You know, usually I go into a John Wick movie just wanting to turn my brain off and enjoy 2 hours of gunplay, hand-to-hand combat, head shots, world-building and great stunt work. I didn’t really think there was any deeper meaning to such a franchise that continues to get better and better.
But in the age of the internet, anyone can log on and analyze (for better or worse) anything of their choosing. Even the John Wick franchise. Then again, now that I’m thinking about it, I once saw a poster at school where college students could take a class entitled “The Films of Keanu Reeves.” True story. So, it’s not that far-fetched to learn that someone on the internet has done a deep-dive into the Wick series and found a much more profound thinking behind it.
Shared to Reddit by user u/Coces, the trending theory suggests that the John Wick franchise is really about the five stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. For those counting, that means, using this theory, we’ll get two more sequels.
“Im not sure if this is something thats been discussed anywhere else but I was re-watching the series and noticed how often the characters reference grief, loss and death & when watching all movies back to back the plots surround each of the stages of grief.”
The user then breaks down each entry in the franchise and I have to say, they make a pretty compelling argument.
“Denial – JW: John’s living by himself with his wife’s things left around the house and in the bathroom, untouched as if she’ll come back to use them -trying to live normally and act like nothings wrong but we see him in anguish driving recklessly in his car.”
The next stage for John Wick: Chapter 2 is anger, which fits perfectly because the body count is much higher and ends with Wick making a huge mistake.
“Anger – Chapter 2: His killing spree from the first movie entices Santiago to pull him out of retirement, use and betray John. His anger gets the better of him and he kills on Continental grounds.”
For John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, bargaining becomes a major theme of the story, as the user explains:
“Bargaining – Parabellum: Begging his connections for help; the doctor for meds, the director for a ticket, forcing Sofia’s marker, guidance from Berrada. Walking through the desert to find the high table and ask them for another chance to live.”
For the last two stages, the user is basically pitching the last two John Wick movies using depression and acceptance as the motivating factors.
“Depression – The fourth movie would probably exist around the depressive stage of grief where John is forced to stay in the life but never getting that “chance to deserve the memory of love” he has a choice of killing Winston or getting revenge with Bowery. He’d become an empty shell, slower and sloppy (as was mentioned a lot in Parabellum).
Acceptance – Whatever the choices may be, the final stage of grief could be John finally coming to terms with who he is/was and continuing as an assassin, dying, or taking his dog & car to go home for good.”
If anyone was ever going to write their college thesis on John Wick, this would be it. Now we just have to wait and see how much of this rings true. After all, according to Reeves, he’ll make as many movies as the character as the fans want.