The Continental: Everything We Know So Far About Peacock's John Wick Spin-Off

In Chad Stahelski's 2014 film "John Wick," audiences were introduced to an interesting piece of fantastical mythology. The title character (Keanu Reeves) is a notoriously efficient assassin, and he lives in a world where assassination is a commonplace yet well-moneyed profession. There is a strict code of conduct and a complex set of confusing rules and economics that all assassins must follow, lest they incur the wrath of the High Table, the ultra-wealthy guild that oversees the world's many murders for hire. 

At the center of the "John Wick" mythology is the Continental Hotel, a posh residence and "safe zone" where assassins are not allowed to murder each other. In addition to the usual hotel amenities — and the booze is top-shelf — the Continental also provides assassins with their many weapons, gadgets, and high-end suits that also serve as body armor. Guns are presented by "sommeliers," who talk about the bullet dispensers as if they were fine wines. The Continental also provides its guests with any possible gigs they might pick up, provided by teams of tattooed, burlesque-ready telephone operators. In the movies, the Continental is run by the wry Winston (Ian McShane) and overseen by its efficient concierge (the late Lance Reddick). 

While John Wick himself had his own merry adventures over the course of his four feature films, it was the Continental that remained of interest to many fans. As such, Lionsgate has spent the last few years developing a spinoff TV series called "The Continental," set largely at the hotel in question. McShane has said he will not reprise his role as Winston, as the series will be set a few decades prior to the events of "John Wick." 

Here's what we know so far. 

The cast

Yes, it's another origin story.

As previously reported in /Film, "The Continental" will focus on the adventures of the young Winston, and is set in 1970s New York. It will explore how the Continental first became a hotel for assassins, an intriguing notion indeed (did a High Table member buy out an existing hotel, or did they build it from the ground up?). Lionsgate TV chairman Kevin Beggs said that the series will be aiming for a 1970s grindhouse vibe, and comparisons to the film "Joker" will be welcome. 

He also said that the series will be presented as three 90-minute episodes, taking its cues from British TV shows like "Sherlock." It will be presented as a three-night miniseries-like event, making for, essentially, one gigantic 270-minute movie. This seems an appropriate outcropping for "John Wick," as the last film in the series, "Chapter 4," ran a whopping 169 minutes unto itself. 

The IMDb page for the show's first episode has been posted, and the cast will include Mel Gibson (!) as a character named Cormac, as well as Katie McGrath as a mysterious character called The Adjudicator, a professional precursor to the character played by Asia Kate Dillon in "John Wick: Chapter 3." Ray McKinnon from "Rectify" will also appear, as will Colin Woodell as the younger version of Ian McShane's character. In the first two "John Wick" movies, David Patrick Kelly played a character named Uncle Charlie, who cleaned up assassination sites. The young version of Uncle Charlie will be played by Peter Greene. The Concierge of the Continental will be played by Sallay Garnett, a precursor to Lance Reddick's Charon. The young Charon will be played by Ayomide Adegun. Also on the cast is Jeremy Bobb as a character named Mayhew.

Behind the scenes

It was originally posited that Stahelski would direct the pilot episode, but it appears directing duties have been passed to Albert Hughes (of the Hughes Brothers, directors of "Menace II Society," "Dead Presidents," and "The Book of Eli"). Only a few days ago, it was reported that "The Continental" will be moving from its original network Starz to NBC's streaming service, Peacock.

The showrunners of "The Continental" are Greg Coolidge and Kirk Ward, who will also write. Many of the "John Wick" creative team will also be involved as producers, including director Stahelski, as well as the original film's screenwriter Derek Kolstad, and the original film's co-director David Leitch. Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, the screenwriters of "Deadpool" are also on board in a writing/producing capacity. 

An actual broadcast date for "The Continental" has yet to be released, other than to say that it will be seen sometime in 2023. 

As for the story, the studio's ad copy reads thus: 

"Told from the perspective of the hotel manager, a young Winston Scott (Colin Woodell, based on Ian McShane's character in the films), is dragged through 1975 New York to face a past he thought he'd left behind. In an attempt to seize control of the iconic hotel, which serves as a meeting point for the world's most dangerous criminals, Winston charts a deadly course through the mysterious underworld of New York City."

So, it seems, "The Continental" will be a "rise to power" story set in the John Wick universe. There are worse ideas, to be sure. No word as to whether or not John Wick's parents will play a part in the series.