John Wick Spinoff Recruits One Of Hollywood’s Best Villains

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Ian McShane is returning to the John Wick universe in the upcoming spin-off, Ballerina. The 80-year-old will reprise his role as Winston, the enigmatic owner of the Continental Hotel opposite Ana de Armas. The character was last seen seemingly double-crossing the protagonist in the final scenes of the third film in the franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, production began earlier this week.

Ballerina is directed by Len Wiseman from a script by Shay Hatten. The story follows a young woman with killer skills who uses them to get revenge after her family is killed. Given Ian McShane’s casting in the John Wick spinoff, her journey will probably lead to the Continental Hotel. It’s one of the few places where the world’s deadliest assassins can rest due to the hotel’s strict no-killing, no-weapons policy.

In a statement via Variety, franchise producer Basil Iwanyk celebrated Ian McShane joining the John Wick-inspired movie. He also hinted that Winston’s role might be bigger than it has been in the original films of the franchise. “We’re thrilled to have Ian McShane joining us for a pivotal role in Ballerina,” he said. “Ian is such an integral part of the franchise. It’s been fun to have him on this journey as the universe expands.”

ian mcshane john wick
Ian McShane in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)

But Ian McShane isn’t the only actor from the John Wick franchise to appear in the spin-off. Keanu Reeves is currently in Prague to reprise his role as John Wick, Collider reports. It’s currently unclear whether the actor will appear in a cameo role or a larger capacity. But the 58-year-old will return as the lead in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will continue the story of the world’s greatest assassin.

The project was first announced after the record-setting opening weekend of its predecessor which earned over $300 million at the global box office. The movie is directed by Chad Stahelski from a script by Shay Hatten and Michael Finch. Laurence Fishburne, Hiroyuki Sanada, Donnie Yen, Shamier Anderson, Bill Skarsgård, and Ian McShane also star in the fourth John Wick film.

Since the first movie hit theaters in 2014, the franchise has grown exponentially. Along with John Wick: Chapter 4 and Ballerina, the prequel series The Continental is also in the works. The story will focus on the titular hotel and the early years of Winston’s life. It’s currently unknown if Ian McShane will also star in the John Wick spin-off series.

Ian McShane has become a constant in the Keanu Reeves-led John Wick movies, bringing a steely calmness through hails of bullets and whirlwinds of fists. His other recent credits include a role as Mr. Wednesday in the Neil Gaiman series American Gods, where he also served as executive producer. The 80-year-old also lent his voice to a character in Netflix’s animated film My Father’s Dragon.

Meanwhile, the Ballerina has previously appeared in the John Wick franchise too. The character, portrayed by American ballet dancer Unity Phelan, was seen in the third film, training to become an assassin. It will be interesting to see Ana de Armas’ take on the killer opposite Ian McShane in the John Wick spinoff.