The John Wick franchise is expanding beyond the big screen in a very big way. When the first John Wick hit theaters in 2014, it kind of came out of nowhere. It marked the directorial debut of veteran stunt coordinators and second unit directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, and the R-rated actioner grossed an impressive $88 million worldwide. That then spawned a sequel, the Stahelski-helmed John Wick: Chapter 2, which doubled the gross of the original film to stand at $166 million worldwide. Stahelski is already hard at work developing John Wick 3, but the franchise is already looking to expand to the small screen with a John Wick TV series.
Lionsgate is currently in the midst of developing this John Wick TV series, and IndieWire has some details on what to expect. For one, the show is currently going by the title The Continental, and will focus on the network of assassins that’s become a key part of the John Wick mythology. Stahelski further teased that the prequel show will follow a variety of characters, not John Wick:
“They’ve got a really good structure. It’s very tied to the film [in that] it’s about the Continentals all over the world, how certain people come into that world, and what happens in relation to those people, which is cool. I think the world is very vast, and everything I’ve heard from it is very positive. […] It’s something that studio seems very, very intent on [making] and very, very behind… You can be with the consigliere, concierge, the sommelier — you can be with all these different characters and walk through the world in different aspects; ones that I’m a little limited [from exploring] by staying with my lead guy.”
Stahelski says he thinks the plan is for Keanu Reeves to make an appearance in the series, but the show won’t be about John Wick. That character’s got more story to tell in John Wick: Chapter 3, which may or may not conclude his arc. Stahelski is currently developing to direct John Wick: Chapter 3, and he tells IndieWire he’d like to stay involved with the John Wick TV series through development and potentially direct a few episodes.
As for bringing the level of action that fans expect from the John Wick franchise to the small screen, Stahelski cites Game of Thrones as a touchstone:
“Look at ‘Battle of the Bastards’. As an action designer, I think that’s the best battle I’ve ever seen on TV. They did a great job, and they weren’t careless with their money. They planned it, they boarded it — you watch the behind-the-scenes, [it’s clear] the guys did everything right. Granted, they’re the biggest budgeted show on TV right now, but could we do something interesting with John Wick with what we have? Yeah. I’d like to give it a go and prove to the TV world that you can have feature action on a TV show. It would be a nice little feather in my cap, sure.”
It’ll be interesting to see where The Continental ends up, be it on a pay cable channel like HBO or Starz or a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu. Lionsgate Television has produced a number of projects in recent years ranging from CBS’ MacGyver to Starz’s Crash, and they have a high-profile new series coming up in the form of Netflix’s GLOW. They’ve been with various networks so there’s no obvious choice here, but Starz’s commitment to action and genre sounds like it might be a swell fit.
Wherever it ends up, the TV landscape has become so cinematic in recent years that there’s a strong potential here for The Continental to be a great expansion of the John Wick universe that doesn’t feel like a half-assed spinoff.