There has been a heavy dosage of John Wick news over the past couple of weeks given the popularity and success of John Wick: Chapter 4. The series that began as a revenge tale over a dog will soon be branched off into various spin-offs including a series called The Continental about, yes, the Continental hotels, and a film titled Ballerina with Ana de Armas starring in it. Whenever spin-offs occur in a franchise, it’s fair to question how integral core characters are. Will they even show up? In the case of Keanu Reeves as John Wick, yeah, he’ll be back in Ballerina. For how long? The answer may surprise you.
Ballerina will mark the first spin-off film in the John Wick universe. Len Wiseman of the Underworld series will direct the project based on a screenplay he co-wrote with Shay Hatten (who co-wrote the John Wick Chapters 3 and 4 scripts) and Emerald Fennell — whose film Promising Young Woman should bode well for this project.
Ana de Armas is the lead of Ballerina, make no mistake. However it has been known that Keanu Reeves was slated to be in the film in some capacity. Some, including myself, expected a Vin Diesel in Tokyo Drift type of cameo, but it appears we’re in for more of the Baba Yaga.
Co-writer Hatten spoke with Collider recently and gave a good idea of how much John Wick is actually in Ballerina, “We got him to be in it for a good chunk. He’s a real character, and it’s not just kind of a one-piece cameo. He’s got… Well, I shouldn’t say too much, but he’s in the movie in a way that I think people are going to be really excited by.”
It appears that his appearance in Ballerina will also show how Wick recovered from being shot off of a roof at the end of Chapter 3. Hatten continued, “And by the time the fourth movie starts, he’s healed. He’s on a different side of the world. And we just thought, ‘Okay, how did he get from point A to point B? What happened in that little time window?’ So it just seemed like a really kind of natural way to fit him in and have him interact with this other character’s story during that window. So I think it fills in kind of a missing puzzle piece that people will think is interesting, hopefully.”
This is all music to the ears of John Wick fans. The franchise seems to get bigger and better with every installment. Chapter 4 has been a huge hit for Lionsgate, opening to the biggest domestic debut of the series and already grossing over $146 million worldwide in less than a week.
While Ballerina does not have an official release date, Lionsgate’s Joe Drake recently spoke to Deadline and revealed that a 2024 release is planned in the “spring or summer.”
Will Wick say more than 380 words in his Ballerina appearance? Yeah, I’m thinking we’ll have to find out when Ballerina hits theaters.
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