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Alternate movie titles are always a welcomed form of trivia, especially when you learn that a movie like Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw was renamed Wild Speed: Super Combo in certain territories. It’s funny, but also interesting, because the title is that big first step to selling your film, which is something that Keanu Reeves taught the folks behind the successful John Wick franchise. You see, if it wasn’t for his insistence on calling the film by that name on set, we might have seen it released under its original title: Scorn.
John Wick franchise screenwriter Derek Kolstad revealed this wild story to Comicbook.com, as he credits this confusion as the impetus behind the big switcheroo:
The only reason it's called John Wick is that Keanu kept referring to it as John Wick. Marketing was like, 'Dude, that's four to five million dollars in free advertising so far, so it's John Wick instead of Scorn.' I can't imagine it being Scorn now.
Imagining the internationally successful John Wick franchise under the name Scorn feels pretty weird, especially with the current naming convention. Scorn: Chapter 2 or Scorn: Chapter 3 – Parabellum doesn’t sound as awesome as those sequel titles do now with the John Wick brand attached to them. For as much as the studio decision makers may be given a hard time for some of their more infamous notes, this is one of those cases where the easy option just happened to be the right one.
It’s made all the more apparent when you think long and hard about the idea that Keanu Reeves is behind this particular moment in history. If anyone is the most in tune with the John Wick’s franchise's eponymous character, it’s the man who plays him on the screen. Just listening to him talk about where John could go in the future is enough to really see he has quite the perspective on this reluctant hitman.
Of course, for Derek Kolstad to be able to help craft a series of exciting John Wick entries through his scripts for the first three films, he’s definitely familiar with how the man works as well. So really, his eventual acceptance of Scorn’s demise as a title is an amusing footnote, as opposed to a defeated anecdote. It's also a firm reminder to keep an open mind to whatever John Wick 4 will be titled, as we’ve still yet to hear of any potential subtitle for the famed assassin’s next hit.
John Wick 4’s delay to a May 27, 2022 release date will surely give the folks in house enough time to come up with a neat subtitle. Though as a neat reference to this particular story, maybe it should be called John Wick 4: Scorn. Just a thought.