Does the ending hint at the future of the John Wick franchise?
Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for John Wick: Chapter 4.After four years of anticipation, Keanu Reeves is finally “thinking he’s back” for a fourth entry in the John Wick franchise. Although the expectations for John Wick: Chapter 4 were very high considering how acclaimed its three predecessors were, the new sequel is the biggest, boldest, and most emotional installment yet.
Reeves and director Chad Stahelski outdo themselves with one of the rare movie franchises that seems to improve with each installment; John Wick: Chapter 4 ranks alongside The Raid 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road as one of the best action movies in recent memory. In addition to a game-changing ending that is sure to have John Wick fans buzzing, the film also features a post-credit sequence that teases a potential new direction for the franchise.
After Winston (Ian McShane) was ordered to kill him by the High Table, John escapes from New York with the help of the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne). However, Winston is still in danger, as the high-ranking High Table member Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård) has set a pricey bounty on his head that has the world’s assassins all ready to track him down.
In order to finally find peace, John must be accepted back among the ranks of the High Table after being excommunicated. The only way to do so is to get the blessing of a crime family and challenge Marquis to a duel; this means John will have to be reacquainted with the past, and face off against Marquis’ hired assassins. Both the blind swordsman Caine (Donnie Yen) and the lethal tracker Mr. Nobody (Shamier Anderson) are hot on his trail.
While none of the previous films in the John Wick franchise featured a post-credit stinger, John Wick: Chapter 4 includes one brief post-credit scene at the very end of the credits. It’s one that fans will have to wait some time for, as at 169 minutes, John Wick: Chapter 4 is easily the longest film in the franchise thus far; however, sitting through the credits might give viewers a chance to catch their breath after all the action and appreciate Tyler Bates’ epic score. The post-credit scene itself is well worth the wait and teases a potential way for the series to continue.
Caine and Akira ExplainedImage via Lionsgate
The post-credit scene takes place shortly after the final duel at the Church of the Sacré-Cœur in Paris, where John fatally shot Marquis and earned his place at the High Table. John had made peace with Caine, his old friend, but appeared to have succumbed to his wounds and died on the steps of the church.
While John has survived near-death experiences more than a few times and there are no explicit shots of his body, it doesn’t seem like the likelihood of his survival is very high. John is officially buried alongside his wife, Helen (Bridget Moynahan), in New York City, with both Winston and the Bowery King in attendance to pay their respect.
However, Marquis’ death also frees Caine from the threats to his daughter’s life. Caine hadn’t wanted to kill John in the first place considering their past together; even John was willing to respect the bond Caine shared with his daughter.
Caine is seen stumbling through a city where he finds and embraces his daughter. However, it appears that Caine is still in danger; Akira (Rina Sawayama), the former concierge of the Osaka Continental, has tracked them down and brandishes a knife before the film cuts to black.Image via Lionsgate
Early on in the film, John traveled to the Osaka Continental in order to stay safe amidst the High Table’s assassins. He was offered protection by the Osaka Continental Hotel’s manager, Shimazu Koji (Hiroyuki Sanada); Akira is Koji’s daughter and helped her father protect their hotel when Marquis’ soldiers arrived.
While John and Akira were able to make it out alive, Koji stayed to battle Caine in a one-on-one duel. Caine brutally executes Koji, leaving John to pass along his pin to Akira. During John and Akiras’ trip by subway away from the carnage, she swears vengeance for her father’s death.
This would make it likely that Akira is going to kill either Caine or his daughter out of vengeance. While Akira had been raised to follow the chivalrous ways of the High Table by her father, she’s also more ruthless, and previously protested against protecting John. It’s unclear if she’s working alone, but considering she’s now inherited her father’s place on the High Table, it’s likely that Akira has a larger network of allies at her disposal.
The Next Installment
So when would we see this battle? The post-credit scene doesn’t indicate what this duel is leading to, as no other central characters appear. Originally, Stahelski and Reeves were committed to shooting both John Wick: Chapter 4 and John Wick: Chapter 5 back-to-back, but recent comments suggest that the fourth film may have been John’s last adventure. Stahelski told The Hollywood Reporter that “in our minds, Keanu and I are done for the moment; we’re going to give John Wick a rest.” He had previously told Slash Film that the fourth film is “his last one.”
Even without Stahelski or Reeves, the John Wick franchise has a bright future ahead of it. This year, Peacock will air the prequel series The Continental, which follows a younger version of Winston (Colin Woodell) during his rise to power in 1970s New York; while obviously we wouldn’t see Caine and Akira facing off in a prequel, it’s nonetheless exciting that the franchise is interested in exploring stories about the other covert assassins in the same universe.
It’s more likely that they could appear in the upcoming spinoff film Ballerina, which follows the female assassin Rooney (Ana de Armas) as she seeks vengeance on behalf of her family. Len Wiseman is directing with Reeves, McShane, and Lance Reddick all reprising their roles alongside new cast members Angelica Huston, Gabriel Byrne, Norman Reedus, and Catalina Sandino Moreno.
Ballerina is set between the events of John Wick: Chapter 3- Parabellum and John Wick: Chapter 4, but it’s possible that it could tie into Akira and Caine in some way. Considering Akira and Rooney appear to have similar motivations, it would make sense to see them teaming up.