How John Wick Transformed From Scorn to Epic Action Franchise

Lionsgate is sitting on a bonafide hit with the John Wick franchise — but you already knew that. Three films in and the Keanu Reeves-starring trilogy has grossed $577.29 million worldwide. Though it pales in comparison to the likes of a Marvel Studios tentpole, it still remains Lionsgate's most profitable franchise. With micro-budgets across every feature, the trilogy has likely made the studio around $300M in cold hard cash, even by the most liberal of Hollywood accounting standards.

Suffice to say, we're big fans of the franchise here at ComicBook.com, along with millions of others around the world. As such, we've managed to come across the first script of the franchise, all in an effort to provide you, the fellow Wickian, with whatever behind-the-scenes goodies we can. We've had a chance to pore over the script and here are a few of the things that stood out to us at first glance.

Right out of the gates, the script — which was titled Scorn at one point, before being renamed to John Wick after the titular character — has a much older John Wick. Throughout the initial script, Wick is a rugged old man in his 60's. Better yet, the same script has a character living on a farm, rather within the confines of a swanky contemporary home. In the script, he's a veteran of the armed forces that retired with honors, only to come back stateside and serve as a mercenary to the highest bidder.

As you might expect, the dog was part of the script from the get-go though there seems to be at least one change on that front — in the script, the dog was a corgi/chihuahua mix while on-screen the dog is a beagle. On that front, the "Chorgi," as the script calls her, is named Moose in the script, a name changed to Daisy in the final release. In the script, the dog makes a few appearances throughout in the form of flashbacks and such, motivating Wick on his mission.

The rest of the beginning essentially plays out in the script as it did on-screen — Wick takes his car to the gas station and bumps into Iosef (Alfie Allen) and his cronies. Later that night, the cronies managed to track Wick down, only to beat the snot out of him and yes, the horrifying dog sequence was entirely scripted out.

Here's when things start changing ever-so-slightly. Iosef's dad Viggo — played by Michael Nyqvist in the feature — is described as much older than he really is. In the film, Viggo also has a right-hand man named Avi, played by "Mayhem" himself Dean Winters. Avi is absent entirely from the initial script.

Like the final feature, Viggo hires Marcus to kill Wick but doesn't succeed because of the history between the two characters. In the script, Marcus is able to walk off to the relaxed life he was living before being hired while on-screen he (Willem Dafoe) is captured and killed by Viggo's men.

Speaking of assassins and henchmen, The Continental and its operations are by-and-large the same. Both Charon (Lance Reddick) — albeit unnamed — and Winston (Ian McShane) are in the script and have similar roles and lines to the final product. One major thing that's different about the hotel is the scene where Adrianne Palicki's character goes to assassinate Wick as he sleeps. While a similar scene is in the original script, it features a character named David and three henchmen. Wick's able to kill the henchmen and subdue David before Winston himself kills the assailant in the basement of the hotel for conducting business on Continental grounds.

Another major difference is the role of police in the film. In the script, one of the earliest action pieces involves Wick on a police chase that also involves a police helicopter, it's this scene that shows Wick's savviness with cards and driving. In the final film, however, there's only one interaction (at Wick's house) with a policeman, who is apparently well aware of who John Wick is and what he does.

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As with the entire Wick brand, there are plenty of kills throughout. In fact, this writer counted at least 55 deaths throughout the script, though some groups were omitted as no "total" was expressly stated. And suddenly, John Wick 4 can't come soon enough.

John Wick: Chapter 4 is currently set for release on May 27, 2022.