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The Continental: Trailer, plot, and everything else we know about the John Wick prequel series

Updated Aug 9th, 2023 6:22PM EDT
The Continental on Peacock
Image: Peacock

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Based on the newly released trailer for Peacock’s John Wick prequel series The Continental, the foreboding hotel chain shown throughout the Keanu Reeves-led film franchise looks like the perfect setting for an all-new story tied to the hit movies. The big screen version of the hotel, of course, served as neutral territory for hitmen and other assorted ne’er-do-wells, while The Continental of this miniseries will take us on a noirish, shootout-filled descent into the underworld of 1970s New York City.

“The three-part event will explore the origin behind the iconic hotel-for-assassins centerpiece of the John Wick universe through the eyes and actions of a young Winston Scott as he’s dragged into the hellscape of 1970’s New York City to face a past he thought he’d left behind,” reads Peacock’s series description of The Continental. “Winston charts a deadly course through the hotel’s mysterious underworld in a harrowing attempt to seize the hotel where he will eventually take his future throne.”

Before I say any more about the John Wick prequel series, by the way, can we just take a moment and appreciate what an improbably wild ride this franchise has enjoyed? It started as a wacky idea developed by two ex-stuntmen over a decade ago now: Keanu basically going on a murderous rampage to avenge the death of his puppy.

From that simple genesis, we got a grand total of four movies, plus the upcoming prequel, plus a new John Wick spinoff movie coming next year that we’ll say more about below. “It hit a chord that none of us anticipated,” The Continental executive producer Basil Iwanyk said about the franchise in a promotional interview (conducted before the Hollywood strikes).

“Yes, people love Keanu. And the action was awesome. What we didn’t see coming was how much the audience loved the world, its rules, the swagger, the craziness, and the rogue’s gallery of villains and (kinda) good guys. All those roads led to one place, the epicenter and beating heart of the franchise: the hotel called The Continental, led by two of the franchise’s greatest characters, Winston and Charon.”

The Continental on Peacock
Nhung Kate as Yen in Peacock’s “The Continental.” Image source: Nelly Kiss/Starz Entertainment

The cast playing hitmen, as well as hotel guests who we’ll meet in the Peacock series, includes Mel Gibson; Collin Woodell playing a young version of Ian McShane’s Winston; plus Peter Greene, Ben Robson, Nhung Kate, Katie McGrath, and Ayomide Adegun as a young version of the concierge Charon (who was played in the movies by the late Lance Reddic).

In another promotional interview that took place prior to the ongoing Hollywood strikes, director and executive producer Albert Hughes said that he and fellow executive producer/writer Kirk Ward had several goals with The Continental. Besides wanting to explore the backstories of familiar John Wick characters, they also wanted to dig deeper into the rules and mythology around The Continental and the mysterious “High Table” that overshadows events in the movie franchise — while also expanding the physical scope of The Continental.

“Everyone loves escapism in cinema,” Hughes said. “As a filmmaker I wanted to honor the spirit of escapism and excitement from the film series while introducing new fans to a hyper-stylized world they’ve never seen before.

The Continental on Peacock
Marina Mazepa as Gretel, Mark Musashi as Hansel, and Colin Woodell as Winston in “The Continental.” Image source: Katalin Vermes/Starz Entertainment
The Continental on Peacock
Mel Gibson as Cormac and Katie McGrath as the Adjudicator in “The Continental.” Image source: Katalin Vermes /Starz Entertainment

“The challenge for me was capitalizing on television’s ability to deliver longer-form storytelling and deeper character arcs. We found this format to be an exciting opportunity to create three feature films that balance storytelling and interesting idiosyncratic characters while giving the hardcore Wick fans more of what they love — original high-octane action.”

John Wick 4, the latest installment in the blockbuster movie franchise, had raked in more than $432 million at the global box office as of June. The franchise is also expanding next year, in June of 2024, via the release of a John Wick spinoff movie titled The Ballerina starring Ana de Armas as an assassin.

The three episodes of The Continental, meanwhile, will roll out over the course of three successive weekends, starting on Sept. 22, continuing on Sept. 29, and ending on Oct. 6.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.