John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum managed to set up not only a fourth movie, but also the forthcoming TV show based around the franchise's Continental hotels. After two successful and well-received big screen ventures, the pressure was firmly on John Wick 3 to deliver at the third time of asking and achieve that rare feat of a movie trilogy that suffers no notable dip in quality, and despite that increased responsibility, Keanu Reeves and the gang defied the odds in a storm of inventive kills, fascinating new characters and substantial world building.
And it's the world building that acts as arguably the most important element of John Wick 3, visceral action scenes aside. It's fairly clear that the team behind John Wick have big plans for the not-exactly-retired assassin and the end of the latest movie firmly sets up John Wick 4, with John understandably irked after being shot repeatedly and falling off the top of the New York Continental. He ultimately meets with Laurence Fishburne's Bowery King, who is just as injured and just as annoyed about it, to trigger a war between those two formidable men and the enigmatic High Table.
However, John Wick 3 had even more legwork to accomplish. In 2017, it was announced that the franchise's long-standing directing and writing duo of Chad Stahelski and Derek Kolstad were developing a TV spinoff series called The Continental, based around the hotels of the same name that form the backbone of Wick's world of mercenary mishaps. Keanu Reeves was also slated to be reprising his familiar role in some capacity, with the series subsequently confirmed to run on the Starz network with Chris Collins (The Wire, Sons of Anarchy) acting as showrunner.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, John Wick 3 took steps to ensure that The Continental had a firm foundation to build upon when it premieres. Firstly, the lore of the hotels is expanded upon more than any other element of the franchise's fictional universe. A major part of the film's plot sees New York Continental manager Winston desperately struggling to keep hold of his job, hammering home the prestige that holding such a position brings. The audience saw the relationship between the Continental chain and the High Table in action, with the latter very much the dominant force.
More significantly, John Wick 3 introduces the possibility a whole host of new Continental establishments and their respective managers for the TV show to potentially explore. The existence of further Continentals had already been confirmed, with the Rome variety appearing in John Wick 2, but the third movie also introduces the Casablanca Continental. If a Continental hotel exists in a place that had Humphrey Bogart wistfully ruing "in all the towns, in all the world" then fans have to wonder exactly how far the chain's reach extends - a perfect jumping off point for the forthcoming TV show to explore. As such, Stahelski has already confirmed that while The Continental spinoff will remain based around New York, the show will do a bit of globetrotting.
It's currently not clear exactly where The Continental will slot into the John Wick franchise's timeline but it seems probable that the bulk of the action will take place prior to the movies to avoid any narrative conflict. This would suggest that the history and traditions of The Continental will finally be explored more fully. To this end, the chain's rules and regulations form a key part of John Wick 3 - Parabellum, meaning audiences have already seen how far those in charge will go to protect those ideals. But, even with all the setup from the movies, one big question remains: will the lead character of The Continental be a more obedient guest than the infamous Mr. Wick?
- John Wick: Chapter 4 (2021) release date: May 21, 2021