The end of John Wick 4 and the post-credit scene explained

A look at the finale and what it means for John Wick 5

by Pierre Lorenz on March 31, 2023

"John Wick: Chapter 4" has been out in cinemas for a few days now. In addition to the long running time and the spectacular stunts, it is above all the ending that is causing a lot of discussion. Therefore, in this article, we take a more in-depth look at the ending and reflect on the significance this has for a possible fifth part. That means there's a high risk of spoilers for everyone who has not seen the fourth part yet!

At first, the plot is more or less familiar: The protagonist fights his way unerringly and brutally through countless enemies, becomes part of a clan again and finally faces his opponent Marquis de Gramont for a final duel, which should bring John back his freedom.

In the process, John and Continental manager Winston are working together once again, after the ending of Part 3 initially suggested otherwise and put fans on the wrong track. Winston also has every reason to support John: After all, the Marquis blows up the Continental and kills Winston's companion Charon. The Marquis continues to live up to his bad reputation and uses all he can to crush his enemy. He is not even afraid to send John's old companion Caine after him by threatening the life of the latter's daughter. And even after the honorable duel has already been arranged, the villain sends out countless assassins so that he doesn't have to confront our hero all by himself.

The final battle is set in picturesque Paris. John was given the choice of weapons to use and classically opted for pistols. The stakes are high: should John manage to win the face-off against Marquis de Gramont, he will be a free man and will no longer be hunted by the High Table. Moreover, in that case, Winston will be granted back control over the Continental by the High Table. However, should he lose, both he and Winston will have to die.

As an appointed deputy, Caine is forced to fight John on behalf of the Marquis, even though he is far from keen on killing his friend. At first it seems as if John wants to sacrifice himself for his old friend, which is why he doesn't fire a bullet at Caine in the final gunfight. The latter hits the Baba Yaga on the side and knocks him to the ground. Secure of victory, the Marquis ensures Caine of his daughter's freedom and declares his intention to take over in order to finish John off at this part of the duel. Well, shit happens: John still has his free shot and shoots the completely caught off guard villain and comes out as the winner of the duel. The severely wounded protagonist finally utters the name of his beloved wife and ostensibly passes away on the steps leading up to the Sacré-Cœur.

Even though you might have suspected it, it is hard to come to terms with John's death; after all, the professional hitman has always been able to miraculously survive after killing hundreds of enemies in the last three films. Knowing with sadness that John might actually be dead this time, we can also see the Bowery King and Winston standing by John's grave.

Anyone who thought the film was over after that must not have waited for the post-credits scene. In fact, reports are piling up that many moviegoers didn't expect one when they went to the movie theater and thus left early. At the very end of the credits, Akira, the daughter of John's friend Shimazu, is seen running towards the unsuspecting Caine armed with a knife. Whether she will be able to carry out her revenge on her father's murderer is left open.

The crucial question after the end of the film is clearly: Is John really dead? Although we do see him draw his supposedly last breath on the stairs, there is no trace of John's inanimate body after that.

First of all, there is less to argue against than in favor of John actually being dead. For one thing, it would be a good conclusion to the story, as the major conflicts seem to have been resolved: he has won his final battle and is a free agent. Already during the movie it is prophesied that he will only find his peace and freedom in death and that it doesn't matter how many people he kills - his enemies will simply grow back like the heads of a Hydra. In the process, he even managed to do some good for others: Caine was spared and his daughter was saved, the same goes for Mr. Nobody and his dog. In addition, Winston gets his status back and the Continental is to be rebuilt. The post-credits scene also implies that future storylines could revolve around other characters - although the name "John Wick" would then probably be a bit inappropriate for the movies.

Two things in particular speak for John's survival: For one, it may be unsatisfying for many viewers that the High Table continues to persist as a relatively faceless villain. True, our hero has taken care of a few representatives and fought for his freedom within the rules of the Table. But at the end of the day, everything still happens at the mercy of the criminal organization. So even if John were at peace now - his companions might still run into trouble at any time.

The second reason is fairly ordinary: Fans just want to see more John Wick movies. And Keanu Reeves has already made it clear several times that he wants to play the character for as long as the audience wants him to. Moreover, it currently seems as though Part 4 will be the most successful of the franchise. So there's little reason for those responsible to wrap up the John Wick saga.

In short, the story of the movies suggests that John did die. However, it is quite likely that there will be more stories involving the character.

Generally speaking, there are still some questions unanswered: For example, what happens to Winston and the Bowery King after John's death? In fact, a "The Continental" series with the popular manager is currently in the works. However, it will primarily function as a prequel and will presumably only marginally deal with the current film series.

It's also unknown how they plan to follow up on the post-credits scene of Part 4: a fifth installment in the main series is by no means cast in stone, and it's entirely possible that from now on they will only focus on spin-offs. Donnie Yen as Caine in particular was so well received by fans that many would surely be interested in a continuation of his story.

And even if that doesn't happen, we will have to wait a long time for a "John Wick 5". Director Chad Stahelski has confirmed that the movie series with him as director will be put on hold for the time being. The next spin-off from the "John Wick" universe will be the feature film "Ballerina", which is scheduled for release at the end of the year.