With John Wick: Chapter 4 dominating the box office, this week’s general cultural conversation has largely turned to a single question: “Is John Wick dead?” The movie purposefully doesn’t answer that question, with writers Michael Finch and Shay Hatten telling Polygon that viewers are meant to interpret John Wick 4’s finale however they want.
Releasing studio Lionsgate has already given John Wick: Chapter 5 a green light for production, though, and Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Chair Joe Drake recently told Deadline the studio is “not ready to say goodbye to Keanu with this franchise.” Given its success, there likely will be a John Wick 5, but series director Chad Stahelski tells Polygon he isn’t ready to commit to it as his next project — and that in fact, he hasn’t confirmed what his next project will be.
Stahelski currently has a whopping 11 different projects listed on IMDb.com as “in development” or “in pre-production.” Classified, for instance, is a thriller built around a vault of secret relics akin to the one seen at the end of Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. New Line Cinema won an auction for that movie in 2021, with Stahelski attached to produce and direct under his 87Eleven Entertainment banner. He’s also signed on to a TV series called Vice City, produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and envisioned as a gritty ’80s heist drama set in Miami in the wake of the Iran-Contra scandal. (It’s unaffiliated with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.) And then there’s a planned reboot of the Highlander movie franchise, billed as starring former Superman Henry Cavill.
What’s Stahelski working on most actively right now, though? None of the above, he tells Polygon — he’s still coming down from John Wick 4 and waiting to see which of his planned projects actually comes together.
“Hollywood’s got this magic algorithm — cast availability, my availability, crew availability,” he says. “Is the script ready? Is the budget set? Do we have locations? There are all these things that go into [moving a project into production]. That’s why you read that so many times, about directors [having several movies in progress]. It’s not like we have five choices all ready to go. A lot of things have to come into play to make a movie happen — you’d be surprised how much.”
He does have some preferences, though, in terms of what he’d like to see move up the priority list. “I can tell you the things [on my docket] I love most,” he says. “I’m very proud to be attached to Michael B. Jordan’s Rainbow Six. I couldn’t be happier about Ghost of Tsushima, which is one of my favorite properties on the list by far — a chance to do a Ridley Scott gladiator version of a samurai film, with the aesthetics and the looks that I like to do. To build that world would be pretty impressive.
“Of course, we’re still attached to the Highlander world. And with Netflix, we have Black Samurai, which is an amazing sci-fi series we’re trying to get going. And those are what’s at the forefront of my list.”
Stahelski says part of the reason he hasn’t started work on his next movie or show is he prefers to stick to one project at a time. “To be honest, I stay very, very focused,” he says. “I wish I was more of a multitasker. I’m not like other directors that have, like, 10 things going on. I tried to get John Wick: Chapter 4 out the door, do the best job we can with it, and then just kind of empty the the psychological and intellectual palette. And then we’ll jump in.”
That said, with John Wick 4 in theaters, he expects to get one of these projects underway soon. “My team has been working on all of these things the same time. Now with Wick out of the way, I can concentrate, and I’ll see which one I can get going. I mean, I love to work. I’d love to be shooting this year. So it’s gonna be whichever one I can get on track first.”