How big has the “John Wick” film franchise become? Apparently too big for creator Derek Kolstad to remain involved. Screenwriter Kolstad created the John Wick character and universe and has solo writing credit on the first two Keanu Reeves-starring action movies, 2014’s “John Wick” and 2017’s “John Wick: Chapter 2.” While Kolstad cracked the story for 2019’s “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,” he shared screenwriting credit with Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, and Marc Abrams. Now with the upcoming “John Wick 4” and “John Wick 5,” Kolstad is not involved whatsoever.
“At a certain stage the studio will tell you, your creation is graduated, and you wish it well,” Kolstad recently told Collider. “I’m still close with [director Chad Stahelski], still close with [first film co-director David Leitch], and I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m excited to see.”
When asked if it was his decision to step away from the film franchise, Kolstad answered, “No, it wasn’t my decision. When you think of the contractually of these things, the third one I shared the credit with any number of people, [the studio] didn’t have to come back to me, and so they didn’t.”
Kolstad continued, “And so you look at that and you could be hurt, and I would say if it was 20 years ago I would have been, but seeing what the industry is and how things go, I just believe that you bless everything and hope it all the best, and to the players involved who are doing other things elsewhere. And yeah, it’s personal, so I’m never going to talk shit about ‘John Wick.’ I want this thing to survive and thrive.”
“John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum” proved the popularity of Kolstad’s creation when it grossed $56 million on its opening weekend (more than the opening grosses of the previous two films combined) and ended its run with $171 million domestically and $326 million worldwide. The financial success of the third entry resulted in the announcement of two sequels, “John Wick 4” and “John Wick 5.” Both films will be shot back to back, with “John Wick 4” currently on the release calendar for May 27, 2022. “John Wick 5” won’t release until 2023 at the earliest.