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John Wick 4’s alternate ending was “absolutely” worse, said audiences

Director Chad Stahelski has revealed that they filmed an alternate ending to John Wick which made Wick's fate unambiguous, but test audiences hated it.

John Wick 4

[There are obviously spoilers ahead for John Wick 4!] Although the ending of John Wick 4 seemed pretty definitive – regarding the death of Keanu Reeves’ main character – fans are still hoping that it was some sort of fake-out and are holding out hope for a John Wick 5. Director Chad Stahelski has now told Empire magazine that they shot an alternate ending to John Wick 4 where Wick lived, but test audiences absolutely hated it.

“We had a different ending,” Stahelski tells Empire in a new interview looking back on the fourth movie. “[The theatrical ending] was the ending Keanu and I wanted, but we shot a different ending.” Namely, one that ended any ambiguity over John’s fate at the end of acclaimed the action movie series.

“We shot an ending where you actually saw John Wick at the end of the movie. So it was very clear that he was still alive. The audiences we tested with absolutely preferred the ambiguous ending.”

Stahelski explained that John Wick 4 came about because he and Reeves felt like John Wick 3 would have been an unsatisfying end for the John Wick movies. “We didn’t feel like we had done our best. We both felt like we could have ended the series better. We didn’t feel like we stuck the landing, and that’s a shitty feeling. Because we love the character, we love working together, we love the world. I said, ‘I’d be pissed if that’s how they ended the whole series. I’d be pissed at the director.'”

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Whether there is a John Wick 5 or not (and given the box office success of Chapter 4, it seems likely), we know we’re getting more of the Wick universe. The TV series The Continental comes out in September 2023, and is a 70s-set prequel focused on a younger version of Ian McShane’s Winston. There’s also spin-off movie Ballerina starring Ana de Armas to look forward to.

Check out our guide to the best thriller movies.