The 2014 Chad Stahelski directed action phenomenon John Wick took the world – and, in turn, the global box office – by surprise with its modestly budgeted story of a man seeking vengeance against the bad hombres who broke into his home and stole his beloved puppy. Perhaps the industry was surprised that a story that so clearly wore its heart on its sleeve could turn a cool $50-60 million profit off of a meager (by Hollywood standards, at least) $30 million budget. Whatever; it wouldn’t be the first time the Land of Dreams had been caught asleep at the wheel. The end result of lead man Keanu Reeves’ heartfelt performance (and kick ass stunts, it might be added) was the start of an increasingly profitable franchise that, thus far, has spawned two sequels – or chapters – with a fourth installment on the way in 2022, and a fifth chapter on the drawing boards even as we speak.
Our most excellent pals over at The Hollywood Reporter dropped the news this weekend that the John Wick franchise will not merely be a thing of the silver screen – an upcoming prequel television series (billed as an “event series”) entitled The Continental is also forthcoming with its lead director finally singled out – Albert Hughes, one half of the directing team behind such films as Menace II Society, Dead Presidents and The Book of Eli.
While sounding vaguely like the breakfast special at the local Denny’s, The Continental in actuality is set in the exotic hotel for all self-discerning assassins in the three John Wick films. Initially plotted to be an ongoing spinoff show of the Wick trilogy, The Continental has instead morphed into a Lionsgate and Starz three-night event show with what are reportedly budgets and running time on par with its big screen brethren.
Albert Hughes has been tapped to direct the first and the final episodes. The versatile auteur will also be serving as an executive producer on all three parts.
Plot points are being held close by the studio, but what little we know sure sounds exciting: This prequel takes place a good four decades before the series of films and will study a young gent by the handle of Winston who, as all good Wick aficionados know, will ultimately grow up to be none other than the character essayed by actor Ian McShane in the films. The backdrop: Exotic and gloriously grimy 1970s NYC.
No official word on when the drop date is for The Continental, but as soon as Starz and Lionsgate announce anything, Vents will give you the full skinny, True Believers!