Warning: This post contains spoilers for the ending of John Wick: Chapter 4, though it really dances around the specifics.
This weekend John Wick: Chapter 4 brings everyone’s favorite puppy avenger back to the big screen for the first time in four years. Technically it won’t be the last time you see him: Star Keanu Reeves is reprising the character, however, briefly for the franchise spinoff Ballerina, opposite his Knock Knock costar Ana de Armas. But surprise: It’s the last in the main wing of the series. The films have been a cash cow for Lionsgate, so you can imagine their horror when they learned it would be Wick’s last hurrah.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, series director Chad Stahelski recalls when he and Reeves told execs that Chapter 4 would be the finale. “The response was, ‘What are you f*cking thinking?’ The note was, ‘Are you f*cking insane?’” Stahelski said. “And Keanu and I just smiled and said, ‘Yeah.’ We decided we wanted to tie everything together, and we were like, ‘How do you give a proper goodbye?’ So that’s how we sold it to the studio because, at some point, this has gotta end, man.”
That said, they wound up shooting two endings, one in which we see Wick’s funeral, another in which it’s left open-ended about whether or not he’s actually passed on. Alas, when they showed the latter during test screenings, the audience actually “revolted pretty hard” to it. And so that’s it for John Wick — except, again, when he pops up in Ballerina.