The world of John Wick is about to get a lot more crowded. Back in October, unconfirmed reports surfaced that along with the other spin-offs planned of the John Wick films would be Ballerina, with Ana de Armas in the lead role. Now, the female-led spin-off has officially been confirmed, as has De Armas’ involvement.
Comic Book reports that Lionsgate confirmed the green light for Ballerina and the casting at Cinema Con yesterday. Ana de Armas and the rest of the cast and crew will reportedly begin filming this summer. Instead of Chad Stahelski who helms the flagship John Wick films, Ballerina will be directed by Len Wiseman who is known best as a director, writer, and producer for Underworld. Writing the screenplay for Ballerina is Shay Hatten, who joined the Wick franchise starting with 2019’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.
While a lot of the specifics about Ballerina aren’t available yet, we know that like in the first Keanu Reeves led chapter that started it all, the spin-off will be a revenge story. Rather than a puppy, Ana de Armas will be looking to avenge the deaths of her family. If you’ve seen John Wick: Chapter 3, then you likely remember Anjelica Huston’s The Director, whom Wick turns to for help. The Director trains many of her assassins in the art of ballet, and De Armas’ character will apparently be one of her current or former students.
There’s no word if Keanu Reeves will be joining Ana de Armas in any capacity, though it wouldn’t be a shock if it at least a cameo or two were to happen. The pair worked together on two thrillers in the mid-2010s — 2015’s Knock Knock and the following year’s Exposed. But from the sounds of it, if Reeves were to show up in Ballerina, a cameo is probably all we’d get.
That’s because franchise director Chad Stahelski wants to make sure Ballerina and John Wick are visibly different movies. Back in 2020, Stahelksi talked to The Hollywood Reporter about making sure the Ana de Armas film has its own flavor. “Having [Len Wiseman] on board and approaching some of the action design from a slightly different perspective… makes it kind of fresh. So, we’re not just copying ourselves over and over again with gun-fu or something like that. And because the character is different, we’re going to get a different take on things. But as far as the level, the competence or the style of action? Yes. I plan to be there to assist whenever I can.”
Speaking of action, Ballerina will mark the first chance Ana de Armas gets to lead an action thriller without playing second fiddle to a male actor. She’s currently filming Ghosted which co-stars Chris Evans (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and will appear with both Evans and Ryan Gosling (La La Land) in July in Netflix’s The Gray Man. She also became a Bond girl last year with Daniel Craig’s final film as James Bond in No Time to Die. But Ballerina will mark her first chance to be the main character kicking butt and taking names.