‘John Wick 3’: Chad Stahelski on When They Hope to Start Filming and More
by Matt Goldberg
When John Wick ended, it felt like a conclusion that could be continued if warranted, but it also felt like a complete story that didn’t require a sequel. By comparison, John Wick: Chapter 2 ends with a massive cliffhanger, and fans would be furious if the story didn’t continue. Thankfully, John Wick: Chapter 2 grossed about twice as much as the original, which is good since John Wick 3 was in the works as early as last October.
Today, Tommy Cook spoke with John Wick: Chapter 2 director Chad Stahelski for the home release of the film (it’s now available on Digital HD and will be on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD on June 13th), and they discussed the status of John Wick 3. They led off by talking about where the sequel is in the pre-production process.
“Yeah — we’re currently in the middle of writing it right now,” Stahelski said of the film’s status, and it seems like the film pretty much has a greenlight; it’s just waiting on the filmmakers to get everything into place. When asked when they might start filming, Stahelski replied, “It’s more of a how fast can we get our shit together. But I would assume that if not by the end of this year, the beginning of next year.”
However, the question becomes if Stahelski will get behind the camera for the sequel. He co-directed John Wick with David Leitch, but Leitch went on to direct Atomic Blonde instead of returning for Chapter 2. For Stahelski part, he’s now attached to the Highlander reboot, so where does that leave John Wick 3? Stahelski says he’s “super involved” with the sequel right now and loves the property, but “Currently I’m acting as prep director. Hopefully everything will work out time wise. Of course — I would love to…”
While the lack of Stahelski or Leitch (who’s currently busy with Deadpool 2) would certainly leave fans apprehensive about who lands in the director’s chair, Stahelski says they have a clear direction where they want to go in terms of expanding the franchise’s mythology:
“We want, not so much to go bigger on the third one, but to show you more of the intricacies of the world… I feel like there are all these different subtleties that I skipped over in Number Two, that I’d like to go back to on [chapter three] and show you the inner workings of different parts of New York. So rather than massive set pieces, I’d like to show you cooler and more intricate ones… I think it would be a mistake budget wise and creatively to just go big and blow up a freeway. That’s not our gig. That’s a comic book or a Bond gig. We want to show you cool and intricate details. What are those little details in everyday life? Hopefully – we make people look at garbage collectors and cleaner vans and homeless people a little differently now.”
So don’t worry—John Wick will remain John Wick where you want to look around every corner to see how this world works rather than trying to wow you with massive CGI set pieces.
They also know where they want to take Wick’s emotional arc in the third movie:
“We’re very comfortable with where we want [John Wick] to go in the third one and what Keanu wants to do. If you really watch the first and second one, there’s only one place it can go — so I’ll let you sort that out.”
And although we know some of Wick’s backstory from what’s been implied in the previous movies, Stahelski says more revelations will only come from action, not from some exposition dump:
“Yeah, definitely — but it’s about John revealing it. It’s not about you finding a hidden book or a secret map about who John Wick is. Anyone watching can start piecing it together. You know he’s had some serious training. Was it military? Ehh — he kind of looks military. Where’s he from? Well — he speaks all these languages. We’re giving you the pieces and I think it’s always good… Hopefully in five years, you and your buddies will talk about how ‘he’s this or he’s that.’ We’ll give you a couple more pieces and let you stitch it together.”