There are plenty of reasons John Wick is awesome, from the impeccably shot action to the near-perfect casting, but one of the big reasons the series has taken off is because the world it was built on allowed for so much expansion. Now, the man who created that world and wrote the first three John Wick films, Derek Kolstad, will no longer be involved in the series as the studio has basically just not asked him to return for John Wick 4 and 5.
In an interview with Collider, Kolstad admitted, “I’m actually not involved in four and five … At a certain stage … the studio will tell you, your creation is graduated, and you wish it well. I’m still close with Chad (Stahelski), still close with Dave (Leitch), and I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m excited to see.”
The choice to move on from the franchise was not Kolstad’s. The studio had brought in other writers for the third entry with whom he shared screenwriting credit, and it seems the studio has decided to move on from him entirely now. There’s no reason given for why he isn’t working on the franchise anymore but Kolstad seems to believe that it is just how the industry works and he isn’t too bent out of shape about it.
“No, it wasn’t my decision,” he said. “When you think of the contractually of these things, the third one I shared the credit with any number of people, they didn’t have to come back to me, and so they didn’t. And so you look at that and you could be hurt, and I would say if I was 20 years ago I would have been, but seeing what the industry is and how things go, I just believe that you bless everything and hope it all the best, and to the players involved who are doing other things elsewhere.”
John Wick 4 and 5 aside, the writer also talked a bit about the upcoming spin-off series, The Continental, which he says is still in the works and will flesh out not just the backstories of a lot of characters we’ve come to know but also the entire weird world of assassins and secret hotels that John Wick takes place in. The franchise’s other spin-off project, The Ballerina, was unfortunately not discussed. Oddly, the interview also discusses why there isn’t a “kick-ass” John Wick video game and that going small scale might be a good idea, completely ignoring that this was already done with the well-received John Wick Hex.
Don’t feel too bad for Kolstad, as he has plenty of opportunities to deliver more amazing action. He’s been tapped to write the Just Cause movie and the upcoming Hitman TV series.