Following a string of critical and/or commercial flops, the seemingly ageless Keanu Reeves managed to once again reignite his career via 2014’s take-no-prisoners action flick John Wick. Reeves starred as the titular badass, a retired assassin who found himself forced out of his quiet civilian life as a widower after the brutal murder of his beloved dog by the son of a powerful crime boss. The almost mythical Wick responded to this tragic event by embarking on a rampage of revenge against those responsible, all the while thwarting rival assassins hired by his nemesis’ father. Both critics and audiences responded kindly to the film, with John Wick ultimately bringing in over $86 million worldwide on a budget of $20 million.
With that kind of success, a John Wick sequel was almost a no-brainer, and the project received a greenlight not long after the first film’s arrival on home video. Chad Stahelski — co-director of the original — is returning to helm John Wick 2, and original writer Derek Kolstad is also coming back to pen the screenplay. Production on the sequel officially commenced in late fall, with several set photos so far serving to give fans glimpses at what’s in store for John in his second outing. However, the latest images from the set (via Gothamist) take things up a notch, providing an advance look at Reeves’ apparent on-screen reunion with one of his most famous past co-stars, Laurence Fishburne.
Reeves and Fishburne of course last shared the screen in the legendary Matrix trilogy, in which the two actors played humanity’s savior Neo and his friend and mentor Morpheus, respectively. While it’s certainly nice to see the duo back on set together, it’s also a little perplexing, as Fishburne has never previously been mentioned as being part of John Wick 2’s cast. Judging by his wardrobe, Fishburne is clearly not there just to visit with an old friend, suggesting the action veteran will make at least a cameo appearance alongside Reeves’ Wick in the actual film.
That said, if Fishburne ends up playing a larger part in John Wick 2, the natural fit from a thematic perspective would seem to be again casting him as sort of a mentor/friend figure to Reeves’ Wick. Fans of the first John Wick movie will recall that Willem Dafoe portrayed Marcus, a character who often functioned in the aforementioned capacity towards John, and even bailed him out of a few jams. With Dafoe not coming back for round two, slotting Fishburne into the same type of role would be an inspired choice given his on-screen past with Reeves.
It remains to be seen whether John Wick 2 can recapture the magic of its progenitor, but inserting a heavy-hitter like Laurence Fishburne into the mix can do nothing but improve the sequel’s chances going forward. Although his reunion with Reeves will surely give rise to dozens of odd fan theories about how the John Wick series takes place inside The Matrix.
John Wick 2 has yet to be given an official release date.