The Creative Direction for John Wick Was Initially Very Different

Although Keanu Reeves recently reprised his role of Neo for The Matrix Resurrections, he’s busier with the role of John Wick. Reeves debuted as the former hitman in 2014 and played his part perfectly. His character is drawn back into the criminal underworld after his dog is fatally hurt, and the story continues through three movies, with next year marking Keanu’s fourth outing in the action-packed series. However, before Reeves took on the role, the assassin was envisioned as looking very differently.

John Wick Was Going to Be Much Older and Played by a Different Actor

The Creative Direction for John Wick Was Initially Very Different

While everyone knows John Wick to be portrayed by Keanu Reeves, this wasn’t always going to be the case for the mysterious hitman. In an excerpt from a book on the topic of the franchise, Basil Iwanyk, one of the producers, recalled the original depiction of the character. There, he stated that initially, the movie was to be called “Scorn,” and there was a lot of buzz about it, followed by a bidding war that resulted in what is now John Wick being acquired by Lionsgate. In this version of the script, the lead character was going to be around the age of 70 and already retired 25 years.

Through his agent, Jimmy Darmody, Keanu Reeves managed to obtain Derek Kolstad’s script. At the time, Keanu was doing movies like 47 Ronin and Man of Tai Chi and was nowhere near the same age as how John Wick was crafted by Kolstad. Still, Reeves decided he wanted to get involved in the movie but chose to play a much younger version of the hitman.

John Wick Is Getting Another Sequel, a Prequel Series, and a Spinoff

Casting Keanu Reeves in the role of John Wick was definitely a good choice because the movie not only received positive critical reception but also made $86 million worldwide with a budget within the $20-30 million range. This performance was sufficient to greenlight John Wick: Chapter 2, spawning what’s today a very popular franchise.

In addition to John Wick: Chapter 4 premiering on March 24, 2023, there is John Wick: Chapter 5 in the works, the Ballerina spinoff, and a prequel event series for Starz called The Continental.