John Wick was one of the biggest cinematic surprises of 2014, bringing in $86 million worldwide (from a $20 million budget) at the box office, with both critics and audiences responding positively to the film. It was a gratifying return to action for Keanu Reeves, who starred as the titular character, an ex-hitman who is forced out of retirement when his beloved dog (of which his wife bequeathed to him) is brutally murdered. Consequently, Wick embraces his inner badass and embarks on a rampage of revenge.
Following hot on the heels of the film’s success, a greenlight was given to a sequel, officially titled John Wick: Chapter Two. The creative team (comprising of original director Chad Stahelski and scriptwriter Derek Kolstad) wasted no time in getting started on production, with one out of several set photos revealing an apparent on-screen reunion between Reeves and, one of his past co-stars, Laurence Fishburne. Later, Reeves confirmed his role, praising Fishburne for his performance as a character in the Underworld called The Bowery King.
During a recent interview with Collider, Fishburne spoke about his new gig, while disclosing further details about his character. He explained how the addition of his character will help the sequel to evolve and expand the world:
"I’m not part of the Continental world, no, but I’m a part of another world that exists inside the world of John Wick. That wasn’t something that was clear in the first movie. It’s like a part of his world that exists but you wouldn’t know about it, and it won’t really be revealed until the second movie."
In speaking about the Continental world, Fishburne is referencing the hotel that Wick seeks refuge in during the action-packed first film. Even though his comments suggest that he won’t be rubbing shoulders with Winston (Ian McShane) in the establishment that exclusively caters to assassins, it appears that a whole new world will emerge, which should pave the way for a new cast of devious individuals set to unleash chaos in the city. Perhaps Fishburne will be joined by other new additions Common, Peter Stormare, Riccardo Scamarcio and Ruby Rose, but will he be the kingpin?
Rather interestingly, when speaking about how much action he is involved with during his debut appearance in the upcoming sequel, he revealed:
“A little bit, not a whole lot. Very, very little. Very little.”
Given John Wick’s history in the Underworld, The Bowery King might play his foe rather than his friend, and while it seems probable that Fishburne would take a lead role, his remarks imply that he will be taking a backseat to the action, perhaps as the leader of a crime syndicate. This kind of character rivalry would certainly create an interesting dynamic, especially since Reeves and Fishburne last shared the screen in the hugely popular Matrix trilogy, in which the two actors carved a friendship playing humanity’s savior Neo and his mentor Morpheus, respectively.
However, the natural fit from a thematic perspective would be to cast him as a friend to Reeves’ Wick, in an attempt to recreate their previous on-screen magic. By the sound of it, the two actors will only appear together in the briefest of glimpses in John Wick: Chapter 2 but fans would undoubtedly revel in Fishburne and Reeves going toe-to-toe with a slew of villainous characters again.
John Wick: Chapter 2 hits theaters February 10, 2017.