Chad Stahelski Considers The John Wick Films 'Children Of The Matrix'

The connections between the "John Wick" franchise and "The Matrix" go far, far deeper than simply the Keanu Reeves of it all. Having worked as a stunt man and coordinator on the groundbreaking action films under the Wachowski sisters (oh, and let's not forget his cameo appearance as "Chad" in "The Matrix Resurrections"), "John Wick" director Chad Stahelski brought all sorts of knowledge and insights from his experience on "The Matrix" movies to the world of John Wick. From the extensive use of wirework to prioritizing convincing stunts pulled off by the actual actors (as much as possible, at least) to guns, lots of guns, it's fair to say that the two very different action-heavy universes possess quite a bit of shared DNA.

While some filmmakers might be eager to distance themselves from such obvious references, Stahelski, Reeves, and the rest of the creative team embrace the fact that the two franchises are so intertwined. After all, why else would we have gotten a reunion between "The Matrix" stars Reeves and Laurence Fishburne as the Bowery King from "John Wick: Chapter 2" onwards? The meta appeal of seeing the two legends on screen again can't be ignored, as is the reality that the shoot-'em-up movies owe a huge amount of their existence to the sci-fi masterpiece that is "The Matrix."

In a recent interview, Stahelski and Reeves took the opportunity to heap praise on "The Matrix" and give credit where it's due for the success of "John Wick." 

'We pretty much got a decade of Wachowski film school'

Sometimes, filmmakers are lucky enough to be a part of a generation-defining, once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon that forever changes an entire genre for the better. But for an even more rarified circle of artists, they may find themselves involved with yet another sensation years down the line. That's certainly the case for both Keanu Reeves and Chad Stahelski, both of whom are able to lay claim to two separate pop culture juggernauts that have inspired multiple sequels and fired up the imaginations of countless action junkies everywhere.

With "John Wick: Chapter 4" set to release later this year, Wired recently caught up with both director and star to talk about their shared history leading up to "John Wick." During the course of their conversation, both were asked whether the ongoing story of an assassin on the run owes a "debt" to the Wachowskis' "The Matrix." Reeves took the diplomatic route, saying that, "If we're gonna compare them, they both were original ideas with visionary filmmakers." Stahelski, however, went a bit further about the connections between the two:

"No one was under any delusion that 'Matrix' wasn't going to be pretty awesome. Then David Leitch [co-director of the first Wick film] and I stayed on for 'V for Vendetta' and 'Speed Racer,' so we pretty much got a decade of Wachowski film school. The 'John Wicks' are definitely children of 'The Matrix.'"

There certainly are worse ways to get a crash course in filmmaking than to study under Lana and Lilly Wachowski for almost a decade. With "John Wick" showing absolutely no signs of slowing down, let's hope the Wachowski influence continues to be felt for many more sequels to come.

"John Wick: Chapter 4" comes to theaters on March 24, 2023.