It didn't take long before positive word-of-mouth made it clear that 2014's surprise hit John Wick was something fans of action movies had to see, so much so that a sequel quickly entered early development. We explained at the time that the Keanu Reeves vehicle was the perfect new assassin-themed IP that could lend itself to a multimedia franchise and that's already beginning.
The John Wick character was added to the Payday 2 video game as one example, and on the film side, Reeves returns for the sequel which enters production this fall. We knew the creative team and director pair of Chad Stahelski and David Leitch would return for John Wick 2, and now we know to what capacity.
Collider has learned and confirmed through Lionsgate that despite increased Hollywood interest in both Leitch and Stahelski after their work together on John Wick, both are returning but with a slight adjustment to their roles. Chad Stahelski will solo direct John Wick 2 this time while David Leitch will serve as executive producer.
Leitch not directing seems to be due to him potentially directing a different, unannounced and unconfirmed film. We don't know what quite yet but with his work as second unit director on The Wolverine, I wouldn't be surprised to see Twentieth Century Fox at least have a conversation with him regarding a certain other solo X-Men movie in Gambit - a film that desperately needs a director since Rupert Wyatt dropped out.
Leitch and Stahelski aren't household names (yet) but they're industry veterans and Hollywood's best when it comes to action. Together they run 87 Eleven Action Design, a company that performs and trains in stunts and houses their own facility that includes a high-end gym and rentals for stunt equipment. They've worked on films including Ninja Assassin, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, TRON: Legacy, The Expendables and The Hunger Games sequels. Leitch himself has done loads of stunt double work, much of it for his close pal Jeremy Renner.
We had the change to watch Leitch work in person overnight during the Australian shoot for The Wolverine, where he helped craft and manage some of the most dynamic action bits we've seen in a superhero film (ninjas on motorcycles vs. Wolverine in the snow).
Excited to see the team working together on John Wick 2?
John Wick stars Keanu Reeves (John Wick), Michael Nyvquist (Viggo Tarasov), Alfie Allen (Iosef Tarasov), Adrianne Palicki (Ms Perkins), Bridget Moynahan (Mrs. Wick), Dean Winters (Avi), with Ian McShane (Winston), with John Leguizamo (Aurelio), and Willem Dafoe (Marcus) Written by Derek Kolstad. Directed by Chad Stahelski.
An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. With New York City as his bullet-riddled playground, JOHN WICK (Keanu Reeves) is a fresh and stylized take on the "assassin genre".