classified

Since the release of 2014’s hit action film John WickChad Stahelski has kept a pretty modest profile, at least compared to his John Wick co-director and fellow former stunt coordinator David Leitch. In the past seven years, Stahelski has strictly stuck to directing the John Wick movies, with the occasional dalliance as a second-unit director or uncredited stunt coordinator in films like Birds of Prey. A few new films were announced, though no new features have made their way to the big screen yet. But Stahelski is starting to venture beyond the shadowy world of Wick to helm a new action-thriller for New Line called Classified.

Deadline broke the news that New Line has picked up the action-thriller package Classified, with John Wick: Parabellum director Chad Stahelski attached to direct.

Penned by Andrew Deutschman and Jason Pagan (Project Almanac, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension), Classified is described as a “high octane, cat-and-mouse thriller, in the vein of ‘Die Hard’ meets ‘Indiana Jones,’ set inside a top secret government bunker that contains relics covertly recovered during World War II — that turn out to be more powerful and dangerous than ever imagined,” per The Wrap.

This would not be the first non-John Wick project that Stahelski has been announced to be helming. In 2016, Stahelski signed on to reboot the Highlander franchise, though the project has been long in the works and could potentially turn into a TV series. In 2017, it was announced that Stahelski would be directing an adaptation of the comic book Kill or Be Killed. In 2018, it was to helm the film Analog. And of course, amidst all this, Stahelski is preparing to shoot the fourth installment of the John Wick franchise, after directing the first three films. It’s unclear at what stages in development all of Stahelski’s various projects are, but it seems like Classified is another one that can be added to the list.

It’s a bit of a shame that Stahelski doesn’t have as big a profile as Leitch. Leitch has been bouncing from blockbuster to blockbuster, helming Hobbes & Shaw and now setting up the star-studded Bullet Train. But Leitch’s post-Wick efforts have been middling at best, forgettable junk at worst, suggesting that Stahelski was the real magic sauce behind the John Wick films. Perhaps Stahelski wants to devote his time to the John Wick universe before moving on to bigger things, which is fair — in addition to the films, there are multiple feature and TV spin-offs in the works too. I’d rather see the John Wick franchise end with a bang rather than a whimper.

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