John Wick franchise director Chad Stahelski explains how the ill-faded dog of Keanu Reeves’ assassin almost cut from the original film.
The film’s creators, the filmmakers of John Wick nearly removed the biggest catalyst of the script — his dog.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, John Wick franchise director Chad Stahelski was asked whether the Keanu Reeves’ action-thriller from 2014 would have been an enormous success without the sacrifice of the super-assassin’s beagle puppy. Stahelski and David Leitch struggled to decide whether the dog Wick was a good idea to be taken out of the film. Stahelski declared that the dog’s death was written out every time it was placed back in.
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“Ultimately, it’s mythological. The symbolism was there, but we had to go overboard. We’re not trying to hold the realism,” the director added. “We want viewers to know that we’re having an enjoyable time. You don’t realize how Dave and I argued about the issue. It was a shame that we put our lives at risk with credit cards, mortgages, and all the rest. Producer Basil Iwanyk put his company up. You realize that we are killing a puppy and the whole thing is happening. I thought we would never come back from it.”
John Wick Studio tries to save the dog
The dog’s death was always on the page since the initial draft of John Wick. While the studio executives struggled with the murder of their dog, Stahelski and Leitch stood in their stead to prevent them from saving the dog, according to John Wick screenwriter Derek Kolstad. “I think they wanted to be right. There were instances where the studio] said”Let’s get rid of the dog. Let’s focus on the assassin who is coming out of retirement. This kind of thing,” Kolstad said.
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The audience members who watched the test eventually responded to the death of the dog exactly the way John Wick filmmakers had expected. This was a huge attraction for the studio. Kolstad declared, “We were watching our viewers.” Kolstad said, “As soon the dog died, and then seeing the reaction of the dog, and then witnessing the devastation inside the house, we were like yes, we were right.”
Though fans mourned the loss of Wick’s dog, Wick gained a new companion in the form of a pit bull puppy that was scheduled to be killed at the original film’s conclusion. The new dog accompanied him in the next two entries, 2017’s John Wick: Chapter 2 and the 2019 version of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. Following Chapter 3, Wick released Chapter 3 and the pup was so loved by his fans that Wick got his very own Funko Pop.
Check out whether the super-assassin and his dog finally find peace once John Witt: Chapter 4 arrives in theaters on March 24.