Why John Wick 4 & 5 Did Not Film Back-to-Back


Simultaneous shooting of John Wick: Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 would have exhausted director Chad Stahelski, citing the need for a “creative breather.”

John Wick director Chad Stahelski explains why John Wick 4 and John Wick 5 did not film back to back. Stahelski has been one of the driving forces for the John Wick series, directing all three of the first films, as well as producing John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Now, Stahleski returns to the series again with John Wick: Chapter 4, for which he is a director and producer. John Wick: Chapter 4 is set for release in 2023.

When the John Wick: Chapter 4 and John Wick: Chapter 5 films were announced, they were originally planned to be shot simultaneously. This strategy has become common to major franchise films, who will shoot two or more of the films simultaneously and then release them one or two years apart (e.g. The Lord of the Rings, Avatar). Later, however, the creative team behind the John Wick films decided to split up the filming of Chapter 4 and Chapter 5. John Wick: Chapter 4 is in post-production, whereas production updates about John Wick: Chapter 5 have yet to be revealed.

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Stahelski speaks out about the decision to split up the filming of John Wick: Chapter 4 and John Wick: Chapter 5, in a recent interview with ComicBook. In short, the projects were just too much to take on simultaneously. Stahelski elaborated on this point, explaining that taking a “creative breath” in between the films makes each new John Wick storyline seem all the more “fresh.” Though Stahelski recognizes that “other franchises” have used this method, shooting simultaneously, but that does not feel right for his own creative process. Stahelski tries to “change choreographers and [] rotate stunt teams on literally every film,” making the logistics of filming back-to-back all the more complicated. Check out the full statement from Stahelski below:

“It seems in the other franchises that have tried it, they just feel like the same thing done again, right? Like there’s no new influence. Sometimes you need that creative breath to come up with fresh s***. Otherwise I’m stressed out about making two movies instead of one really good one. I’m just not that bright. I’m not that clever. I’m not that good as a director to project my vision years into the future and do two great movies.

Like this way, I change choreographers and I rotate stunt teams on literally every film and we’re always trying to be creatively better. And we’re trying to outdo ourselves from last time. I think it would be unfair to our fan base and unfair to the property in general to just stretch it out in the sake of efficiency or financial or creative efficiency. I’d rather do it, take a breather, get our s*** together, analyze our mistakes and see what worked and what didn’t.”

Keanu reeves in john wick 4

Stahelski’s comments give further insight into the director’s creative process and instill some level of confidence in the John Wick sequels. Stahelski is clearly concerned with straying away from repetitive franchise films that “just feel like the same thing done again.” By filming John Wick: Chapter 4 and John Wick: Chapter 5 separately, the creative team can avoid the potential inertia of staying in the identical world of one film, and make sure each film takes on unique facets of the universe. When they take “a breather” and “analyzing [their] mistakes” to “see what worked and what didn’t,” the creative team can engage in a critical thinking process regarding the franchise and the most effective filmmaking tools to make the franchise great, boding well to the quality of John Wick: Chapter 5 after the filming of Chapter 4.

With John Wick: Chapter 5 still down the pike now, the creative team will have ample opportunity to make new decisions and examine their existing franchise material. The John Wick franchise will also have even more to work with as the spinoff film Ballerina, starring Ana de Armas, releases next year as well. With this expanding John Wick universe, the eventual director (who has yet to be officially declared as Stahelski) and creative team behind John Wick: Chapter 5 will have plenty to grapple with after making John Wick: Chapter 4. Hopefully, updates on the fifth film, including a production schedule or release date, will still be soon to come.

More: Why John Wick 5 Needs To Be A Team-Up Movie

Source: ComicBook

  • John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)Release date: Mar 24, 2023
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