Few movie franchises are as intimately associated with its main star as John Wick. It’s hard to imagine anyone but Keanu Reeves in the titular role, and it’s impossible to imagine the series would be as successful without him. But the reach of the High Table expands well beyond its nearly indestructible assassin. The Continental and its sister organizations connect countless hired guns from around the globe in a complex and sprawling underground criminal world of rules and customs. And while we might experience it through the eyes of John Wick, each time he takes to the streets, he affects the lives of so many others.
Now, Lionsgate is going to tell one of their tales with Ballerina, a big screen spin-off it is fast-tracking to theaters. The spin-off will focus on a ballet dancer who also wants vengeance for the loved ones taken from her.
Deadline reports Lionsgate has tapped Len Wiseman (Underworld, Live Free or Die Hard) to direct Ballerina, a film set in the John Wick universe. It will focus “on a young female assassin who seeks revenge against the people who killed her family,” and is based on a character we briefly saw in the third John Wick film. It’s not clear who that is, but as Deadline notes, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum lists Unity Phelan in the role credits as “Ballerina.” Phelan is a trained New York City ballet dancer who was seen performing for Angelica Huston’s Director, so it’s not certain Phelan would be cast in the role even if that is the very same ballerina the movie is named for.
While it is not clear whether or not Keanu Reeves will appear in the movie (though he will serve as a producer), Huston seems like the character most likely to crossover. As the head of the Ruska Roma in New York City, a collection of orphans who she trained both as dancers and assassins, she was punished for helping the excommunicated John Wick get safe passage to Casablanca. Not only was she was stabbed through both hands by Zero after the Adjudicator’s ruling, many of her men were killed during the attack on her theater. Whether through blood or adoption, those slain men could be the family the ballerina wants to avenge. Shay Hatten, who also penned John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, will write the script for Ballerina.
Unlike the John Wick prequel TV series The Continental, which is currently in development, Ballerina would have an even stronger connection to the franchise. It would not only have a direct line story-wise to the main films, it would also expand the number of associations who are ready to wage war on the High Table. John Wick 3 ended with Laurence Fishburne’s Bowery King also getting ready to rise up against the all powerful leading body. If more groups join them and John Wick, there might be no way for the High Table to dance their way out of this battle.
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike, and also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.
Featured Image: Lionsgate