In a mostly unsurprising update Lionsgate has announced that the release date for John Wick: Chapter 4 has officially been delayed. Originally scheduled to be released on May 21, 2021 (the same original release date as The Matrix 4), the next film in the fan-favorite action series starring Keanu Reeves will now arrive in theaters on May 27, 2022. The fourth film was officially confirmed by the studio after the successful opening weekend of John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, which went on to become the highest grossing movie in the franchise so far, grossing $325 million at the worldwide box office.
This extra time to deliver the next movie will end up being a good thing in the long run, as it will offer the creative team a chance to fully develop their ideas for the film. Series co-creator and director Chad Stahelski outlined in a new interview this week that they're still toying with their ideas for the film and don't yet have a full script.
"We have, I wouldn't call it a first draft but I'd call it a 'scriptment': A written-out story, part outline, part script, part thing," Stahelski told Collider. "We know where we want to go, we know the thematics. We call it 'the toy box.' It's like a 100-and-something page document, but some of it's written. It's a good place to start. Then we start thinning it out, and then we work with the writers to get the right scenes, and then we start working with Keanu's dialogue. It's a very outward-in process for us. Then, we'll do the inward-outward process which is about character."
The stunt-man turned filmmaker also admitted no one was as surprised as he that what began as a one-off passion project has turned into a franchise that has changed modern action filmmaking and revitalized Keanu Reeves career. Sahelski also seemed to tease that they're pulling out all the stops for the new film which perhaps might be the final entry in the series.
"No one was more shocked than we were when [Lionsgate] asked us to do a second one — and that was done as a single. And then we did a third one, okay, and that was meant to be done. Now we've been asked to do a fourth one and we're like, 'Okay, they're all standalone. There's no…plan. We're kinda making it up as we go. But we finished the third one and Keanu and I are like, 'Okay, time to move on. Let's go do a romantic comedy or something. We're good.'"
Stahelski added, "Then we just kinda met each other when we were doing the publicity tour and I think we were in Japan, and Keanu goes, 'I think I got one more left in me,' and we had one idea we didn't use which we really loved and we have to cut it out of number three [Parabellum], just didn't have the space for it. So we're like, 'Okay, we'll do a fourth. That's gonna be awesome. We'll make a plan.' The studios […] went, 'We totally get what you're trying to do.' We submitted an idea or thematic [plan] and it was really big. So, we're talking about doing a little bit more than a [John Wick 4], or something like that, and trying to develop that. We'll see how that goes."
Keanu Reeves is scheduled to finish filming The Matrix 4 before beginning work on John Wick 4, which was likely one of the many factors that resulted in this drastic of a delay by the studio.