This week, John Wick prequel series The Continental is debuting on Peacock, and fans are understandably excited: the film series has spent a long time developing some very intricate lore that would be perfect for a prequel to unpack. But this upcoming series made us think about other movies that tried to beat John Wick at his own game that also deserve prequels of their very own. At the top of our list is Kate, the Netflix film starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a ruthless assassin.
Why are we so confident that Kate deserves a prequel just as much (if not more so than) John Wick? Without getting too much into the way of spoilers, Kate is a movie in which our heroine sets out on one last bloody adventure, and it ends with enough finality that we know that Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character won’t be picking up her sniper rifle ever again.
We love the idea of a Kate prequel because it shares another important quality with the John Wick films: specifically, our titular character’s misadventures can be as by-the-numbers or as ambitiously odd as the writers want.
In short, we can always get more John Wick adventures via sequels, but the only way we can get more Kate is by exploring this character and her world via a prequel.
That brings us to a more relevant question, then: out of all the films that tried to bite John Wick’s style, why is Kate the one that we want to return to? The short answer is that Kate managed to deliver one kickass action scene after another while engaging in some beautifully subtle world-building.
In this way, it surpassed rivals like Gunpowder Milkshake (a movie whose colorful characters couldn’t disguise its weak story and lore) and Nobody (a movie that played its main character’s deal up so mysteriously that it completely killed our curiosity about his past).
Additionally, we love the idea of a Kate prequel because it shares another important quality with the John Wick films: specifically, our titular character’s misadventures can be as by-the-numbers or as ambitiously odd as the writers want. Kate’s skills as a hitwoman for hire certainly would make it easy to create “villain of the week” television stories, for example, in which she tangles with one perfectly cast bad guy after another.
We want a Kate prequel even more than a John Wick prequel because there is so much of this character and her world left to explore.
But a prequel series also has room to tell more powerful stories, including what it was like for Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character to be raised by an employer-turned-father figure (Woody Harrelson) who is destined to eventually betray her.
On top of that, the Kate we see in the original movie has followed in John Wick’s footsteps in another big way: she wants to walk away from the entire bloody affair and start a brand new life. We’d love a prequel that explored Kate’s background and how she transitioned from someone who loved what she did to someone who couldn’t wait to bail.
We could even learn more about her understandable hesitation to commit murders in front of children…where did this personal code come from, and how much has it cost her to maintain it?
The final reason that we want a Kate prequel even more than a John Wick prequel is there is so much of this character and her world left to explore. While later Wick sequels threw in everything but the kitchen sink in terms of action and story, part of Kate’s charm as a movie is that it is so wonderfully streamlined.
You can stream Kate on Netflix.
That kept the story moving at a breakneck pace, but if we slowed things down with a prequel series, we could learn more about Kate’s background, her colleagues, her family, and the future she dreams of for herself (all of which the finished movie completely glosses over).
Realistically, we know it will be difficult for Netflix to create a Kate prequel series to rival the John Wick prequel series, especially since Mary Elizabeth Winstead is so busy playing Hera Syndulla in Star Wars.
Still, that means she is spending plenty of time in the fictional galaxy far, far away that helped to make prequels commonplace in Hollywood. Maybe that will be enough for her to trade her blaster for a sniper rifle and help us return to the universe of Kate, one of the coolest action movies we’ve ever seen.