Everything You Need to Know About the John Wick Prequel

Exploring the Origins of the John Wick Universe: The Continental Prequel

John Wick is undoubtedly a cinematic phenomenon, celebrated for its exhilarating action sequences and led by the iconic Keanu Reeves. With three successful entries and over half a billion dollars in global box office revenue, this franchise has captured the hearts of action movie enthusiasts worldwide. Each new installment surpasses its predecessor in earnings, signaling an ever-growing fanbase eagerly anticipating more of its decadent violence. While its stunning action sequences are undoubtedly a major draw, what truly sets John Wick apart is its immersive world-building and atmospheric storytelling. Within this neon-infused underworld of assassins and gangsters lies an enigmatic establishment, The Continental Hotel in New York City.

The Continental Hotel serves as a sanctuary in a world dominated by contract killings. Patrons can enjoy its bar, indulge in fine dining, or book a room for as long as their wallets allow. However, there’s one golden rule—no violence is permitted on the premises. Violators risk invoking the wrath of the enigmatic and formidable Winston, played by Ian McShane. Winston, with his friendly yet formal demeanor, exudes power and intrigue, leaving fans eager to learn more about his mysterious past.

Back in 2017, a spin-off series set in the John Wick universe was announced, leaving fans in eager anticipation. However, it’s been four years, almost five, since the initial announcement, and only recently have casting and plot details begun to surface. In this article, we delve into everything we know about “The Continental,” the eagerly awaited prequel series to the John Wick films.

The Plot of “The Continental”

“The Continental” is set in New York City during the tumultuous 1970s sanitation strike, a period when the city was drowning in garbage. Initially, the series was expected to run concurrently with the events of the movies and even promised appearances by Keanu Reeves. However, it has taken a different direction by transporting viewers back in time to explore the origins of The Continental Hotel and its enigmatic proprietor, Winston.

Kevin Beggs, Lionsgate’s TV Chairman, shed light on the show’s premise in an interview with Deadline in April 2021. He revealed that the series would follow a young Winston on his journey to becoming the steward of The Continental Hotel in New York. With a four-decade gap between the series and the films, the show’s creators are introducing a fresh cast to portray iconic characters. Beggs stated, “What we’re exploring in The Continental is the young Winston and how it came to be that he and his team of confederates found their way into this hotel, which we have met for the first time in the movie franchise 40 years later.”

The ambition behind “The Continental” is palpable. Between audience expectations, iconic character recasting, and the high standards set by recent action television shows like “Game of Thrones” and “Gangs of London,” the series faces significant anticipation and scrutiny. Chad Stahelski, the director known for his spectacular action sequences, expressed his hope to showcase feature-level action in a TV series. He remarked, “Yeah, I’d like to give it a go and prove to the TV world that you can have feature action on a TV show. It would be a nice little feather in my cap, sure.”

The official plot synopsis for the series, as provided by Peacock, reads:

“The three-part event will explore the origin behind the iconic hotel-for-assassins centerpiece of the John Wick universe through the eyes and actions of a young Winston Scott, as he’s dragged into the Hell-scape of 1970’s New York City to face a past he thought he’d left behind. Winston charts a deadly course through the hotel’s mysterious underworld in a harrowing attempt to seize the hotel where he will eventually take his future throne.”

Meet the Cast of “The Continental”

Taking on the role of the young Winston Scott is Colin Woodell, known for his work in “Unfriended: Dark Web.” Woodell portrays Winston in a time when he is yet to amass the power and influence that defines his character in the films.

Joining Woodell is Ayomide Adegun, who steps into the shoes of a young Charon, a character beloved by fans for Lance Reddick’s portrayal in the films. Additionally, Peter Greene, known for his role in “Pulp Fiction,” portrays Uncle Charlie, the enigmatic body disposal expert briefly featured in the movies.

The series also boasts the inclusion of Mel Gibson in the role of Cormac, although details about his character remain shrouded in mystery. This legendary actor and director join a diverse cast that includes Ben Robson, known for “Vikings,” as Frankie, Hubert Point-Du Jour from “Doctor Death” as Miles, Jessica Allain from “The Laundromat” as Lou, Mishel Prada from “Vida” as KD, and Nhung Kate from “The Housemaid” as Yen.

Behind the scenes, “The Continental” is helmed by Greg Coolidge, primarily known for his comedic writing, and Kirk Ward. The writing team includes Chris Collins, Derek Kolstad, and Ken Kristensen, all with ties to the John Wick franchise. The series also shares a substantial portion of its creative talent with the films, with key figures such as Chad Stahelski, Derek Kolstad, David Leitch, Paul Wernick, Rhett Reese, and Shawn Simmons serving as executive producers. While Chad Stahelski was initially set to direct one of the episodes, the opening and closing episodes will be directed by Albert Hughes, known for “The Book of Eli,” with an unidentified director handling the middle part.

Teasers, Trailers, and Release Date

The excitement surrounding “The Continental” reached new heights with the release of its first teaser trailer, featuring Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” on April 12, 2023. This tantalizing glimpse into the series offered fans a taste of what’s to come.

On August 9, 2023, fans were treated to the first full trailer for “The Continental,” which showcased nearly three minutes of relentless action. Alongside the trailer, several stills from the series were released, further whetting the audience’s appetite for the show.

Moreover, on August 24, a behind-the-scenes video was unveiled, shedding light on the origins of Charon and Winston’s friendship, adding depth to the characters fans have come to love.

“The Continental” is scheduled to premiere on Peacock on September 22, 2023, as a miniseries consisting of three 90-minute episodes. Originally slated for Starz, the series made a surprising move to the NBCUniversal service in August 2022. Kelly Campbell, President of Peacock and Direct-to-Consumer, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, recognizing the global appeal of the John Wick franchise and the potential of “The Continental” to become a streaming event of the year.

For international audiences, the series will be available to stream on Prime Video, ensuring that fans worldwide can delve into the captivating origins of The Continental Hotel and the enigmatic character of Winston. As the release date approaches, anticipation continues to build, promising an unforgettable addition to the John Wick universe.

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Stevie Flavio
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