Warning: This story contains some spoilers for events in John Wick: Chapter 2. If you’re trying to avoid any information about the film until it’s released, turn back now.
After assassin extraordinaire John Wick was left barely breathing in the first film, director Chad Stahelski and writer Derek Kolstad decided to send him to Rome — after just four days of recovery.
During the panel for John Wick: Chapter 2 at New York Comic Con, Stahelski and Kolstad — joined by actors Keanu Reeves, Common and Ian McShane — spoke about what people could expect from the highly-anticipated sequel. The film, which has been shrouded in mystery since production began, focuses on an entirely new group of assassins that Wick will have to either team up with or kill.
"The list of assassins just keeps growing," Stahelski said. "We’ve brought on Common and Ruby Rose, for example, but everyone involved kind of just leads Wick to Laurence Fishburne’s character."
The inclusion of Fishburne is something that’s been 17 years in the making, according to Reeves and Stahelski. Both started working on the concept for John Wick during production on The Matrix. After the first John Wick was released in 2014, Fishburne approached Reeves at a party and said that he enjoyed the film and would love to be a part of it if the opportunity ever arose.
"It was one of those ‘oh really?’ moments where I immediately told Chad that Laurence was interested," Reeves said.
"When we started writing the film, it was on the set of The Matrix and so the role that he has in the movie was intentionally written with him in mind as the character," Stahelski added. "We don’t want people thinking we wrote him in at the last minute. This is something we have wanted to see happen for years."
Despite Fishburne’s appearance in the movie, there’s still much about his character that is unknown. Stahelski and Reeves did say that he was "somewhat of an ally" to Wick, but wouldn’t go into much more detail. Common’s character, on the other hand, is someone that Wick will have to go toe-to-toe with over the course of the movie. Despite their multiple attempts to kill one another, however, they’re not exactly enemies.
"My character isn’t necessarily a villain," Common said.
"It’s all over a disagreement," Reeves added. "We have different points of view on ... something."
As a newcomer to the series, Common said that he was excited to join a franchise that had everything he wanted in movies and thrilled to work with people that made "really cool shit." Working with Reeves, however, was a learning experience that the actor added he’ll always carry with him as he moves onto other projects.
"Working with Keanu ...his intensity, his drive ... I love being in the scene with him," Common said. "We're both competing, you know, but this is the champ. This is the guy. You're reaching for the champ when you're working with Keanu."
While Reeves is happy to be back in the suit — something that he thanked fans for at the beginning of the panel — the biggest question people had for him was whether or not his newest canine companion lives or dies. According to producer Basil Iwanyk, audiences would have to wait and see to find out if the dog makes it to the end of the movie.
John Wick 2 hits theaters Feb. 10, 2017.