John Wick 4 may have its villain — perhaps a new antihero — in Bill Skarsgård. On Tuesday, Collider reported that Skarsgård is in talks to join the Keanu Reeves assassin thriller. Like other details from the project, specifics on who Skarsgård might play are hard to come by.
Reeves has found a bit of a second life as an action star thanks to the John Wick franchise, where he plays a reluctant hitman called out of retirement and into an esoteric fraternity of high-class killers. In the three movies so far, he has faced off with mobsters, trained fighters and high-ranking leaders within the society, and it sounds like their places will need to be filled with new characters. Skarsgård would join a growing cast that will reportedly include Donnie Yen of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Shamier Anderson of Stowaway and singer Rina Sawayama.
Skarsgård is on the rise in Hollywood, particularly following his performance as Pennywise in the two-film adaptation of Stephen King's It. He also played a mysterious figure in the King series Castle Rock on Hulu. More recently, he was lauded for his performance in The Devil All the Time, where he played Tom Holland's character's father.
None of that guarantees he will play a villainous role in John Wick: Chapter 4, of course. The sequel is one of the most highly-anticipated action movies in the works right now, but it has been delayed not just by the COVID-19 pandemic, but by other projects as well. Since the series brought Reeves back to prominence, he has booked a number of other major roles including The Matrix 4, which he filmed first.
Reeves was filming the untitled fourth Matrix film when the coronavirus pandemic shut down film sets all over the world. The production was able to pick back up after five months and completed filming in November of 2020. It is currently slated for release on Dec. 22, 2021, in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously.
According to a report by Slash Film, production on John Wick: Chapter 4 begins this month in Europe. Lionsgate has already ordered a fifth installment of the franchise as well, and before the pandemic, the plan was to film them both back to back. That is apparently no longer the case, although a tentative release date for John Wick 4 has been set for May 27, 2022.0comments
In the meantime, the studio is also working on two spinoffs from the franchise. The first is a movie called Ballerina following the hitman training facility disguised as a dance and wrestling academy featured in John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum. There has not been an update on this project in a while, although the last was that Chloë Grace Moretz had been cast in the lead role. The other spinoff is a TV series called The Continental centered in the hotel where assassins like Wick can seek refuge.
Like the rest of the entertainment industry, Lionsgate is shifting plans like this frequently in response to the pandemic and its impact on schedules. For now, we can only hope that John Wick 4 meets its scheduled release date of May 27, 2022.