John Wick director reveals why Chapters 4 and 5 weren’t filmed back-to-back

Keanu Reeves in John Wick 4
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

When John Wick 4 and 5 were first announced, Lionsgate suggested they would be filmed back-to-back. The hope was to maximize lead actor Keanu Reeves’ availability to reprise his role as the action hero. Director Chad Stahelski has now opened up about why they went back on this decision. 

"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," he told "Sometimes you need that creative breath to come up with fresh shit. 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."

Another factor was logistics. The John Wick franchise is known for filming around the world, with the upcoming Chapter 4 expected to be set partly in Japan. Therefore, if the movies were shooting back-to-back, this would involve planning out upwards of 10 locations across two years. Stahelski thinks this could have impacted the quality of the movies.

"I think that's kind of a rip-off to the fans too," he continued. "Like you're not getting me at my best. You get me when it's 200 days in a production, we're all hammered. The choreographers are putting out the same moves. You're bored."

John Wick: Chapter 4 will be released on March 24, 2023. Lionsgate dropped a trailer at San Diego Comic-Con 2022 which saw our first look at the cast in action. Familiar faces like Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane, and Lance Reddick will all return, alongside new stars Bill Skarsgård and Donnie Yen. For what’s out in theaters this year, check out our guide to the upcoming 2022 movie release dates.

Fay Watson

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.