Warning - the following article features major spoilers for all episodes of The Continental.
John Wick spin-off series The Continental was certainly full of surprises, concluding with an explosive finale which saw Winston finally take on Cormac and his army. Amidst all the action was the reveal of former police detective KD’s (Mishel Prada) true identity, as she tells Winston (Colin Woodell) that the house he and his brother Frankie (Ben Robson) set fire to when they were children was actually her home. Losing her family in the blaze, KD has been set on a revenge mission ever since.
It’s a neat twist, but one executive producer and director (of episodes 1 and 3) Albert Hughes says audiences should have seen coming, telling GamesRadar+ that the clues were there from KD’s very first scene: "When she’s in bed with Mayhew, in the script for that scene they describe her scarring – and when you watch that episode, you can see it right there. Some people read that scene as something other than what it is, seeing it as her simply wanting to dominate a man, but it’s not that. Her whole mission throughout is to get to The Continental and if she has to use this chump along the way, she will."
Because of this, Hughes actually sees KD as the show’s real protagonist, despite it being billed as a young Winston’s origin story. So, for the filmmaker, KD therefore had to be the one to ultimately kill Cormac (Mel Gibson), not Winston, which is probably what audiences were expecting: "That was always our plan as she is actually low-key the protagonist of the whole story. She’s the only outsider in this universe, with that event from her childhood being the catalyst for everything. The women take care of the baddies in episode 3, which is refreshing. Winston meanwhile is more like the character from the films, sipping back enjoying his whisky, a chess player who doesn’t really get his hands dirty. Although he does in the final act which causes some problems."
Meeting your maker
"Some problems" is certainly an understatement, as Winston chooses to demonstrate the power he now wields by killing the Adjudicator (Katie McGrath) himself, point blank with a gun. Now, whilst the High Table doesn’t seem to have too much of an issue with that for now, letting Winston take over running The New York Continental hotel, our bet is that there will be serious implications in the long-term - this is the High Table after all. Hughes agrees, also adding that he has his own theory regarding the Adjudicator's intentions with Winston, before he shot her dead, of course. As he tells us, he believes she also wanted Cormac dead: "It’s a pretty bold thing for young Winston to do – how does he wiggle out of that? We know he survives, but is he punished for it? He realised she was part of something she wasn’t meant to be part of. My theory is that she had ulterior motives and wanted Cormac gone – so she concocted a lot of this so he could meet his maker."
Whilst Cormac "meets his maker", Hughes believes that this isn’t true for many of the show’s other characters, hence the finale has been deliberately left open-ended. In fact, as the filmmaker reveals, the series even concludes with a fun nod to the first John Wick movie: "After episode 3, there still needs to be a judgement day for a lot of characters – and how that gets handed down will be interesting. We wrap it up in a way that you can move forward or just stop there, not do any more. With Winston, we place him in the exact same wardrobe that you see him in his first scene of John Wick – even the same drink. You will either see more of this younger guy or next time, it will be the older guy."
What lies ahead
Hughes emphasises that he "hasn’t heard anything" yet from streaming service Peacock on whether there will be a season 2, stating that it is ultimately up to them. However, he admits that he has been "daydreaming" about where the show could go next, especially since there is still so much of Winston’s history pre-John Wick that could be explored. For example, why does he have a Ruska Roma tattoo? As Hughes explains, there are plenty of questions to be answered: "I would like to see if he becomes what he hated. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The red bird landing on the ledge with Cormac in episode 1, to then appearing in the penthouse with Winston during the finale, that’s symbolic – like a canary in a coal mine. Does the power go to his head? Does he then learn a lesson about wielding it with a benevolent hand instead of a dictatorial one, which Cormac did?"
If there is indeed a season 2, the team will once again have to up the ante with the action scenes – like with the John Wick movies, audiences will expect each follow-up to be bigger and better than the previous instalment. For stunt coordinator and action director Larnell Stovall, a veteran from the John Wick films, this is a challenge he welcomes: "If you are competing against yourself and measuring the bar high, that’s a good challenge. So, take Yen (Nhung Kate) for example. The first time we see her she puts an iron into a guy’s head – we started off strong. We then had to look at what’s next, which is a scene in a theater. So, we made that less about martial arts and more about booby traps, she’s an assassin moving around the room. Like with the Wick movies, there’s tons of action, so you have to do your best, make each one exciting, and include lots of variety with the kills."
Guns, lots of guns
Now, "variety", that’s something we see plenty of as The Continental features numerous different fight scenes. Therefore the question is, which is Stovall’s favorite from the series? After some hesitation, he gives us his answer: "The phone booth one [from episode 3] is a favorite as it was a unique challenge. I’m always looking for something I haven’t done before and this was so technical, making it brutal but doing that safely in such a tight space. It was fun!"
Director Hughes meanwhile has a different choice: "So, Larnell thought the speakeasy fight with Miles and Lou would be the show’s crown jewel, but then I saw Yen and Gretel fight on the rooftop. That’s when I knew they were wrong, as it was this one! It turns the trope of catfighting on its head – these badass women are fighting each other using their particular set of skills. For instance, Marina Mazepa, who plays Gretel, comes from a contortion background, which you finally see here. We have seen two men have face-offs a million times, but not this."
Stovall is delighted to hear this, admitting that he’s glad because it was the most difficult sequence to pull off: “It was the toughest one even though it went the smoothest. As an audience member, for me the last 15/20 minutes of a show determines if it sucked. If the pay-off isn’t there, you don’t remember the rest. We knew these girls were hitting like two trains and wanted to fight, so that became a focus for me, planning that, which started three months before we shot it. It’s a dance and actually, a lot of it wasn’t in the script, some of it came from just doing the fight scene.They drop all their guns etc, their weapons become their fists. We wanted it to be grounded and dirty, not pretty or posey.” Well, it certainly is that.
Whether we will once again check into The Continental is yet to be seen, although Hughes and co. remain hopeful. But one thing is for certain - if we do, we will need guns, lots of guns.
All episodes of The Continental are available to watch on Peacock in the US and Prime Video internationally. You can fill out your watchlist with our guide to the best shows on Amazon Prime Video.