for the first "John Wick" movie for two months with screenwriter Derek Kolstad before filming began. The 2014 movie became a hit, revitalized Reeves's career, and has so far led to three sequels. There's also a fifth installment in development and an Ana de Armas-starring spinoff, "Ballerina," set to be released in the future.
Ahead, learn all about the four John Wick movies we have so far, in order.
"John Wick" (2014)
The first John Wick movie introduced Reeves as the titular retired hitman. He's grieving his wife's death, with the help of a dog that she gave him. But when Russian gangsters kill the puppy, John gets back in the assassin game. The movie's cast includes Alfie Allen, Adrianne Palicki, Dean Winters, Lance Reddick, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, and Willem Dafoe. Bridget Moynahan plays his ex-wife in flashbacks throughout the series.
"John Wick: Chapter 2" (2017)
"John Wick: Chapter 2" came three years after the first film. In the movie, an Italian crime boss, played by Riccardo Scamarcio, claims John owes him a favor and forces him to perform an assassination. Reddick, Leguizamo, and McShane all return, with Laurence Fishburne, Common, Ruby Rose, and Peter Serafinowicz joining the cast as well.
"John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum" (2019)
In the third John Wick film, subtitled "Parabellum," John is dealing with the consequences of his actions in the previous film. Fishburne, Reddick, and McShane return again, and this time the cast adds Halle Berry, Asia Kate Dillon, and Anjelica Huston.
"John Wick: Chapter 4" (2023)
The fourth movie in the franchise arrives on March 24. In it, John might overturn the High Table and earn his freedom for good. New additions to the cast include Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, and Rina Sawayama. Reddick and Fishburne make their fourth and third appearances, respectively.