Keanu Reeves And Ian McShane To Return In John Wick Spin-Off Ballerina

Spin-off movies can be pretty hit or miss, with some feeling like a cheap cash grab while others sincerely expand an already beloved universe. Fortunately, everything we've learned so far regarding the "John Wick" spin-off starring Ana de Armas, "Ballerina," seems to point toward the latter. As was reported today by Collider, Lionsgate has closed a deal with franchise stars Keanu Reeves and Ian McShane to reprise their roles as the titular hitman and Winston, the manager of the Continental Hotel. Production on the film begins on Monday in Prague, with "Underworld" series and "Live Free or Die Hard" director Len Wiseman at the helm, working off a script by Shay Hatten ("John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum," "Army of the Dead," "Army of Thieves") with punch-ups from "Killing Eve" and "Promising Young Woman" scribe, Emerald Fennell.

The film is being produced by Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee, and "John Wick" creator Chad Stahelski, with Brady Fujikawa and Chelsea Kujawa overseeing the project for Lionsgate. "We're thrilled to have Ian McShane joining us for a pivotal role in 'Ballerina,'" said Iwanyk in a press release. "He's been such an integral part of the franchise since the original 'John Wick.' It's been fun to have him on this journey as the 'Wick' universe expands." 

For those who need a refresher on how Winston fits into the world of "John Wick," the man appeared to have betrayed our hero during the climax of "John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum," shooting him off the Continental Hotel roof and onto the streets. We won't know if this was an act of betrayal or salvation until the next installment, but the duo's mere presence in "Ballerina" is something worth getting excited about.

Welcome back to the Continental Hotel

Not much has been made public regarding the plot of "Ballerina" outside of the basic "young woman trained to be a killer uses her kill skills to enact a revenge plot," which could also serve as the plot for any number of women-led martial arts movies. Fortunately, because this is the world of "John Wick" we're talking about, there's no way on Keanu Reeves' green earth that "Ballerina" won't have some surprises hidden beneath her pointe shoes. 

The idea for Ana de Armas' "Ballerina" was first introduced in "John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum," where we learned that Anjelica Huston's character, The Director, runs a ballet company of trained assassins in addition to serving as the head of the Ruska Roma crime syndicate. 

However, we still don't know where in the "John Wick" canon the events of "Ballerina" take place. Is it a prequel? A sequel? A film that runs parallel to the events of "Chapter 2" or "3?" With Reeves appearing as John Wick and Ian McShane returning as Winston, this all but guarantees at least one absolute banger of a scene at the Continental, the hotel home base for assassins with its own set of exclusive "no killing" rules. A prequel series centered on the hotel is currently in production because there's no such thing as too much "John Wick."

The duo can both be seen in "John Wick: Chapter 4," which debuts in theaters everywhere on March 23, 2023.