John Wick is back for another life-or-death battle in his biggest (and longest) movie yet. But if you stick around for all of John Wick: Chapter 4’s nearly 170 minutes, at least you’ll get a small extra reward at the end.
The latest entry in the series about the assassin who just wants to hang up his pistols and live his life in peace does have a scene at the end of the credits. It isn’t long, and it isn’t completely critical to the plot, but it’s thematically relevant, co-writers Michael Finch and Shay Hatten told Polygon in a recent interview. It’s also pretty cool. Either way is enough reason to stick around. But if you can’t, or you’d just like a little explanation, here’s what happens in John Wick: Chapter 4’s post-credits scene.
[Ed. note: This story contains spoilers for all of John Wick: Chapter 4, both before and after the credits.]
John Wick: Chapter 4 ends on a solemn note with John’s funeral. (No, it isn’t clear whether he’s really dead.) But that isn’t all the movie has up its sleeve. After the credits, we see Caine (Donnie Yen) headed to visit his daughter with a bouquet of flowers. As he walks through a crowd, Akira (Rina Sawayama) walks toward him and unsheathes a blade, preparing to avenge the death of her father, Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada), who Caine killed earlier in the movie.
Finch and Hatten told Polygon that her hunger for revenge is the central point of the scene.
“One of the themes of this piece was to demonstrate the vertical reach of the Table,” Finch said. The High Table is the much-referenced shadowy organization that governs assassins in the John Wick movies. “Because of the events that happen in the Osaka Continental, she goes in full-force. What she doesn’t understand, and what we’re trying to demonstrate, is that you once you step into the Table, there is no stepping out. She was locked in once Caine says, [...] ‘I’ll be waiting for you.’ He knows that she’s going to come, because she’s a part of the Table. [...] She’s all in, she’s gonna go after Caine for revenge. Her story is John Wick’s story, in a lot of ways.”
This cycle of vengeance and violence is critical to the themes of the John Wick series, Hatten said.
“It shows the cyclical and cruel nature of this world, that once you get in there, it is impossible to get out,” Hatten said. “I think that’s why we empathize with John so much. No matter how many people he kills, you recognize, well, he didn’t really have a choice. He fell into this life, and now he’s just trying to get out and honor the memory of his wife. But it’s a really challenging thing to do.”
While all of this plays into the themes of the series, including revenge and the idea that the High Table sits above even the most legendary assassins that serve under it, it’s also just an exciting little cap to the movie’s story — or maybe a tease of what’s to come for the series’ future.