John Wick: Chapter 3 sports the flashy subtitle Parabellum, but what exactly does that mean? Back in 2014, Keanu Reeves came back in a major way with the original John Wick, which was widely praised for its innovative action sequences and surprisingly emotional story. Grossing $88.7 million worldwide against its modest $20 million production budget, the film proved popular enough to spawn a sequel. 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2 was an even bigger hit, expanding its fascinating criminal underworld and pitting John against even more insurmountable odds.
This summer, the trilogy comes to a close with John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, which recently generated buzz with the release of the first trailer. The film picks up shortly after the events of its predecessor, with John on the run after violating Continental ground rules. Our hero has a cool $14 million price on his head, and everyone wants a piece of it. Keeping that premise in mind, it's easy to see why the creative team went with the Parabellum title.
As Reeves explained earlier when the title was first confirmed, "parabellum" is the Latin word for "prepare for war." Hence, John Wick 3 deals with the bloody war that'll take place between John and the world he was once a part of. As Winston jokes in the preview, even though John is primarily on his own, it'll still be a fair fight. That's how respected the Baba Yaga is in the John Wick movies.
Parabellum's English translation is featured in the marketing via tagline "If you want peace, prepare for war." Throughout the previous two films, John has yearned to truly move past his old life and carve out a new existence for himself. Unfortunately for him, extenuating circumstances always dragged him back in. It would appear that if John lives to see another day by Parabellum's end, he'll have finally accomplished that goal. At first glance, it doesn't seem like director Chad Stahelski and company would be able to top "John Wick vs. the world" as setup for an explosive action film. One way or another, Chapter 3 is going to be the culmination of John's arc and provide some kind of end to this story - though Stahelski more recently teased he has other sequel ideas.
It'll be interesting to see how things play out in Parabellum, seeing that Stahelski and crew have no qualms about throwing their title character through the wringer and testing his limits. In essence, this is the event the entire John Wick franchise has been building to. Because of all the decisions he's made over the years, the former hitman finds himself in this predicament, and he needs to literally fight his personal war in order to change things for the better. Hopefully both Wick and his dog are able to find greener pastures by the time the credits roll on John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum.
- John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) release date: May 17, 2019