The John Wick Plot Hole That The Movies Still Haven’t Explained

Director Chad Stahelski gave an interview explaining the mysterious marker Winston gave to John Wick at the end of the second film and just what it might mean moving forward.

By Sean Thiessen | Updated

ian mcshane
Ian McShane as Winston in John Wick

John Wick: Chapter 4 is only days away. The film is the franchise’s longest yet, and early reactions indicate it may be the best action movie of recent years. But on top of all the action, fans of John Wick are also eager to see if the film finally fills a key plot hole. In an interview with ScreenCrush, John Wick director Chad Stahelski spoke about the mysterious marker Winston (Ian McShane) gave John at the end of the second film and whether or not it may play a role in the future.

The John Wick franchise keeps its complex lore tight, but Winston’s marker created an intriguing plot hole. The concept of the marker was introduced at the beginning of John Wick: Chapter 2. Santino, a figure from John’s past, reveals the marker John gave him and invokes his right to call in a favor that John cannot deny. Stahelski likens the marker to a blank check.

John carries out Santino’s murderous request, only to be double-crossed. John exacts revenge by murdering Santino on the neutral grounds of the Continental, breaking the biggest rule in the assassin rulebook and earning himself excommunicado status. Winston, the proprietor of the Continental and a mentor to John Wick, gives John one hour to escape and one marker. That’s where the plot hole opens.

There is no explanation as to where the marker came from. Is it a fresh marker John can give anyone to get himself out of a jam? Is it a favor someone owes Winston that he has bestowed upon John? Is it Santino’s marker John can use to prove he was at Santino’s mercy? Is it Winston telling John he can come to him for a favor? There are many possibilities.

The marker did not come into play in John Wick: Chapter 3, leaving the plot hole open. But according to Chad Stahelski, the marker may have been used without the audience knowing it. “Well, Winston’s an interesting character,” Stahelski said. “He’s always got an angle. So I think that Winston thinks John did cash it in — on the rooftop in [Chapter 3].”

keanu reeves john wick 4
Keanu Reeves as John Wick

If that is the case, Winston chose John Wick when the marker should have been cashed in and closed the plot hole without telling anyone. At the end of John Wick: Chapter 3, Winston had to shoot John Wick in order to prove his loyalty to the High Table and be reinstated as the head of the Continental. Winston shot John in his bulletproof vest and sent him toppling over the roof, which John survived.

Such a tricky move would be characteristic of Winston, and the mixed luck of the incident would be par for the course for John Wick. Still, it is possible that Winston’s marker could come back into play before the franchise concludes. John Wick: Chapter 4 is the end for Stahelski and Keanu Reeves for the time being, but spin-offs and a probable fifth chapter are in the works, giving the franchise plenty of time to close this plot hole on screen.

Regardless of how the marker comes back into play, John Wick fans are chomping at the bit to see the latest installment. The film is projected to be the biggest money-maker for the franchise yet. As crowds line up to see John Wick fight his biggest battle against Bill Skarsgard‘s twisted Marquis, eagle-eyed fans will surely be looking for this key plot hole to finally come back around.