John Wick 4 Story & Ending Explained

John Wick: Chapter 4 is now out in theaters, continuing the bloody saga of Keanu Reeves unkillable hitman who has a soft spot for dogs. Fans pack into theaters to see Reeves and director Chad Stahelski pull off top-level movie action sequences with their team of martial arts masters and daredevil stunt teams – and in the midst of all the punching, kicking, stabbing, and shooting, it can be hard to remember what the actual storyline of this franchise is – especially four films into it. We've come a long way from the simple beginnings of a man getting revenge for the murder of his dog, and John Wick: Chapter 4 expands the world of the franchise in some of the biggest ways we've seen, yet. 

If you don't care about SPOILERS, or just need a quick breakdown of the events you saw, then check out our recap of everything that happens in John Wick 4

What Happened At The End of John Wick 3? 

(Photo: Lionsgate)

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum saw John Wick fight his way to The Elder (leader of the assassin world) in order to reverse his excommunicado status, and get every assassin in the world off his trail. However, the price for John's renewed fealty to the High Table was killing his friend Winston (Ian McShane). John refused to do it and instead fought for The Continental Hotel with Winston and concierge Charon (Lance Reddick). In the end, though, Winston maneuvered to get himself and the Continental NYC re-instated, and ended up shooting John off a roof, leaving him for dead. Instead, the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) rescued John and hid him away, so that they could both heal and get revenge on the High Table. 

John Wick: Chapter 4 Story & Ending Explained

(Photo: Lionsgate)

John Wick: Chapter 4 picks up right from where Chapter 3 ended: with John Wick back on his feet and healed, ready to go after The High Table. The majority of the fourth film sees John fighting that uphill battle – starting with returning to face The Elder. The Elder that took John's finger (and wedding ring) in Chapter 3 is gone, but John executes the one replacing him, starting an all-out war with the High Table. 

Wick goes on the run, but the collateral damage from his acts washes over those remaining friends he has. The High Table unleashes the aristocratic (and sadistic) Marquis Vincent de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård) to handle the John Wick situation, but the Marquis' methods prove to be extremely brutal. The Marquis makes his introduction by bringing Winston and Charon in and making them witness the demolition of the NYC Continental before he executes Charon to teach Winston a lesson. 

To track down John, the Marquis hires and/or coerces several highly skilled assassins – including John's old (blind) friend Caine (Donnie Yen), and The Tracker (Shamier Anderson). The Marquis also sends his own team of elite High Table enforcers out on the kill, and it becomes a race to see who gets to John Wick first. That chase goes through Japan's Osaka Continental, the Ruska Roma HQ in Berlin, and then to Paris, where John must battle his way to confronting the Marquis (and Caine) in a pistol duel. The terms of the duel are simple: If John (and his sponsor Winston) wins, his excommunicado is lifted, while Wilson negotiates to get the Continental and his status as manager back; if Caine wins, he is free from all obligations to the High Table and his daughter remains safe. For John Wick, the stakes are dire no matter the outcome. 

The duel requires John and Caine to shoot single bullets at one another at 30 paces, then 20, and then 10, where missing is not an option. Both John and Caine suffer severe injuries in the first two rounds, but in the third round, John holds his bullet back, fooling the Marquis into thinking the duel is over. The Marquis arrogantly steps in to finish John off and instead catches the final bullet John saved, right in the forehead. 

John Wick: Chapter 4 ends with John Wick dying of his injuries, on the steps of the temple where the duel is held. John is buried next to his wife Helen (Bridget Moynahan) by Winston and the Bowery King, with his tombstone bearing the inscription John wanted: "Loving Husband." John's death serves a full-circle turn for the series: he was freed from service as an assassin after winning the duel, but the Marquis correctly called out that if he kept living, he would continue to take life as a killer. John's death is his ultimate release, as he gets to die a (somewhat) righteous man, ready to be reunited with his wife. 

However, even though John Wick dies at the end, John Wick: Chapter 4 makes sure to let fans know the franchise isn't over yet...

NEXT: John Wick 4 Reveals A Pivotal Post-Credits Scene