John Wick was a spectacularly simple, yet impeccably executed action film that took the world by storm in 2014. The film proved that Keanu Reeves wasn’t done molding the future of action movies, and it gave us a neo-noir puppy revenge film that we didn’t know we wanted, but desperately needed.
While the Hollywood landscape is bursting at the seams with “dumb fun” action films, John Wick provided a smart movie with interesting characters, and impressive action set pieces that made audience realize exactly what was lacking in their cinematic diet. With the new sequel garnering massive amounts of attention, and being praised for similar reasons to the first entry in the (now) franchise, we thought it would be interesting to contemplate some likely contenders for the future villain (almost assuredly) to appear in the third movie.
Here are the 15 Action Stars We Want To See In John Wick 3.
15 Tony Jaa
Tony Jaa, for those who don’t know, is a Thai martial artist, actor, action choreographer, director, monk, and world-renowned stuntman. He is best known for his involvement in the Ong Bak films and in James Wan’s Furious 7.
He has the acting chops and clearly the rigorous martial arts experience to give a veteran assassin like John Wick a run for his money. It would also be great to see some diverse casting in the main villain department for a change, and Jaa would even be able to help out in overall stunt work for the next film (not that the John Wick team needs any help there).
Jaa began training in the art of Muay Thai when he was only 10 years old, and has been doing stunt work professionally ever since. It would be great to see Wick square off with someone as equally talented in Gun Fu as himself, and Jaa definitely seems to have the discipline for the job.
14 Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez is an actress and screenwriter who has been involved with many great action films over the course of her career. She’s been in the Fast & Furious franchise, the Resident Evil franchise, Avatar, and the Machete films.
She is easily one of the toughest women working in film today, and would be an excellent antagonist for the third Wick film. It’s great that Ruby Rose was added to the roster as a secondary antagonist in John Wick: Chapter 2, but having a main female villain would be a huge step for the franchise. There haven’t been many great female villains in film history, as most villains have been white males, and Michelle Rodriguez could bring the intensity needed to the role.
Rodriguez also has extensive tactical weapons experience, and you can find a multitude of her videos on YouTube. She would be a perfect addition just based on the amazing training videos that she and Keanu Reeves would be able to make.
13 Kate Beckinsale
Kate Beckinsale is a fantastic actress whose most well-known action role comes from her lead involvement in the Underworld franchise. Unfortunately for fans of the actress, she hasn’t really been tested as fully as she’s capable of, and at this point in her career, she should be a household name.
The Underworld films have their die-hard fans, but most can agree they start to fall apart as the franchise continues. John Wick seems to be an almost unstoppable force at this point, and Beckinsale could be the perfect addition. She proved in the troubled Total Recall remake, and in every Underworld movie to date, that she’s no stranger to gun handling, or kicking immense amounts of ass. And even though Beckinsale has been involved in numerous action films over the years, none of them have been met with the universal acclaim of the first two John Wick movies. Here’s hoping that John Wick 3 could be Beckinsale’s chance to grab the limelight yet again.
12 Scott Adkins
Scott Adkins is an actor and martial artist who has been involved in a minimal capacity in many great films, like Doctor Strange, The Bourne Ultimatum, and Zero Dark Thirty. Scott Adkins started training in the art of Judo at 10 years old, and then started training even harder at 14 due to a mugging he was the victim of at 13.
Basically, Scott Adkins had a very Batman-esque introduction to martial arts, and it kept him vigilant about becoming the best he could be. It would be great to see him finally get a breakout role, and John Wick 3 seems like the perfect starting point.
John Wick doesn’t take its material too seriously, and that’s where the fun of the franchise lies. It’s not ridiculous to think that Mr. Adkins could provide at least a serviceable job as the next villain in the series, and his martial arts training would prove quite useful.
11 Brianna Hildebrand
Brianna Hildebrand is best known (and really only known) for her supporting role as Negasonic Teenage Warhead in the hilarious action film Deadpool. Hildebrand may not have a resume as deep as most individuals on this list, but her addition to Deadpool proved that she could not only act, but she could pull off the tough demeanor needed to be involved in the John Wick franchise.
