The Crucial Element That Saved John Wick’s Biggest Plot Point from Being Deleted
March 15, 2023
Chad Stahelski, director of the John Wick franchise, explains why the assassin who killed Keanu Reeves’ dog was almost taken out of the film’s original version.
The John Wick filmmakers almost killed the main catalyst in the script his dog.
Chad Stahelski, the John Wick franchise Director was asked by The Hollywood Reporter if Keanu Reeves’ action-thriller from 2014 would be so successful without needing to sacrifice the super-assassin’s dog. Stahelski and David Leitch struggled to decide whether Wick’s dog should be removed from the film. Stahelski declared that the dog’s death was written out nearly every time it was put back in.
RELATED: REVIEW: The Action-Packed John Wick: Chapter 4 Lives Up to its Sky-High Expectations
“Ultimately, it’s mythological. We had to go so exaggerated, so far to push it to let you know that it was purely symbolic. Director said that we’re not trying to keep the authenticity. We want our viewers to enjoy themselves. But you don’t even know how much Dave and I were both stressed over that. We were taking on credit cards as well as a mortgage on our house everything. [Producer] Basil Iwanyk put his company up. And then you have the moment when you realize we’re doing the whole thing and we’re actually killing a puppy? It was a horrible idea that we’d never come back from it.
John Wick Studio tries to save the dog
The dog’s death was always on the paper from the very first draft of John Wick. Despite the studio executives’ refusal to accept the loss of the dog, Stahelski, Leitch, and their screenwriter Derek Kolstad stood firm to keep their dog from being saved. “I think that they wanted to be right in their decision which is why there were elements where [the studio said] ‘Let’s cut the dog out. Let’s focus on the assassin who is getting ready to retire. This kind of thing,” Kolstad said.
Related: Keanu Reeves Explains the John Wick Saga in Full to prepare fans for Chapter 4
Eventually, test audiences reacted to the death of the dog exactly how the JohnWick filmmakers had envisioned and the studio was sold on the plot. Kolstad declared, “We were watching our viewers.” Kolstad explained, “As soon the dog passed away, and then watching their reaction, and then watching the siege in the home, we thought yes, we were right.”
Fans were disappointed to see the dog go however, Wick gained another friend in the form of a pitbull puppy. This pit bull puppy was to be put down at the conclusion of the first film. He was joined by his new friend in the 2017 film John Wick Chapter 2 and 2019’s John Wick Chapter 3 – Parabellum. The pup was so popular with the public that he received his own Funko Pop alongside Wick following the release of Chapter 3.
Find out if the super-assassin along with his dog will end up at peace by the time John Wick Chapter 4 arrives in theaters on March 24.