John Wick Chapter 2 details

The John Wick: Chapter 2 trailer released earlier this month promised more of everything we loved about the first John Wick: intense action, stylish visuals, and Keanu Reeves being an all-around badass. But that doesn’t mean we should just expect a retread of the last film, stresses Chad Stahelski. The director suggests he’s taken a page out of the Aliens playbook by going in a different direction with the sequel.

Having worked on all three of the Matrix films, Stahelski told Collider, he is well aware of the potential pitfalls of making a sequel:

The reason people love you so much sometimes is because you’re original. John Wick was an original twist on a classic tale, with a fancier look and a different way of telling the story. More like a Greek myth rather than your typical action movie. So you give away your whole hand with that, you give away originality. So how do you compete with yourself?

So, he explained, he decided to remove the pressure of trying to live up to the original by turning the movie into something else:

We decided to stop competing with the first one. Once we stopped worrying about ourselves it was fun. I mean is it as good as the first one? I don’t know. Did we go better in some ways? Yes. Did we experiment with the characters more? Yes. Everything there is better. Is the enjoyment better? I think the enjoyment is there, but it’s different.

All the other director friends I have don’t like doing sequels or don’t like doing other people’s sequels, which is even worse I think. But then there’s other examples. I think the best example is Ridley Scott. He did the first Alien. James Cameron created Aliens. Cameron, I think think is a genius for that. Going, “I’m not making the same Aliens again, I’m just gonna make it.” If I could be so bold as to take that similarity then so be it.

Indeed, even the title is meant to signal that John Wick: Chapter 2 is an attempt to differentiate it from the first film. “It was a completely conscious decision. That’s why we named it Chapter 2,” he said. “It was a like a chapter in a book. Where, if you pick up a book, you don’t have to read the beginning, you can just jump into a chapter.” I mean… I don’t know if that’s how novels are really meant to be read, but point taken — it sounds like we can expect Chapter 2 to actually advance the story, rather than simply rehash it.

John Wick: Chapter 2 sends John Wick to Rome so he can face off against some of the world’s deadliest assassins. It’s all in service of a blood oath to a former associate, who wants to take control of a mysterious assassins’ guild. A handful of characters will return from the first film, including Charon (Lance Reddick), Aurelio (John Leguizamo), and Winston (Ian McShane). New characters include the mute Ares (Ruby Rose) and the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne). Common also has a role described as “what would John Wick be like if he stayed in the business?”

John Wick: Chapter 2 is in theaters February 10, 2017.

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