Update: On Friday, January 12, Starz announced it was moving forward with a “John Wick” TV show titled, “The Continental.” Chad Stahelski, who directed both “John Wick” films, will helm the premiere episode and produce the series along with “John Wick” screenwriter Derek Kolstad, “John Wick” co-director David Leitch, and star Keanu Reeves.
Chris Collins has been hired to write the series and serve as the showrunner. Previously, he wrote for “The Wire” and “Sons of Anarchy.” Starz also released an early synopsis:
“Collins expands the universe in the series by focusing on the Continental Hotel and those who find refuge under its roof. Set in a hyper-real version of Los Angeles, the series maintains the urgency of the action along with the dry humor from the John Wick movies.”
Speaking at the Starz TCA panel, the network’s president of programming Carmi Zlotnik said Keanu Reeves is expected to appear in the series, as IndieWire previously reported.
“Keanu is an executive producer, and I think you can expect to see him at some point in the series,” Zlotnik said. “That is part of the ongoing conversation.”
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For more from IndieWire’s initial report, see below.
Prior to the box office boom of “John Wick: Chapter 2,” the film’s director and franchise mastermind Chad Stahelski said he and screenwriting partner Derek Kolstad had plans for a TV series. Those plans are still in motion, with the project in development at Lionsgate and a new title assigned to the prequel.
IndieWire has learned that the series is being developed under the name, “The Continental,” and Lionsgate is “very excited” about the series. In a separate interview, Stahelski said the focus was expected to be the “cool, Wick-ian, magical, and mysterious world” of the titular hotel.
“They’ve got a really good structure,” Stahelski said. “It’s very tied to the film [in that] it’s about the Continentals all over the world, how certain people come into that world, and what happens in relation to those people, which is cool. I think the world is very vast, and everything I’ve heard from it is very positive. […] It’s something that studio seems very, very intent on [making] and very, very behind.”
“John Wick: Chapter 2” was the first to delve into the worldwide reach of The Continental, a hotel chain that serves as a respite for assassins and an access point for resources specific to the job. No “business” is allowed on hotel grounds, and Wick (Keanu Reeves) faces repercussions for violating that rule heading into the upcoming third film.
“I like telling stories from my one character’s perspective,” Stahelski said. “Once you put that aside with the TV show, [you can] expand to all the different characters and follow them throughout their journey. You can be with the consigliere, concierge, the sommelier — you can be with all these different characters and walk through the world in different aspects; ones that I’m a little limited [from exploring] by staying with my lead guy.”
That being said, plans for the series include incorporating Wick into the story — and putting Reeves on-screen.
“I think he would make an appearance,” Stahelski said. “I think that’s part of his thing, [But the series] isn’t centered around John Wick.”
Lionsgate could not confirm Reeves’ role in the series at this time, nor say who is writing the show — Stahelski said he’s “a really good showrunner” — but the director wants to stay as involved as time allows, given that he’s directing the third “John Wick” as well as pursuing other feature film projects.
“Currently, I’d like to stay involved throughout the development stage and hopefully direct a couple of episodes,” he said to IndieWire
Stahelski and Reeves’ busy schedule also contributed to their other TV project — “Rain,” the limited series based on Barry Eisler’s novel — being put on the back-burner.
“I think ‘Rain’ is kind of on hold right now,” Stahelski said. “It deals with Keanu’s schedule. He’s a busy guy, and he’s in love with the ‘Wick’ franchise, so he wants to put his time and energy into that.
“For us and Keanu, [‘John Wick’] was a one-off,” he added. “That’s when we were developing ‘Rain,’ in between [Chapter 1 and Chapter 2], and then all of a sudden everybody wanted us to do No. 2, and No. 2 did really well. So now, he kind of had to choose where to put his time, and he’s kind of vested into ‘John Wick’ — at least for the series and No. 3 of ‘John Wick.’ And if he chooses to afterwards, there’s always ‘Rain.'”
Stahelski, though, remains very excited about shooting television.
“Look at ‘Battle of the Bastards,'” Stahelski said of the action-packed “Game of Thrones” episode. “As an action designer, I think that’s the best battle I’ve ever seen on TV. They did a great job, and they weren’t careless with their money. They planned it, they boarded it — you watch the behind-the-scenes, [it’s clear] the guys did everything right.”
“Granted, they’re the biggest budgeted show on TV right now, but could we do something interesting with ‘John Wick’ with what we have? Yeah. I’d like to give it a go and prove to the TV world that you can have feature action on a TV show. It would be a nice little feather in my cap, sure,” he said.
“John Wick: Chapter 2” is now available on Digital HD, 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD.