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John Wick Questions We Need The Ballerina Spin-Off To Answer

As John Wick (Keanu Reeves) kneels before the Director (Anjelica Huston) of the Ruska Roma pleading for passage to Casablanca, the enigmatic matriarch reminds the assassin, "You forget that the Ruska Roma is bound by the High Table and the High Table stands above all." In "John Wick: Chapter 3," we see the sort of company that the titular madman grew up with. As an orphan, John was raised by the Ruska Roma, a collective of Romani individuals of Russo origin. Trained to peak physical perfection, those who are raised by the Ruska Roma pride themselves in their athleticism, prowess, and performance artistry — hence, the forthcoming spin-off titled "Ballerina."

The third "John Wick" film depicted the seemingly tortured lead of the upcoming spin-off. As John entered the theater, the Director is overseeing the ballerina that is set to headline the upcoming film. The Director calls her by name, Rooney (Unity Phelan). However, the spin-off film will feature another actress taking on the role of Rooney: Ana De Armas. We know a few details about the upcoming film that is already in production and will likely release sometime after "Chapter 4." For starters, Rooney — like John — is out for bloody vengeance. Only this time, it isn't a puppy that is taken from the leading lady. Rooney's entire family was murdered. With this interlude between "John Wick: Chapter 4" and the eventual "Chapter 5," there are bound to be serious connections to the larger world as presented in the "John Wick" films. Obviously, we have questions, and we hope the soon-to-be-released Ballerina spin-off will provide some answers.

Why did John leave the Ruska Roma behind?

There's no mistaking that John has traveled the world throughout his career as an assassin. He is multilingual and is aware of the customs of most of the foreign places he visits. Furthermore, he's got connections everywhere. However, the legendary assassin who once killed three men in a bar with a pencil had to come from somewhere. He didn't just appear out of thin air with these skills.

In the first film, John was once the go-to man for Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist), a Russian kingpin. When Viggo explains to his son the gravity of his mistake in assaulting John in his home and killing his dog, Viggo briefly touches on the moment John wanted "out" from his work as a Russian mob enforcer. He has fallen in love and wants to live life in peace with his wife. So, Viggo gives John an impossible task. Viggo states, "the bodies he buried that day laid the foundation of what we are now." 

John's ties to the Russians likely came from his upbringing through the Ruska Roma. The Director isn't just overseeing the athletic training of youth. She is clearly also a crime lord of sorts. So the real question is, why did John leave the Ruska Roma to work for Viggo? Or was his work for Viggo still under the Ruska Roma umbrella? If the latter is the case, then we already know the answer to the question of his departure. But if it's the former, we have to wonder why John left his adoptive family with the Ruska Roma to go perform work as an assassin elsewhere. The Director seems to still feel a sense of bitterness over his decision to leave.

What relationship does the Director have to the assassin world?

Jardani, the name John is referred to as by the Director, was vastly influenced by his upbringing with the Ruska Roma. It was there that he received his combat training. John pleads with the Director to allow him passage in "John Wick: Chapter 3" so that he can attempt to gain an audience with the High Table. In his plight, he reminds the Director that he was an orphan of her "tribe." As a semi-adoptive family, the Director very well might be the closest thing John ever had to a mother. And it's obvious that she still cares for John despite her disparaging remarks toward him. She acknowledges that she could forfeit her life just for speaking with John but still provides him the passage he needs.

The Director does note that she is bound by the High Table. Apparently, the High Table exerts a hefty amount of power. But to what end is she involved in the world of assassins? Do her students become assassins for the Ruska Roma? Or does she train them to simply go to work for whomever they choose? Does she have any particular loyalties to any particular organization? While she fears the High Table, she demonstrates that she's not entirely loyal as she willingly goes against protocol. There's no doubt that the spin-off film will delve more into her connections with the greater world of contract killers.

Does Winston have a relationship with The Director?

There are a few familiar faces confirmed to be returning for the spin-off. Of course, Anjelica Huston will once again portray the Director, and Ian McShane has also been confirmed to be reprising his role as Winston, head of the New York City Continental Hotel. The last time we saw Winston, he was putting several bullets into John's bullet-proofed suit seemingly betraying his friend to gain favor with the Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon). Of course, we can speculate all we want to, but it seems unlikely that Winston actually betrayed John, and targeting his vest was a calculated move. But we'll have to wait and see.

Still, Winston is going to make an appearance in the ballerina spin-off potentially having him share the screen with the Director. Since they are both leaders in the world of assassins, it'll be interesting to see if they already have a relationship. In the present day, Winston has proven to be John's closest friend and ally aside from Marcus (Willem Dafoe) who dies protecting John in the first film. Winston has gone out of his way and against protocol to give the assassin tips during his journey. He even gives him a head start before being labeled as "excommunicado" within the strange assassin organization. Since the Director seems to be another major figure in John Wick's life, or at least his past, it's highly likely that she and Winston have crossed paths before.

How far-reaching is the High Table?

In the beginning, we know nothing about the High Table. The only sense of authority we know of in the world of assassins in the first film is the Continental, a hotel that caters to those who labor in dealing death to contracted targets. When Ms. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki) defies the rules of the Continental, she is summarily executed by Winston's armed security detail. But the sequel films opened the door to a dark and grisly wonderland of violent horrors. Assassins exist all around us, and there's only one governing body that can ever reign them in and keep them in line — that is the mysterious High Table.

