'John Wick 3': Lance Reddick Says His Character Is Like This Marvel Hero
After three movies in the John Wick series, Lance Reddick, 56, finally gets to throw down. “It was a lot of fun,” the actor tells Inverse of shooting shotguns with Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and it was a blast to do that.”
Despite a long film and TV career playing cops and soldiers in shows like HBO’s The Wire, Fringe, and the Destiny video games, Reddick says he’s never actually had to fire any guns. That all changed when he returned to play the gentlemanly “Charon,” in John Wick: Chapter 3 .
“What’s so wonderful about Charon is that you see so little of who he really is,” Reddick says. “But you can tell there so much underneath and with each film, more gets revealed. That’s what’s so exiting about the character for me.”
In John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, out in theaters Friday, Charon once again mans the front desk of the Continental Hotel, the main hub of New York’s community of assassins and contract killers.
But unlike the last two movies, Charon gets a piece of the action. When Wick (Reeves) needs help after picking a fight with the shadowy organization known as the “High Table,” Charon locks and loads alongside the unretired assassin for one of the series’ most exciting climactic shootouts.
Unlike Reddicks’ last two outings as Charon, Parabellum necessitated the actor take up a moderate amount of gun training before production.
“The gun training was a little daunting at first,” he says. “It may be hard to believe because I’ve played cops for so many years, but I’ve only shot a gun twice. Ever. So this was pretty extensive gun training, learning how to aim and reload and quick load and how to use a shotgun.”
Reddick is naturally athletic — he wrestled in high school and has generally kept up his health ever since — but this still required some getting used to. Once it did, he says, “It became fun.”
Reflecting on Charon, Reddick compares the character to his other stalwart supporting hero, Commander Zavala, a “Titan Vanguard” from Bungie’s Destiny games . Set in a distant future where the remnants of mankind fight a war for survival beyond Earth’s solar system, Destiny (2014) and Destiny 2 (2017) star Reddick as the voice of Zavala, leader of the Guardians who aids players on their never-ending quest.
“He’s almost Charon if Charon was a general,” Reddick says. “In terms of personality, Charon’s thing is excellence and loyalty. Zavala is tricky.”
He adds, “I feel Zavala is the archetype of the ideal military leader who epitomizes ‘protect and serve’ as opposed to guts and glory. In that regard I feel him and Charon are similar. At the same time, I don’t think you rise to [being] a general without having a huge ego.”
To my surprise, Reddick brings up the Marvel Universe as context for both Charon and Zavala. An avid, lifelong Marvel fan who at the time of our interview hadn’t yet seen Avengers: Endgame, Reddick describes both his characters as equal to Wong, the assistant of Doctor Strange.
“Because,” Reddick says, “He’s the consummate warrior and Strange’s teacher. And yet he serves Doctor Strange, because Doctor Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme.”
All these characters fit within Reddick’s favorite archetype to play onscreen: The warrior servant. There’s a scene in John Wick: Chapter 3 that Reddick says Charon most felt like Wong.
“It’s the moment when we’re in the vault,” he says. “After John leaves and I turn to him, armored up with a shotgun. I can’t remember my exact line, but I say, ‘I’ll see you shortly.’ That’s Charon.”
While it took three movies for Charon to get in on the action, director Chad Stahelski has instilled in Reddick this possibility since the very first John Wick.
“On the first day of the first film, [Chad] confirmed it for me,” he says. “You get the sense that as calm and gentile as Charon is, if something went down, he’d reach under the desk and grab a shotgun and take care of business.”
John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum hits theaters on May 17.