At one point, the John Wick franchise wasn't named after its titular character. During early development, the initial movie was titled Scorn, a perfect description of a retired assassin hellbent on revenge. The only problem? Franchise star and all-around good guy Keanu Reeves kept calling the movie John Wick instead of Scorn. Eventually, the studio just decided to roll with it and officially changed the name of the project to John Wick.
We recently spoke with John Wick architect Derek Kolstad and according to the screenwriter, John Wick: Chapter 4 has yet to be assigned a title like John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum. In fact, the choice will likely come down to director Chad Stahelski, who ended up choosing the name for the third movie in the franchise.
"I have no idea. Parabellum was Chad's and I love it," Kolstad tells us. "Chapter Two was, I think, I might've just put it in the heading."
That's when the writer told us of the Reeves folly that changed the name of the entire franchise. "The only reason it's called John Wick is that Keanu kept referring to it as John Wick," Kolstad says, adding, "Marketing was like, 'Dude, that's four to five million dollars in free advertising so far, so it's John Wick instead of Scorn.' I can't imagine it being Scorn now."
As Kolstad puts it, the title change was for the best as John Wick — both the name of the movies and characters — is now an integral part of pop culture, especially when it comes to action movies. With most of Hollywood shut down due to the global pandemic, the screenwriter says branding is that much more important as studios will have to power forward with whatever projects they can the second the industry reopens.
"But I think everyone out here has been a little bit rattled by what productions are going to look like, what movies are going to look like," Kolstad concludes. "And yet, when you look at IP, when you look at a successful franchise, it becomes all the more important and all the more important reason to do it well."
John Wick: Chapter 4 is due for release May 27, 2022. The first three movies are now available wherever movies are sold.
What other John Wick spinoffs would you like to see take place, if any? Think it over and let us know your thoughts either in the comments section or by hitting me up on Twitter at @AdamBarnhardt!