February 20, 2024

The Big Picture

  • John Wick: Chapter 4 surpasses expectations and delivers the most action-packed and emotional installment yet, concluding this era of the franchise.
  • John seeks redemption and peace but faces renewed danger as the High Table places a bounty on his head, leading to a thrilling quest to clear his name.
  • The film features intense duels, a tragic loss, and a satisfying ending, leaving fans eagerly anticipating the future of the John Wick franchise.

The John Wick franchise has been one of the few modern sagas that has maintained a consistent level of quality throughout every installment. Considering the level of anticipation that Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski face with each film and the expectations to top their previous stunts, John Wick: Chapter 4 had a lot to live up to. Thankfully, the fourth installment in the series managed to top the action in every film prior. At nearly three hours in length, John Wick: Chapter 4 is the biggest sequel yet, but it’s also the most emotional with a great ending that concludes this era of the John Wick franchise. Fans of the John Wick series are in luck, as Chapter 4 is now streaming on Starz.

The ending of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum featured John being shot off the side of the New York Continental Hotel by Winston Scott (Ian McShane) for the crimes leveled at him by the High Table. However, Winston remains one of John’s closest allies and knows that he’s been rescued and taken to safety by the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne). John Wick: Chapter 4 reveals that John is still looking for redemption, and wants to finally find peace after constantly having to kill people to stay alive.

Unfortunately, the High Table is still determined to see him dead. The powerful High Table leader Marquis Vincent de Gramon (Bill Skarsgård) has placed a bounty on his head, which can only be ended if John replaces him. John Wick: Chapter 4 sees John searching for a way to clear his name by challenging Marquis’ place at the High Table. Here’s everything you need to know about the ending of John Wick: Chapter 4, explained.

‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Gives Us a New Path of Revenge

Image via Lionsgate Films

John Wick has been hunting down members of the High Table overseas, but he’s told that he can’t clear his name because he’s been excommunicated. This news comes at a time when his home is in danger; Winston receives a visit from Marquis, who destroys the New York Continental, declares the site as excommunicated, and kills Charon (Lance Reddick). Marquis later hires the assassins Mr. Nobody (Shamier Anderson) and Caine (Donnie Yen) to track him down.

John seeks refuge in the Osaka Continental, but Caine and Marquis’ soldiers storm the site and kill its manager Shimazu Koji (Hiroyuki Sanada). While John had been friends with Koji in the past, Koji’s daughter Akira (Rina Sawayama) swears that his debt has not been paid. When he returns to New York, John is told by Winston that he must earn a seat on the High Table by challenging Marquis to a duel on behalf of a crime family.

Sadly, these scenes bear the weight of a real-life tragedy. During the initial press cycle for Chapter 4, Lance Reddick sadly passed away. Many of Reddick’s co-stars paid tribute to his legacy at the film’s premiere, with Reeves stating that “Lance was a beautiful person, special artist, a man of grace and dignity, and had such a passion for his craft.” Fishburne added that Reddick was “the heart of these movies in many movies,” and that “At the end of the day, he wouldn’t want us to not do this.” Sanada added that Reddick’s performance was among his favorite in the series and that he “recognized how he was a kind person and a great human being.” Even if the character of Charon has passed on, Reddick leaves an indelible mark on the series that will certainly be appreciated by generations of John Wick fans.

How Does ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Tie to the Past?

Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen, and Scott Adkins in John Wick: Chapter 4
Image via Lionsgate

John travels to Berlin to request a duel on behalf of the Ruska Roma syndicate. While his adoptive sister Katia (Natalia Tena) still holds a grudge against him, John is able to earn the family’s blessing after killing the German High Table senior member Killa (Scott Adkins). The Berlin encounter also reveals John’s friendship with Caine, who is forced to work for Marquis in order to spare his daughter’s life.

John is able to officially challenge Marquis to a duel with Winston as his second; Marquis claims Caine as his. The battle is set to take place at Sacré-Cœur, where they will separate by thirty places and duel with pistols. In exchange for his involvement, Winston requests that if John emerges victorious, both he and the New York Continental will be reinstated.

John’s arrival in Paris is met with carnage when Marquis raises the price on his head, inspiring the entire city of assassins to start hunting him down. After John receives several wounds before he makes his way to the church, he doesn’t believe that he will be able to make it to the top by sunrise. Failing to meet at the appropriate time would indicate he has conceded the duel. However, Cane appears at the right time and helps John reach his destination in time. He also spares the life of Mr. Nobody, who goes to the church in order to watch the duel.

What Happens in ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’s Final Duel?

