John Wick: Chapter 4 has finally arrived, and people have been flocking to theaters to see the latest, and arguably greatest film of the franchise. As the nearly three-hour movie draws to a close, some people have questioned the events that conclude John’s (Keanu Reeves) fight for freedom. We’re going to be discussing the details of how John Wick: Chapter 4 ends.

That means there will be SPOILERS for the film.



Donnie Yen in John Wick

At the end of John Wick: Chapter 4, there’s a duel between John and his good friend Caine (Donnie Yen). This duel sees both participants gravely wounded, but John uses the rules of the duel against the Marquis (Bill Skarsgård). The Marquis selected Caine as his proxy, under the rules of the duel. This was because he knew Caine couldn’t deny the request due to a deal Caine made with the High Table, and because the Marquis knew Caine would have a better chance at defeating John.


The rules of the duel see each participant walking out 30 paces (making them 60 paces apart in total), turning to face each other, then firing a single bullet once the Harbinger (Clancy Brown) has given the signal. The first set of shots are non-fatal, which allows the participants to move up to 20 paces (40 total) and shoot a second time with a single bullet. Once again, the shots are non-fatal, so they move to 10 paces (20 total).

When Caine fires his final shot, it hits John in the lower abdomen as he drops to the ground in pain. The Marquis immediately sees this as an opportunity to finish off John himself, instead of using his proxy. He reclaims his right to participate, excusing Caine from the duel. However, the Marquis failed to realize that John had not fired his final shot.

While the rules of the duel state that participants must wait for the signal from the Harbinger before they shoot, there’s no rule about how quickly the shots must be taken. The participants can fire at their leisure, but you generally want to shoot as quickly as possible to end the opponent’s life before they end yours. John took a huge gamble, hoping Caine’s last shot would not be fatal. Thus giving him as much time as he needed to carefully aim, and win the duel with his final shot.

Keep in mind, John and Caine are using old-fashioned pistols during this duel. They are not modern, well-refined weapons of death. It takes careful aim to be accurate with these weapons; especially under the pressure of a duel. This is why these highly trained assassins had trouble inflicting fatal wounds, and one of the reasons why John took such a huge gamble with his life.

The gamble paid off, as the Marquis was so eager to land the finishing blow on John Wick that he did not realize John hadn’t fired his final shot. Excusing Caine from the duel meant that all John had to do was take his time and end the Marquis’ life with a single shot. After the Marquis died, Winston (Ian McShane) and Caine congratulated John. He sat down on the nearby stairs and eventually slumped over due to blood loss from his various wounds.

The next scene features the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) and Winston standing over John Wick’s gravestone. This has caused many viewers to wonder if John is actually dead. He was certainly shot enough times to die from blood loss, or possibly even organ failure, but Caine had very similar wounds and was able to survive. So is John Wick actually dead?


Is John Wick Dead

When Lionsgate and director Chad Stahelski were developing John Wick: Chapter 4, the original plan was to film John Wick: Chapter 4 and John Wick: Chapter 5 back to back. Over time that plan was scaled back to only include John Wick: Chapter 4, and the script was adjusted to allow for a proper conclusion to the series.

The director and Keanu Reeves have since stated that they will take a break from John Wick, then come back and determine if there’s more story to tell with this character. That alone should tell you that John Wick is still alive and well. After killing countless individuals to gain his freedom from the High Table, many assassins and family members are likely seeking revenge against him. Faking John’s death avoids much of that retaliation, even if it wouldn’t have come directly from the High Table.

So while John Wick could theoretically be dead, it’s extremely unlikely. We know the creatives behind the series have considered a fifth John Wick film. The franchise already has plans to continue on with the Ballerina film (which features John Wick and takes place between John Wick 3 and 4). As well as the limited series The Continental, which is set in 1975 and showcases Winston’s rise to power.

Neither spin-off is likely to be as successful as the main film franchise, and with each film release making more money than the last, Lionsgate will almost certainly want more. Taking all of this into account, we feel confident in saying John Wick is not dead, and will very likely return for more action-packed insanity after a short break.

For more on John Wick and its various spin-offs, keep a close eye on That Hashtag Show, and let us know if you think John Wick is dead on Twitter @ThatHashtagShow.