How Is The Spin-Off Movie ‘Ballerina’ Connected To The ‘John Wick’ Franchise?
John Wick: Chapter 4 is smashing its way through the worldwide box office ever since its release on 24 March. Now, excited fans of the franchise have an additional reason to cheer for the world of the famed assassin. Lionsgate has revealed the release date of the franchise’s spin-off film Ballerina, which centres on the mafia family which originally trained John Wick.
Directed by Len Wiseman, Ballerina is written by Shay Hatten and produced by Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee alongside Chad Stahelski — the director of all four John Wick films.
All about Ballerina, its plot, cast and other John Wick projects
What is Ballerina releasing and what is it about?
Lionsgate has set 7 June 2024 as the release date for Ballerina.
The official synopsis of the film does not reveal much.
“The world of John Wick expands with Ballerina, as Ana de Armas stars as an assassin trained in the traditions of the Ruska Roma,” reads the brief description.
According to reports, the story of Ballerina is set between the events of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019) and John Wick: Chapter 4. It will follow de Armas’ character as she takes revenge on those who killed her family.
As fans of the John Wick franchise know, the Ruska Roma is the crime family led by The Director. The family took in and trained Wick as a child. It is shown in Parabellum when Wick returns to The Director seeking shelter from the High Table.
In the film, the Ruska Roma is shown training boys in a specific form of martial arts and girls in ballet under the stern eyes of The Director, who is also Wick’s adoptive mother.
Who are the cast members of Ballerina?
Ballerina will be headlined by Ana de Armas, who was in the running for an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2023 for her film Blonde.
De Armas’ character is named Rooney. The character was first introduced in Parabellum and was portrayed by Unity Phelan.
Ian McShane reprises his role as Winston Scott, the owner of the Continental Hotel. Keanu Reeves plays John Wick in an extended role while Anjelica Huston reprises her role as The Director from the third film.
Other stars in Ballerina include Gabriel Byrne, Catalina Sandino Moreno and The Walking Dead star Norman Reedus.
Ballerina also marks one of his final film appearances of Lance Reddick, who passed away on 17 March 2023. Reddick will be seen once again as Charon.
Where was Ballerina filmed?
Appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in January 2023, de Armas revealed that the cast and crew were filming in Prague for four months.
“We still have one more month to go. And I’m in pain. You know, my body, my back, everything hurts. I’m complaining, I’m sore, I’m bruised,” she said.
“Keanu and I were rehearsing our very difficult stunt scene, and this man is just rolling and throwing me and doing these crazy stunts,” she added. “And I’m like, ‘I can’t complain anymore.’ Because he is doing it. He truly is the best.”
What more is there in the John Wick franchise?
Ballerina is just one of the projects that the franchise has in its store following John Wick: Chapter 4.
“There is another film that we’re developing that I think we’ll be announcing in the next, say, month or two. Then, I’m hopeful there’s a Ballerina 2, and John Wick 5, and lots of other things. But we’re developing a lot of stuff and having a lot of discussions with a lot of writers and brand management and Wick universe is my utmost priority,” producer Erica Lee was quoted as saying by Collider in March 2023 following the release of the fourth film in the franchise.
There is also a John Wick TV miniseries named The Continental, which shows the backstory of the establishment and its iconic characters. Set in 1975, the series stars Mel Gibson as a new character named Cormac.
A younger version of Winston is played by Colin Woodell, while Ayomide Adegun essays a young Charon. Peter Greene, Ben Robson, Hubert Point-Du Jour, Jessica Allain, Mishel Prada, and Nhung Kate are among the other actors.
The series is set to premiere in September on NBCUniversal’s Peacock.
How has John Wick: Chapter 4 performed at the box office?
John Wick: Chapter 4 went past the USD 250-million-mark at the worldwide box office on 3 April. It is on its way to dethrone Parabellum as the highest-grossing film of the franchise by box office numbers. The third film grossed USD 327 million worldwide.
The fourth film has already become the most critically acclaimed of the franchise, with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 94 per cent. Interestingly, both the Tomatometer score (critics’ ratings) and audience score for the film on Rotten Tomatoes is the same, indicating the widespread appeal of the action-packed entertainer.
(Main and Featured images: IMDb)