Shamier Anderson as Mr. Nobody in John Wick Chapter 4
Image via Lionsgate Films

John Wick: Chapter 4‘s final duel is set at thirty paces with ten-pace intervals closing each time the pistols are fired, and neither participant is killed. After several brutal rounds, Cane fires and nearly kills John, who falls to the ground. Before Cane can deliver the killing shot, Marquis takes his place so he can personally execute John. However, Marquis does not realize that John has not yet fired his gun. John kills Marquis and officially wins the duel.

Winston is allowed by the High Table’s Harbinger (Clancy Brown) to be reinstated as the concierge of the rebuilt New York Continental. John is still fatally wounded and collapses on the steps of the church, appearing to be dead. His funeral is later held in New York buried next to his wife Helen (Bridget Moynahan). Both Winston and the Bowery King pay their respects, white Cane goes to find his daughter.

Does ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Have a Post-Credit Scene?

Rina Sawayama as Akira in John Wick Chapter 4
Image via Lionsgate Films

John Wick: Chapter 4‘s post-credit scene reveals that Caine is out to reunite with his daughter, but cuts away after Akira follows them and takes out a knife. Since she’s still out for vengeance and Caine was John’s ally, it’s likely that the two will be pitted against each other. However, it’s unclear when that next encounter will be. While John Wick: Chapter 5 was greenlit, Stahelski stated that the decision is in the studio’s hands and he and Reeves are still evaluating their options. However, it would certainly be in Lionsgate’s best interest to continue with the series, as thanks to the performance of Chapter 4, the franchise has now pushed past $1 billion at the worldwide box office. It’s exciting that great, critically acclaimed films like John Wick: Chapter 4 are able to generate strong audience turnout; it just goes to show studios that audiences appreciate quality, and Chapter 4 certainly has many terrific action sequences that are well worth watching on repeated viewings.

John Wick: Chapter 4‘s strong performance at the box office is notable in 2023, as many of the year’s most anticipated sequels and franchise films underperformed with both critics and audiences. Films like Shazam! Fury of the Gods, The Flash, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Fast X, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania were expected to be blockbuster-sized hits, yet didn’t prove themselves worthy of repeated viewings. However, John Wick: Chapter 4 proved that sequels that improved and surpassed the achievements of their predecessors could generate sustained interest. John Wick: Chapter 4 has been subsequently hailed as one of the greatest action movies of all time.

Even if the John Wick series does not continue past Chapter 4, the franchise has inspired many other popular action films that utilize the premise of an older, retired assassin getting back into the profession that they built their name on. Bob Odenkirk showed a more comedic side to an action hero with 2021’s Nobody, and Stahelski let Charlize Theron kick some major butt in the underrated 2017 comic book adaptation Atomic Blonde.

RELATED: ‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Review: The Wickiverse at Its Most Ambitious, Goofy, and Thrilling

Where Is the ‘John Wick’ Franchise Headed From Here?

Image via Peacock

Currently, Reeves and McShane are set to reprise their roles in the spinoff film Ballerina; it has been confirmed that Reddick also filmed scenes before his tragic death earlier this year. The new entry in the John Wick shared universe takes place between John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and John Wick: Chapter 4, and stars Ana de Armas as the female assassin Rooney. Rooney is out for revenge after her family is killed. Len Wiseman is directing, and the cast also features Anjelica Huston as the ballerina assassin instructor The Director, as well as Gabriel Byrne, Norman Reedus, and Catalina Sandino Moreno. Ballerina is set to be released on June 4, 2023; however, the release date could potentially shift given the current SAG and WGA strikes that have been affecting production across the industry.

It will be interesting to see if Ballerina is able to kick-start a new original franchise that could pick up the legacy that Reeves left behind. With Chapter 4 serving as a conclusion to the core series, the film industry is left without many major action heroes. The Mission: Impossible series is set to conclude with the upcoming Mission: Impossible- Dead Reckoning Part One. A new James Bond actor has yet to be cast, and even the Kingsman series is in an uncertain place right now. John Wick has been carrying the torch for the action genre, so hopefully, Ballerina will be able to do the same thing. De Armas certainly proved in No Time To Die and The Gray Man that she is more than capable of handling some extensive hand-to-hand combat sequences.

Additionally, Peacock will air the prequel series The Continental this year. The Continental follows a young Winston (Colin Woodell) during his rise to power in 1970s New York. Ayomide Adegun is set to play a younger Charon, and will also feature Peter Greene, Mel Gibson, Ben Robson, Hubert Point-Du Jour, Jessica Allain, Mishel Prada, and Nhung Kate. The terrific footage that has been released thus far for The Continental teases another action-packed adventure that will more than satisfy fans of the series who are looking to see great action choreographed by a master stunt coordinator.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is now available to stream on Starz, and can be purchased or rented on VOD services.

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