John Wick 3 Director on Why Winston Shot John Wick

John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum included the series' biggest twist yet – in the closing moments, Winston (Ian McShane) pumps a bullet (or two) into John Wick (Keanu Reeves), seemingly sending him plummeting to his death. If you've seen the movie, you know by now Wick didn't die. In fact, he was rescued by Tick Tock Man (Jason Mantzoukas) and taken to The Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne). Though beat to hell, he's still very much alive. As you might expect, Wick director Chad Stahelski says there's much more than meets the eye when it comes to the Parabellum climax.

"When we came up with the whole John Wick way we wanted to do this on the original, my partner David Leitch, Keanu and I all sat down, and we were like, 'Look, these are the things we hate about some of the action movies that are currently going on. Everything’s spelled way too much out for everybody,'" Stahelski told THR in a recent interview. "If you get notes from the studio, or anything like that, everything’s got to be on the nose. We just wanted to be ambiguous about the world, where John’s from... That’s why we leave some of the questions at a fork in the road."

But that doesn't answer whether or not Winston – a character that's been portrayed as a mentor to the titular assassin – purposefully shot Wick and caused him to fall off a skyscraper. "Did Winston mean to shoot him? He meant to shoot him. Did he mean to kill him? That’s open for interpretation. You can take it one of two ways, and that’s kind of where we pick up some of the unanswered questions in John Wick 4," the filmmaker adds. "Again, I like open-ended questions, sometimes, where not everything gets answered. I also like satisfying the audience, but I like leaving a little to your imagination and a little open for debate. And remember, the John Wick world is a little wacky."

Stahelski then gave a proper shoutout to the writers involved with the Wick franchise – creator Derek Kolstad and Shay Hatten (Army of the Dead) – making sure they keep everything in line. "A lot of people have problems with it because it’s not a good guy story, per se. Everybody wants to make a hero, everybody wants the guy that gets the girl, wins the game and saves the world," Stahelski says.


As most suspect, Winston had an ulterior motive behind shooting Wick, who was wearing his special bulletproof suit. "Winston was kind of boxed in. Did he hope that John was going to live? Eh? He likes John. I would hope so," the director concludes. "Did he know he was going to survive the 56-foot fall down to an alleyway? I don’t know. That’s a little ambiguous. Winston is a bit of a gambling man. So, I’d like to think, personally, that Winston’s a very smart guy, and he doesn’t do anything that wasn’t planned. I don’t think he’s impetuous at all, so I’m going to leave you with that."

The first three John Wick films are now available wherever movies are sold.