Hildebrand's involvement in John Wick would also guarantee that we would continue to see her in action films for years to come, and perhaps she could even get the opportunity to lead her own. Even Deadpool himself said that she really pulls off the whole “Ripley vibe”, and maybe she could even jump onto the new Alien films next.
The age difference would be interesting as well, and it would be a fresh idea to take a young woman as an antagonist and pit her against a seasoned pro. Hopefully John Wick will continue to break ground when it comes to action films, and Hildebrand’s involvement could help to guarantee that.
10 Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy seems to be everybody’s first choice to play any major character in Hollywood these days, and he would be a welcome addition to the John Wick series. Tom Hardy has played the likes of Bane, Max Rockatansky, and has been involved with some other great projects over the years. He’s also well known for his work in Inception, Warrior, Black Hawk Down, and television series Band of Brothers.
Hardy is an extremely talented actor and a bona fide action juggernaut who could potentially even outshine Reeves in the third film. He’s proven that he can be not only a worthy inclusion to an already successful franchise, but a fantastic villain as well-- in Nolan’s Batman films.
Tom Hardy would prove himself an intimidating foe who could even suppress Wick’s ability to use guns expertly, and take him on in hand to hand combat. The Wick series needs to evolve, and perhaps the introduction of a more hand-to-hand martial arts style would help it to continue its path of excellent action filmmaking.
9 Zoe Bell
Zoe Bell is a stuntwoman and actress who’s most notable work includes her doubling jobs on both Xena: Warrior Princess, and Kill Bill, as well as acting roles in Raze, Death Proof, and The Hateful Eight, where she did all her own stunts, of course. Bell is well versed in tae kwon do, and is a well-rounded athlete and talented stunt worker.
Bell has been great in the work she’s done so far, and she could really shine as a supporting actress in the next film. She’s clearly no stranger to action films, and like it’s been stated before, having a female antagonist would keep the franchise from getting too stale.
Keanu Reeves has proven (like most actors have) that even great franchises can overstay their welcome, and we're afraid John Wick 3 is going to have to prove that it’s in a different league altogether to keep the franchise alive. An actress that could beat up most men could provide some much needed diversification.
8 Dave Bautista
Dave Bautista has proven to be a fan favorite in his role as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy. He was also vastly intimidating in the James Bond film, Spectre. He is a wrestler and mixed martial artist who definitely fits the bill as far as intense villains go. Bautista has also shown a pretty great range in his films, playing both monstrous and hilarious, and his growing experience makes him a relevant contender for the role.
The most interesting aspect of the first John Wick film was the mystery that shrouded Reeves’ character. The following films should follow a similar archetype, and that will require a specific focus on the villain’s motives and operation, which means that whoever steps into the role will have to be able to carry a majority of the film. Perhaps it’s time to finally focus more on the secret society, and Bautista would be able to bring the gravity that is needed to bring the much-teased society further into the light.
7 Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise is our modern Stallone, Willis, and Schwarzenegger. He is the action star that continued to bear the weight of the action film behemoth after those men grew too old for their roles (something Hollywood clearly hasn’t grasped yet). Tom Cruise vs Keanu Reeves is a dream film, and seeing them square off in the next chapter of the John Wick series would be immensely entertaining.
Cruise is also no stranger to gun play, as one specific scene of his in Michael Mann’s film Collateral is used for quick draw tactical gun training for the masses. Cruise didn’t see much success in his own sequel to his above-average weapon and stunt heavy film, Jack Reacher, but maybe having Reacher show up in the next Wick film could provide a much needed boost to Reacher’s overall stake in Hollywood.
Seeing Cruise and Reeves go toe-to-toe in an action spectacle filled with practical stunt work is a dream, but it doesn’t seem impractical or impossible, and it would be a PR miracle. But hey, we can dream!
6 Michael B. Jordan
This is where this list starts to get more and more interesting. It’s great to bring in seasoned veterans in the world of action into an ongoing action franchise, but new blood (first blood) is always welcome as well. Michael B. Jordan is, simply put, one of the best young actors we have working in Hollywood today. His roles in Fruitvale Station and Creed proved that he can really bring an emotionally charged performance to his characters, and that he is more than strong enough to lead a set of films.
