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The world might not agree on most things, but one thing is absolute: We could always use more John Wick in our lives.
Recently while speaking with Deadline about the future of Liongate TV, the indie studio’s expansion chairman, Kevin Beggs, revealed new details regarding the John Wick TV offshoot The Continental at Starz.
“It’s such a successful franchise, it’s on its way to its fourth and fifth installments as a movie,” he said. “It’s got such great mythology and such interesting style, and the gun-fu approach of these incredibly poetic stunt esthetics is just out of this world, which is why the movie with Keanu Reeves — who is so amazing in everything he does but particularly compelling as John Wick in our mind — it just cries out to be something in TV. Just like the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe from a TV perspective are incredible opportunities, and that is our superhero franchise in the family.”
Beggs then went on to say that the studio is working closely with several top-level creatives to bring the twisted and dangerous world of John Wick to the small screen. Among the chosen to get the job done right are Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake, president Nathan Kahane, president of production Erin Westerman and president of acquisitions and co-productions Jason Constantine, as well as the films’ producers Basil Iwanyk and Erica Lee at Thunder Road and Chad Stahelski and Reeves. Understandably, The Continental doesn’t want to tread on any potential ideas already reserved for the film series, and so the aforementioned group worked together to “find a way in that was additive, didn’t cancel out any other plans that they might have down the road for” additional films.
RELATED: John Wick sequels reportedly won’t be shooting back-to-back
Beggs also took some time to discuss the pitch that sold them on the idea of The Continental:
“We took a lot of pitches, and then the creative team from this obscure little show called Wayne that was on YouTube came to us with their take,” Beggs said. “We were really blown away because it solved a bunch of problems and was super exciting, about a crumbling New York in the 1970s with a garbage strike that has piled up bags of garbage to the third floor of most brownstones, the mafia muscling in on that business which is why in The Sopranos he’s in the sanitation business, and other things that are really real as an interesting backdrop to explore the origins of The Continental which is famously within the movie franchise the assassin’s hotel in which you cannot kill anyone on the hotel grounds, but of course if you step one foot off you’re fair game, and that’s employed to great effect in many of the plots in the movies. Running all of that is Winston, who is played by Ian McShane (in the movies).”
While Shane is not expected to make an appearance in The Continental there’s a chance he could do voice-over work. I could see him narrating the series, or perhaps being a part of some ground rules speech for newcomers to the fabled hotel.
“What we’re exploring in The Continental is the young Winston and how it came to be that he and his team of confederates found their way into this hotel which we have met for the first time in the movie franchise 40 years later,” Beggs said. “That’s the arena. I won’t give away more than that, but Starz really leaned into this take also, and they have been great collaborators. And how we’ve approached this first season is as three essentially 90-minute events which you could construe as a limited series or a limited event series.”
For now, there’s no telling if Keanu Reeve’s John Wick will appear in the series. That said, there’s a good chance that Reeves will executive produce.
“Keanu is likely executive producing,” Beggs said. “Because we’re way back in time, way back pre-John Wick and even pre-young John Wick, that character is not finding his way into the universe. We are in the John Wick universe, but it’s way back in time. Think about the Game of Thrones prequels before you know any of the players, but you do know the world. But Keanu and Chad have read every draft and been enthusiastic supporters of expanding this universe in a meaningful way. So, I never rule out anything, but at this point he’s pretty busy making his movies which are very important to us.”
For more exciting details about what Lionsgate TV has planned for the future be sure to check out Deadline’s full report.