Lionsgate Powers Ahead with John Wick TV Series Despite Mixed Reactions from Stars

Lionsgate Powers Ahead with John Wick TV Series Despite Mixed Reactions from Stars
Photo by Erik Odiin / Unsplash

In an intriguing turn of events, Lionsgate has decided to push forward with a John Wick TV series, undeterred by criticism from notable franchise star Ian McShane. This development comes on the heels of McShane's candid critique of the studio's earlier TV spin-off, The Continental, which he shared during a live television interview. Despite the mixed reactions, Lionsgate seems committed to expanding the John Wick universe into television, as revealed by Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns at a recent Morgan Stanley media conference.

Burns hinted at the potential of transforming one of their "great action franchises" into a television series, explicitly mentioning the series that catapulted Keanu Reeves into the spotlight as an action hero. In addition to this revelation, Burns also dropped news about a planned Twilight animated series, showcasing the studio's broad ambitions in leveraging their existing movie franchises for television.

The John Wick series has been a significant success story for Lionsgate, combining stylish action sequences with a unique, compelling narrative. The franchise's expansion into TV was first attempted with The Continental, a series focused on the backstory of Winston, the character portrayed by Ian McShane in the movies. However, this attempt did not resonate well with fans or McShane himself. The actor's discontent was palpable during his interview with BBC, where he expressed surprise and disappointment over the lack of consultation with key franchise figures, including himself and Reeves, about the spin-off.

This new John Wick TV project aims to carve its own path, separate from the narrative explored in The Continental. However, details regarding involvement from the original film series' creative team, including director Chad Stahelski, remain scarce. Stahelski's engagement with the franchise continues, as evidenced by the delay of the Ana de Armas-led spin-off movie, Ballerina, to facilitate additional shooting under his direction. This move underscores the studio's dedication to maintaining the quality and coherence of the John Wick universe.

The challenge of successfully adapting big-screen action hits for television cannot be understated. Previous attempts by other franchises, such as Taken and The Transporter, have fallen short of expectations, often criticized as lackluster imitations of their cinematic counterparts. This raises questions about the feasibility of Lionsgate's strategy to broaden the John Wick saga through television, especially in light of the mixed reception to past efforts.

The decision to further explore the John Wick universe on television sparks a debate on the direction of the franchise. Should Lionsgate focus on enhancing the cinematic experience under the guidance of Stahelski, or is diversifying into television a strategic move to capitalize on the franchise's popularity? As the studio forges ahead with its plans, fans and critics alike will be watching closely to see if this ambitious expansion can live up to the high standards set by the films. The success or failure of this endeavor could significantly influence the future of television adaptations of action franchises, setting a precedent for how movie studios leverage their popular properties across different mediums.

As we await more details on the John Wick TV series and its potential impact on the franchise, the discussion continues. Is Lionsgate's push into television a bold move towards innovation or a misstep that could dilute the essence of what made John Wick a beloved action series? Only time will tell, but the debate among fans and industry observers is sure to intensify as the project progresses.