Jordan would be an inspired choice for a variety of reasons. For one, he can pretty much act circles around anyone he is paired with, he can be ferocious when he needs to be, and his age would provide an interesting angle to a third Wick film. Jordan seems to be pretty busy in the coming years, with his involvement in the Black Panther and the Rocky franchise. However, more Jordan is never a bad thing, and in the case of John Wick 3, it could prove a necessary thing.
5 Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana has basically been Hollywood franchise gold. She’s everything that a leading lady in Hollywood should be: she's insanely talented and she’s got a wonderful range to her individual performances, continually making her characters her own. From James Cameron’s Avatar to James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy to the Star Trek films, she continues to wow audiences with her performances, and more often than not, outshines the men that she acts with.
Saldana would be such a genius casting for the villain role in John Wick 3, and she would no doubt elevate whatever material the filmmaking team decides to go with. It would also be great to see Saldana step out of the heroic roles she is known for and attempt a more nefarious portrayal. One interesting angle the next film could take is introducing a villain who actually bests Wick, forcing him to train to become better, and Saldana could convincingly put the great Keanu Reeves down.
4 Lucy Liu
Lucy Liu is a classic Hollywood triple threat: she is an actress, director, and producer who has been involved in some great films over the years. She is also no stranger to action flicks, appearing in both Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill and the blockbuster Charlie’s Angels. Liu is both a diverse and appropriate casting choice that would only benefit the future of the John Wick franchise.
She is also versed in the martial arts form of kali-eskrima-silat, that she chose to pick up as a hobby when she was younger. Her inclusion could also inspire a change of locale for the next film, and perhaps Mr. Wick would have to go to China to infiltrate a branch of the secret underground that he used to be involved with. This is a smart decision both from the view of a potential change of setting, and for the argument for international inclusion. Here’s hoping the filmmakers go outside the box for their next casting announcement.
3 Donnie Yen
Donnie Yen is also a triple threat, as he is an actor, director and producer, who also happens to be a Chinese martial artist. He is perhaps most known for his popularization of the martial arts technique, Wing Chun, which specializes in self-defense and close-range combat.
Yen is basically the perfect casting for the next film, and the only downside to his involvement is that he’s just not as well known in Hollywood as many other actors on this list. In the Western hemisphere, he is best known for his work in Ip Man and the Star Wars anthology film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Seeing him apply some of the combat that he implemented in both those films in the next John Wick movie would stifle even the competent John Wick, and make him reconsider some of his more close-up confrontations. Yen is an action movie force to be reckoned with.
2 Michael Jai White
Michael Jai White is also an actor/martial artist who has made his mark in many films and television series. The most interesting reason for casting White, and the reason he made number 2 on this list, is because he has yet to really break out in Hollywood, and he deserves his shot. He has both the acting chops and the martial arts background to go up against Wick, and his little moments of brutality in The Dark Knight show that he’ll not only scare John Wick, but audiences as well.
Whoever the filmmakers decide to pursue for the next film, the story should be about two individuals stopping at nothing to kill the other. A personal tale seems to be the cure for staleness that could occur in the following Wick films, and White could provide the passion necessary to sell this vendetta story. White, unlike many others on this list, needs John Wick 3. He needs it because he’s too good to go unnoticed for too much longer.
1 Benicio Del Toro
Benicio Del Toro’s singular audition for the next John Wick was a spectacular performance in 2015's Sicario. His hitman was everything that we want to see Wick go up against. He was quiet, determined, and had a purposeful vision for his vengeance. Del Toro gave a career-defining performance by showing so much, but saying so little, akin to Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter before him.
Del Toro would take over a John Wick sequel; he would consume the audience’s attention, and he wouldn’t need much dialogue to convey torment. Del Toro could be to John Wick what Heath Ledger was to Batman. Focusing on a hero like Wick too much could provide too much information to keep an audience intrigued, and that’s why the next few films need to showcase a powerhouse of a villain. No one is more qualified than Mr. Del Toro, and that’s why he made the top of this list.
Do you have any suggestions for future villains in the John Wick franchise? Let us know in the comments below.