The John Wick franchise is evolving beyond the exploits of its title protagonist. Don’t worry, you’ll still Keanu Reeves’ character eliminating those who cross him in the future, but along with the Ballerina spinoff in development, there’s also the TV series heading to Starz centered on The Continental, the hotel chain catering to assassins and other criminals. However, full disclosure: if you’re expecting The Continental show to be another platform for Reeves’ John Wick to shine, you should toss those expectations aside.
Back in 2019, Starz then-COO Jeffrey Hirsch (now President and CEO) revealed that The Continental would be a prequel to the main John Wick film series. So it was already understood that the fully-formed John Wick we’ve watched across three movies so far wouldn’t be present in this small-screen tale, but now it’s been clarified that The Continental is set before John even entered the picture. As Lionsgate Television chairman Kevin Beggs informed Deadline:
Because we’re way back in time, way back pre-John Wick and even pre-young John Wick, that character is not finding his way into the universe. We are in the John Wick universe, but it’s way back in time. Think about the Game of Thrones prequels before you know any of the players, but you do know the world. But Keanu and Chad [Stahelski] have read every draft and been enthusiastic supporters of expanding this universe in a meaningful way. So, I never rule out anything, but at this point he’s pretty busy making his movies which are very important to us.
When The Continental was first announced in 2018, it was said that Keanu Reeves would reprise John Wick. But plans have since changed, not to mention that Reeves already has a packed schedule on the film front. However, that doesn’t mean his only involvement with The Continental was looking over drafts with director Chad Stahelski. Kevin Beggs also noted that the actor’s in talks to executive produce the show, so assuming a deal is reached, he’ll have a hand in fleshing out this other corner of the John Wick franchise.
So if John Wick won’t participate in The Continental, then who is the Starz series focusing on? That honor belongs to Winston, the manager of New York’s Continental branch played by Ian McShane in the John Wick movies. The show will follow Winston approximately 40 years before 2014’s John Wick as he and his “team of confederates” find their way into this hotel. So naturally a younger actor will play Winston for The Continental, although McShane has previously acknowledged that he might do some voice-over work.
Beyond that, no specific plot details for The Continental have been revealed yet, including the identities of the other starring characters. That being said, Kevin Beggs added that the first season will be structured as three “essentially 90-minute events” that one could “construe as a limited series or “limited event series.” In that regard, The Continental sounds more akin to something like Sherlock than your standard premium cable series.