Derek Kolstad, creator of the John Wick film franchise starring Keanu Reeves, will not be involved in the fourth and fifth sequels that are set to emerge in the next few years — but there are no hard feelings, he says in a new Collider interview.
Kolstad has sole writing credits on the first two films, which came out in 2014 and 2017, but he shared screenplay credits with three other writers for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, which premiered in 2019. He said it wasn’t his decision to leave the franchise.
“At a certain stage of the studio will tell you, your creation is graduated, and you wish it well. I’m still close with [director] Chad [Stahelski], still close with [executive producer] Dave [Leitch], and I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m excited to see,” Kolstad told Collider.
“It wasn’t my decision. When you think of the contractually [sic] of these things, the third one I shared the credit with any number of people, they didn’t have to come back to me, and so they didn’t,” he continued. “And so you look at that and you could be hurt, and I would say if I was 20 years ago I would have been, but seeing what the industry is and how things go, I just believe that you bless everything and hope it all the best, and to the players involved who are doing other things elsewhere.”
John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum did so well financially — earning $327 million worldwide, according to BoxOfficeMojo — that the franchise was extended for two more sequels that will be shot back to back. John Wick 4 is scheduled for a May 27, 2022 release and John Wick 5 is scheduled for sometime around 2023.
But whether he’s behind the wheel or not, the franchise is still Kolstad’s baby.
“Yeah, it’s personal, so I’m never going to talk shit about John Wick,” he told Collider. “I want this thing to survive and thrive.”
Kolstad also revisited a bit of trivia familiar to diehard John Wick fans: John Wick is actually his grandfather’s name.
“In fact, Grandpa, who’s still alive, has not seen John Wick because the last R-rated movie he saw was The Piano,” he joked. “And I just liked the name and when we started going out with it as the original title, Scorn, Keanu spent so much time referring to it as John Wick that the marketing department is like, ‘Just call it John Wick. It’s going to glean us a great deal of free press.’ And so it was just in the moment. And then when it became what it was, he’s tickled, man.”