How the Ending of 'John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum' Kicks Off a New Era

Yeah, he's back. And he's here to stay.

It isn’t difficult to understand the plot of a John Wick movie. Each one begins with Keanu Reeves’ brooding assassin personally or professionally wronged, which kicks off an elaborate killing spree, and ends with Wick in a worser place than he started. The same can be said for John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, the newest film in the John Wick series.

But this time, the ending of John Wick: Chapter 3 has bigger implications for the world of the Continental, and for John Wick, than the endings of the last two movies. Here’s what happened at the end of Parabellum, and what it means for the future of the John Wick saga.

Warning: Spoilers for John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum ahead.

Towards the end of Chapter 3, Reeves’ John Wick succeeds in making his point to the High Table, who have sent the Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) on their behalf to carry out the assassination of John Wick.

Wick’s point: He’s not going anywhere. The High Table can’t kill him. They’ve tried and failed. Wick demands his “excommunicado” status revoked, and he’s shot up the whole Continental — which has reluctantly aligned with John Wick and sacrificed its own standing with the High Table — just to make noise.

When the Adjudicator proposes a parley between the Continental (represented by Ian McShane’s Winston) and the High Table, the two parties and John Wick meet on the rooftop of the Continental at daybreak. After Winston and the Adjudicator come to an agreement to reinstate the Continental, they finally address the John Wick-shaped elephant in the room.

That’s when Winston shoots John Wick dead. Or so he thinks.

John Wick Chapter 3
Keanu Reeves, in 'John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum.'

John Wick, mortally wounded, falls from the roof of the Continental and down into the alley below, with hard ledges and garbage dumps breaking his fall. Wick is just barely alive when, offscreen, the Tick Tock Man (Jason Mantzoukas) sneaks Wick’s body underground to the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne).

Presumed dead after the Adjudicator ordered Zero (Mark Dacascos) to kill him earlier in the film, the Bowery King is revealed to be still alive, also wounded like John Wick. And BK is pissed he’s been knocked off his place in the world of assassins so unceremoniously, and asks John Wick if he’s pissed too. Yeah, he’s pissed, and he’s going to do something about it.

It’s not clear why Winston betrayed John Wick, other than to make a grand gesture for the Continental in front of the High Table; in the cold world of assassins, there’s little room for friendship, even though Wick and Winston have a unique bond of trust that Winston doesn’t have with other guests. And Winston is horrified when he hears Wick’s body is never recovered.

John Wick Chapter 3 Ian McShane
Winston, you rotten crook! (Ian McShane, as "Winston," in 'John Wick: Chapter 3 -- Parabellum.')

What This Means for John Wick: Chapter 4

A fourth John Wick movie has not been officially confirmed; director Chad Stahelski has previously told the press it will only happen if audiences continue to see the films in theaters. There could be a John Wick: Chapter 8, and a ninth film would only happen if moviegoers want it.

But we can infer from here the Bowery King and John Wick will unite to take down the High Table and the Continental, likely in the next movie. It’s a sensible direction that increases the scope and stakes for our sharp-dressed, dog-loving killer. (To think this all started with a dead puppy.)

Perhaps the title of John Wick: Chapter 3 says it all. With John Wick and the Bowery King ready to take up arms against the High Table, the Latin subtitle “Parabellum” makes absolute sense.

In English, “Parabellum” means to prepare for war.

John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum is in theaters on May 17.


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Media via Lionsgate