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John Wick Producer Erica Lee On More Spin-Offs And What Didn’t Make It Into Chapter 4 [Exclusive Interview]

I know you’ve been involved with the “Wick” franchise from the beginning, and it’s definitely evolved from the first film to “Chapter 4,” and obviously, there are spin-offs now. I would love to start by hearing your experience and your history with the franchise. From your perspective, how did it progressively expand to what it is now?

It’s been amazing. I mean, the first movie was a spec script we read, called “Scorn.” And even just getting the first one made was a total labor of love and really hard — insane. We did it independently and was really complicated and hard, and no one really knew what we had in the beginning. So when we made the first one, there was certainly no idea — I always say, when we make them, we’re burning the house down by the end. We leave it all on the field. So we’ve been really lucky that people have embraced the movies.

I mean, it is crazy knowing that the first “John Wick” was really this scrappy independent movie, first time directors, and now here we are with “John Wick 4” coming out, and obviously, a much bigger budget, bigger scale, a lot more riding on it. But it’s crazy to think how far we’ve come. Also what I think is really specific to “John Wick” is, I think when we wrapped, before we did additional photography, 11 people had worked on all four movies. And the brand continuity of the core team is really special. The fact that Chad [Stahelski] has directed all four movies, I mean, how rare is that in a franchise?

So there’s a lot of love there for that. I would say “John Wick” is my first baby and I’ve had two actual children. It’s crazy where we’ve come and that the world has embraced them and that we just, the awareness is so high now. And I hear people all time saying things like, “Oh, I missed ‘John Wick 2,’ but I’m coming in now and going back and watching them.” So it’s really special. I know this kind of franchise is one in a million, so I don’t take it for granted.

I talked with Chad and he spoke about how he always had some space between each film. It sounded like from him, anything’s possible, but he was not thinking about doing a fifth film. So I just wondered if you had any take on that? Do you think there’ll be a fifth film in the future?

I’m hopeful. I think that on all of the movies at this point in the process, we were like, “We’re never doing it again!” They’re super hard and exhausting to shoot. “John Wick 4” was 97 days of night shoots, and Keanu [Reeves] gets the s*** kicked out of him. Everyone by this point is like, “We had seven premieres, oh my God, we’re done!” But the joke is always, on the Japan trip for the last two movies — there’s been a Japan release for both of them that was a couple months later — everyone has had some time to rest and think about what we would do, what we could do. I think we all remember how much we love each other and love these movies. So yeah, I’m hopeful. Is the character of John Wick dead? Are there other versions? Are there different stories to tell? I think so.

Speaking of that, how did “Chapter 4” come to be? Did Chad have a specific idea?

No. I think after the third film we were like, “Oh my God, we can never do this again.” And then I’ll never forget, Chad and I had lunch one day and he was like, “I’m thinking Japan. I’m thinking nunchucks and snow. Have you seen what they can do with snowmobiles these days?” And I was like, “Okay, we have a movie.” It was such small pieces but I could just see the wheels in his brain spinning, and we were off to the races at that point. Then there was Covid, but the good or the bad of it was that it gave us also some more time to develop the script and work on it. And Keanu did “The Matrix [Resurrections],” so that changed. We had a little bit more time in between than we normally do.



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