“John Wick: Chapter 2” has been released to critical acclaim and box office success. You may have some questions about parts of the movie that confused you, or you might just be interested in little bits of behind-the-scenes trivia. Chad Stahelski, the director, has been happily obliging both sides of that camp as he opened up about the movie on Empire’s podcast.
(Warning: spoilers for “John Wick: Chapter 2” follow)
Lawrence Fishburne’s homeless network is the poor man’s Continental
Stahelski says that when he and his team came up with the idea of Lawrence Fishburne’s Bowery King character and his web of assassins disguised as homeless people, they believed “it made perfect sense.” He explained that the idea came from travelling to New York in order to inspire himself before shooting the sequel. He saw the huge homeless population there and had a brainwave that in the “John Wick” universe, this would not be “a bad way to move around the city,” because the police don’t bother them and everybody ignores them, which he saw as a “really interesting” concept. Stahelski sees the homeless network as “the Motel 6” to the Continental’s “five-star,” as in the cheaper alternative for the poorer assassins of the world. The director added that “if you had to reinvent yourself, that’d be a good way to go.”
The gold coins aren’t a fixed currency
Stahelski says he didn’t explain the gold coins that are used in both “John Wick” films to buy favours, nights at the Continental etc. because “they’re currency. You don’t explain the dollar bill!” He says they’re “more of a membership card,” so it’s an “identifier” to have them, to show that you’re a part of that world, so “it serves two purposes,” whereas regular currency only serves one. It’s just a thing. Just forget about it.
‘Keanu is a workhouse’
Keanu Reeves has a reputation as the hardest working actor in Hollywood, and Stahelski confirms that, attributing the success of “John Wick” to his commitment to the role. As a former stunt trainer, Stahelski has trained people “from the Marvel world, the DC world, the “Bourne” world, everybody...and this guy just won’t stay down.” He says that Reeves’ work ethic is “rare,” even “for a professional athlete.”
The final scene does not reveal that everyone is an assassin
The final scene of “John Wick: Chapter 2,” as John runs through the park and a text goes out to the world’s assassins telling them the price on his head, and everyone in the park looks up at him, that was not a revelation that everyone in the world is an assassin. Stahelski clarifies that in Wick’s world, “less than 0.5% of the population” are contract killers. The point Stahelski was trying to make with these shots was that “you just don’t know.” So, all the people in the park looked up at Wick because it’s a bloodied man running full pelt through a park, but some of them will be assassins, and they blend in, so there’s no way of knowing which of them are about to whip out a gun and try to kill him.
‘John Wick: Chapter 3’ will have ‘no happy ending!’
While Reeves has proposed a story idea, Stahelski has his own ideas about what a potential “John Wick: Chapter 3” would entail (which hopefully gets greenlit by Lionsgate soon, so that cliffhanger ending doesn’t haunt us forever; I mean, come on, Lionsgate, you’ve already made your money back, the sequel’s inevitable, just put our minds at ease and don’t leave us hanging). Stahelski is more interested in expanding the world of “John Wick” than the story. He says, “I’d like to go deeper into the world that people already know, another 50%.” As for the ending, he kind of spoiled it, saying: “How else can this end? There’s no happy ending! He’s going to kill everyone!”