“John Wick” producer Basil Iwanyk told Collider that Keanu Reeves begged the team behind the long-running action franchise to kill him off at the end of “John Wick: Chapter 4.” It was par for the course for Reeves, who is so physically drained after filming each “John Wick” installment that he rarely is motivated to return for more. In this case, the producers once again did not entirely listen to their star.
“After the second, third, and fourth movie, making these films is so exhausting and it destroys Keanu, physically and emotionally,” Iwanyk said. “By the end, he’s always like, ‘I can’t do this again,’ and we agree with him. The guy is just a shell of himself because he just goes off and goes for it. He was like, ‘I wanna be definitively killed at the end of this movie.’”
“We were like, ‘You know, we’ll leave a 10% little opening,” Iwanyk teased.
“John Wick 4” ended with John’s presumable death after competing in a duel to free himself from the High Table. John gets shot in the third round of the duel and seemingly dies on the steps of the Basilica of Sacré Coeur while seeing a vision of his late wife, Helen. The film then cuts to a a final scene of Winston (Ian McShane) and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) visiting John’s gravestone.
In an interview with Empire magazine earlier this year, director Chad Stahelski revealed for the first time that a more concrete ending to the action tentpole was filmed and tested. In this version of the film, there was no question that John Wick survived the events of the duel.
“We had a different ending,” Stahelski said. “[The theatrical ending] was the ending Keanu and I wanted, but we shot a different ending. We shot an ending where you actually saw John Wick at the end of the movie. So it was very clear that he was still alive. The audiences we tested with absolutely preferred the ambiguous ending.”
The ambiguous ending of “John Wick 4” has led many to wonder if Reeves will return for a fifth “John Wick” movie. A “John Wick 5” now seems like more of a possibility given that John’s survival at the end of “Chapter 4” appears to be a sure thing.
“I don’t know, I guess I’m going to have to lean on ‘never say never,’” Reeves told Entertainment Weekly after “Chapter 4” released about making another sequel. “I mean, I wouldn’t do a ‘John Wick’ film without [director] Chad Stahelski. We’d have to see what that looked like. For me, it feels really right that John Wick finds peace.”
“John Wick 4” is available to stream on Hulu with Starz add-on.