Back in 2014, the action film John Wick turned a lot of heads thanks to its eye-catching “gun-fu” action sequences and emotionally resonant story. Giving Keanu Reeves a major comeback, it was a critical and commercial success, grossing $86 million worldwide on just a $20 million production budget. Since the reaction to the movie was very enthusiastic, it became inevitable that a sequel would be in order. That followup, John Wick: Chapter 2, is set to open in theaters in February 2017, and Summit/Lionsgate has recently been getting the marketing campaign rolling.
The studio brought the film to New York Comic-Con 2016, where the first teaser trailer premiered. During the panel, members of the cast and crew were on hand to discuss the project and reveal some new details about what fans can expect. One of the biggest questions about a sequel to any film is how much time has passed between the installments. Sometimes, it can be multiple years, while others are set immediately afterwards. In the case of John Wick 2, it’s closer to the latter. In-universe, it hasn’t been long since John extracted revenge for his puppy.
At the NYCC panel, director Chad Stahelski stated Chapter 2 takes place only four days after the original movie. Apparently, Wick had made a blood oath to get out of his particular business, and when he resurfaced to wipe out Viggo Tarasov and his associates, someone shows up to collect on the agreement. That person is the Bowler King, played by Reeves’ Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne. It was also confirmed that the Bowler King is a friend of John’s, meaning that the actors will be able to lean on their amicable chemistry for their scenes in the John Wick sequel.
Admittedly, this isn’t the juiciest development for the highly-anticipated flick, but it’s a nice bit of information to know. It provides some context to Charon’s (Lance Reddick) line from the teaser where he mentions that it’s good to see Wick again “so soon.” After stepping away from the life of a hit man, John has had one hell of a week and is visiting the Continental more than ever. In a way, it makes sense that only four days separate the events of the two films. Word of John’s reappearance certainly spread through the assassin community quickly, and if Wick owes the Bowler King a favor, he would want to move swiftly on that before John decides to step away again.
When the first John Wick came out a couple of years ago, we made the argument that the property had the potential to be the next great action franchise. It remains to be seen if Chapter 2 can deliver on that promise and truly kickstart a full series of adventures featuring the character, but so far it looks like the movie will deliver. The creative team (including Reeves) know that it’s important for a sound story to be in place, and they seem to be dealing with some interesting ideas for the sequel. Reeves is hopeful that he can keep playing Wick for years to come, so hopefully moviegoers will give him that chance.
John Wick: Chapter 2 opens in U.S. theaters February 10, 2017.