Parabellum: How John Wick 3’s Ending Setup Chapter 4 & Spin-Offs

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’s ending includes a stunning betrayal and creates a cliffhanger. How John Wick 3 ends leads directly into John Wick: Chapter 4 and the upcoming TV spinoff The Continental. After killing Santino D’Antonio, John Wick has been declared “excommunicado,” meaning he’s officially been blacklisted by The Continental; a safe zone for assassins and other underworld figures. There’s a $14 million bounty on Wick’s life, and a crime lord council named The High Table plots against him. Wick travels to Casablanca for help (which introduces Halle Berry’s assassin character Sofia) and then back to New York City.

In New York, John finds The Adjudicator of the mysterious High Table (Asia Kate Dillon) waiting, along with numerous assassins. John Wick 3 ends with Reeves’ character being betrayed by Winston (Ian McShane), the owner of The Continental, which presents some interesting possibilities going forward. Despite being shot, it seems John Wick will be ready for more of the high-octane action the series has become known for. Here’s how John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’s ending sets up John Wick: Chapter 4, set for release on March 24, 2023.

Winston « Kills » John Wick To Save The Continental From The High Table

Winston’s actions at the end of John Wick 3 are incredibly important for John Wick 4. John has a give-and-take relationship with The Continental’s owner. In the comparatively shorter original John Wick, Reeves’ character has just returned from retirement, but he’s respected by Winston for being a living legend. By this point, Wick hasn’t blatantly disrespected Winston. In John Wick: Chapter 2, though, he breaks the golden rule and kills a Camorra lord at The Continental. Unsurprisingly, Winston declares Wick “excommunicado” for harming the institution’s reputation (along with his own). Like John Wick, Winston lives by a personal code of conduct, but also manipulates the system to his advantage.

In John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Reeves’ character makes a deal with The Elder. He agrees to kill Winston in order to have the $14 million bounty on his head canceled. By the film’s climax, Wick refuses to carry out the order, prompting The Adjudicator to “deconsecrate” The Continental, meaning killing is now allowed on Continental grounds. Winston shoots John Wick, having negotiated with The Adjudicator to return to the fold. In this cinematic universe, the characters genuinely believe that Wick has been eliminated. But the betrayal is merely a plot device to raise the stakes even more for Parabellum’s ending.

John Wick Survives – And Is Taken To The Bowery King

It seems implausible that someone could survive both a gunshot wound and a lengthy fall from a New York City hotel — but this is John Wick. Naturally, he’s wearing a bulletproof vest, and manages not to break every bone in his body. However, he still needs to find a place to recover while escaping the High Table’s wrath for violating the Continental’s neutrality in John Wick; Chapter 2. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum sets up a new underground subplot with this narrative turn, as well as The Continental series on Peacock.

For previously helping John Wick in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, The Bowery King is punished by The Adjudicator. He receives seven lashes (or slashes) from the assassin Zero, but shockingly survives and appears in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum’s ending. Just like in John Wick: Chapter 2, he’s going to treat Reeves’ injured character. Both men have a major beef with The High Table, and both men are essentially dismissed. This concept strengthens the inherent tension within the franchise between the High Table’s elaborate system of control and the violent world it rules over.

What John Wick 3’s Ending Really Means

The ending of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum sets up a stronger storyline for John Wick 4. While John Wick 3 is primarily about survival and immediacy, John Wick: Chapter Four will undoubtedly provide more character depth. When John Wick manages to survive he’s assisted by The Tick Tock Man, an associate of The Bowery King — who himself is the head of the Soup Kitchen, an underground intelligence network. The John Wick franchise examines loss, perspective, and existentialism. These concepts aren’t limited to John, though. Thus far, the John Wick movies have focused primarily on Keanu Reeves’ character, but the world will soon expand if the Parabellum ending is any indication.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum foreshadows what’s to come through The Bowery King’s dialogue. He states, “Under the table is where shit gets done.” This quotation suggests that there’s clear narrative conflict between characters from the lower depths and those with immense power, such as the High Table and possibly even John Wick’s family. The ending of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum suggests that characters like The Adjudicator will be more fully developed in John Wick 4. The John Wick Chapter 4 trailer suggests that the next installment will further develop the setting.

John Wick: Chapter 4 Is About Revenge Against The Continental & High Table

For John Wick 4, the franchise has subtly changed its premise. Rather than focusing on one man’s quest for vengeance, the storyline now involves clashes between class systems. It’s a David vs. Goliath story; the underground against The High Table. This allows the franchise to represent various demographics, and to offer up a societal commentary, all the while staying true to practical concepts like shelter, survival, and personal bonds such as those between John Wick and Winston.

Still, the heart of the story remains the same. John Wick has been betrayed. The Adjudicator represents The Big Bad (she’s the face of The High Table), while Winston is the disloyal friend, a man who stabbed John Wick in the back and left him for dead. Now, John Wick is even more bloodthirsty, and he’s enlisted an underground organization that will inevitably rise up from the ashes, so to speak. John Wick 4 will see John literally take on the upper class in the form of the Marquis de Gramont, who challenges him to a duel that is anything but fair.

How John Wick 3’s Ending Sets Up The Continental TV Show

In January 2018, Starz greenlit the John Wick spinoff series The Continental, which won’t feature Keanu Reeves. The series will be based on the franchise’s neutral ground hotel, though Ian McShane won’t reprise his role as Winston. Instead, the series will be set in the 1970s and feature a young Winston, with other cast members including Mel Gibson, Jessica Allain, Mishel Prada, and Katie McGrath as a young or previous version of The Adjudicator. While the series was originally greenlit at Starz, Lonsgate later announced that it had moved to Peacock, where it is expected to premiere in 2023.

The John Wick franchise began by focusing on one man’s journey and has since transformed into a narrative about the common man vs. big institutions. It certainly sounds like The Continental will continue John Wick’s themes, with references to real events such as New York labor struggles and the mafia’s peak power. The chaos of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum set up the structure for a new story, The Continental (and John Wick 4).

Who Is Returning For John Wick 4 (And Who’s Joining Them)

John Wick: Chapter 4 will feature a number of returning cast members. John, Winston, and The Bowery King will all be returning, following up from their actions in John Wick: Chapter 3’s ending. Also back will be Lance Reddick as Charon and Bridget Moynahan as John’s late wife Helen. The character of The Elder will also be back, but played by George Georgiou instead of Said Taghamoui as he is in Parabellum.

Joining the cast will be martial arts legend Donnie Yen as John’s ally Caine, Bill Skarsgard as the villainous Marquis de Gramont, an addition names including Hiroyuki Sanada, Scott Adkins, Clancy Brown and Rina Sawayama. With a fifth John Wick movie and the Ana de Armas-starring spinoff Ballerina in development, John Wick: Chapter 4’s ending could set up even more deadly adventures in the future.