John Wick: Chapter 4 director Chad Stahelski said that the film originally had a less ambiguous ending but audiences didn’t like it.
MAJOR SPOILERS for the ending of John Wick: Chapter 4. The latest installment of the John Wick franchise was originally meant to bring the saga to a close, but Lionsgate quickly revealed that they were in early development on John Wick: Chapter 5.
The ending of John Wick: Chapter 4 found the iconic hitman meeting his end, but the film left things ambiguous regarding whether it was a true death. A wise choice, but Chad Stahelski told Empire that they had originally shot an ending which made it clear that John Wick was still alive.
“We had a different ending,” Stahelski said. “[The theatrical ending] was the ending Keanu and I wanted, but we shot a different ending. We shot an ending where you actually saw John Wick at the end of the movie. So it was very clear that he was still alive. The audiences we tested with absolutely preferred the ambiguous ending.“
John Wick: Chapter 4 followed John Wick (Keanu Reeves) as he uncovers a path to defeating the High Table. But before he can earn his freedom, Wick must face off against a new enemy with powerful alliances across the globe and forces that turn old friends into foes.
Chad Stahelski added that John Wick 4 was born from his dissatisfaction with the ending of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. “We didn’t feel like we had done our best. We both felt like we could have ended the series better,” Stahelski said. “We didn’t feel like we stuck the landing, and that’s a shitty feeling. Because we love the character, we love working together, we love the world. I said, ‘I’d be pissed if that’s how they ended the whole series. I’d be pissed at the director.’” Stahelski added, “And I had just read this treatise on samurai etiquette called Hagakure, the art of the way of dying. And we’re like, ‘Yeah, he’s got to die. And we got to come up with the coolest way to make the happen. We’ve got to make it all about, ‘you can only had a good death if you had a good life’.’ That’s the first line we wrote on a napkin in Japan, three years out. We wrote the movie backwards off that one thing.“
How did you feel about the ending of John Wick: Chapter 4? Should it have been more or less ambiguous on Wick’s fate?