The reach of the High Table is vast in the John Wick universe. 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 most often 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 John Wick spin-off. The spin-off will focus on a ballet dancer who also wants vengeance for the loved ones taken from her. And, officially, Ana de Armas will star in the upcoming Ballerina movie. And most recently, it was announced that The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus would join the John Wick movie. We have our fingers crossed hard for a scene between him and Keanu Reeves, should he appear.
Catalina Sandino Moreno and Gabriel Byrne will also star opposite of de Armas. On top of this, Ian McShane will reprise his John Wick 4 role as Winston, the manager of The Continental Hotel, in the Ballerina movie. And, in an extremely exciting piece of news, Deadline reports that Keanu Reeves is in negotiations to appear in Ballerina as John Wick himself. de Armas seems to have confirmed the news, noting she and Reeves had some battle scenes together.
Anjelica Huston will officially reprise her role as The Director in the John Wick movie as well. And she’ll will be joined by Lance Reddick, who returns as Charon, one of the concierges at the Continental Hotel.
The film has also now begun production. Lionsgate has tapped Len Wiseman (Underworld, Live Free or Die Hard) to direct Ballerina. According to franchise star Keanu Reeves, Ballerina takes place between John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum and the upcoming Chapter 4. The John Wick film 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, but we don’t know for certain if Phelan will return alongside Armas, Reeves, Huston, and McShane in any capacity.
Aside from Keanu Reeves as John Wick, Huston was always 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 did she get stabbed through both hands by Zero after the Adjudicator’s ruling, but many of her men died 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. Additionally, Promising Young Woman’s Emerald Fennell has come aboard to help write the movie’s script.
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, but 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. Ballerina will release on March 23, 2023.
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.
Originally published December 5, 2022.
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