The Director reminds John that even the Ruska Roma are bound by the High Table as it oversees all. She is later punished for aiding John. So the question becomes, how far does the High Table's authority go? Surely, there has to be a group or organization that isn't loyal to the High Table. Does the assassin leadership have its hands in government pockets around the world, too? Perhaps understanding the nature of the High Table's authority might be simpler if we learn the origins of the existing authority. Hopefully, the ballerina spin-off can shine a light on some of these unknown details regarding the High Table's history.

Are there any repercussions for the Adjudicator's visit to the theater?

After aiding John in his escape to Morocco, the High Table seeks recompense for the Ruska Roma's perceived betrayal. The Adjudicator is accompanied by Zero (Mark Dacascos) and his assassins as they infiltrate the theater. Quickly, Zero's men dispatch the Ruska Roma guards walking along the perimeter of the theater with their ninja-like abilities. It's a swift and visceral display of bloodshed that ultimately leads to the Adjudicator hovering over the Director as she finishes reviewing her dancers on stage.

Even though the Director tells John that the Ruska Roma is not above the high table out of fear, she seemingly indicates to the Adjudicator begrudgingly that the Ruska Roma and the High Table have an understanding. She even claims John had a ticket to which the Adjudicator replies that the High Table supersedes all, including a "ticket" — something the Director already knew despite the claim. The Adjudicator then exacts payment for the Director's sins in blood as Zero impales the Director's praying hands. With so many of the Ruska Roma dead and the Director now reeling from her blood atonement, we must wonder if there will be repercussions for this event. Will the Ruska Roma attempt to separate themselves from the High Table's demands? It doesn't seem that the Director is too pleased about answering to someone outside of the Ruska Roma. Perhaps, the Adjudicator will be the in Director's crosshairs. It's hard to believe that absolutely nothing would result from the brutality inflicted upon the organization.

What's the Ruska Roma's connection to Viggo?

John Wick is a legend in his line of work. Most other assassins highly respect him, even when they're trying to kill him. John's career has bestowed a hefty amount of experience upon the assassin giving him the opportunity to traverse the world and learn other languages. Yet, it doesn't seem like he has ever operated as a free agent during his time as a contract killer. It seems that he was mostly at Viggo's beck and call. And if that's truly the case, what a shame it must have been for Viggo to have to let him go. If there ever was an MVP in the world of assassins, John would be the guy.

Viggo and the Ruska Roma's shared Russian background is likely not a coincidence. Since John was seemingly raised and trained by the Ruska Roma, it begs the question as to whether he fell into Viggo's hands based on a significant connection with his organization. There are a lot of subtle teases regarding John's history. But right now, it's a bit of a tangled web with spotty details at best. And it's likely audiences would like to see it be untangled should the spin-off or any future "John Wick" film decide to set us straight.

What is the significance of the tattoos on John and the ballerina?

In the first film, we learn about John's notorious designation as the feared Baba Yaga — or, simply put, the Boogeyman. As Viggo dishes on his old associate to enlighten his son as to how much trouble they're in, we see John preparing for battle. At one point, he takes a shower and we can see his back marked with a praying hands tattoo in front of a crucifix. Above it is lettering that reads "Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat." A quick translation from Latin reveals that this means "fortune favors the brave." On his right side, there's an image of a wolf as well as flames on the left. They might seem like simple indications of his past as a killer for the Russian mob, or an acknowledgment of his once-held religious beliefs. But given what we've seen within the Ruska Roma, it seems like the tattoos are a bit more than that.

When we see Rooney dancing on stage for the Director, she has a similar tattoo with a cross on her back and lettering above. It's likely that these tattoos are symbolic of their family within the Ruska Roma. When the Director metaphorically punches John's ticket, her guard takes the crucifix on his rosary, heats it, and burns its image on top of his back tattoo, but upside down. When we think of upside crosses, many might think of Satanic worship. But that doesn't seem to be what this is. It appears to be a nullification of his identity as part of the Ruska Roma emblazoned upon his back. Whichever way you spin it, we're hopeful that the spin-off film will shed some more light on this detail.

Will John Wick appear as an ally to Rooney?

This is probably the biggest question concerning a series that has focused heavily on the character it's named after: Will John Wick appear in this spin-off? Surely, he won't be the film's sole focus as that honor will go to Rooney. However, he could play a smaller role or even be relegated to a cameo. However, if he were to appear, would he be an ally to Rooney? We have no indication that Rooney and John have ever met before outside of John simply being in the same vicinity as Rooney while she danced on stage during his conversation with the Director.

Still, he might feel some sense of loyalty to anyone who is aligned with the Ruska Roma considering his past. Additionally, John would likely be sympathetic toward Rooney's end goal of achieving vengeance since that's something he sought not too long ago. Furthermore, the studio may want to use John Wick to help usher fans into the greater world they've crafted. One film with John Wick helping fans warm up to another headlining action star is all that's needed. Going forward, future films in this spin-off series could then feature Rooney as a solo lead.

Keanu Reeves has become a larger-than-life personality once again in recent years, and there's little doubt that fans are eager to see more from his character considering the success of the "John Wick" films to date. A cameo appearance at minimum would be a no-brainer.

Will the Ruska Roma increase the female assassin population?

While the assassin world is indeed diverse, it still seems heavily weighted on the side of male assassins. To date, we've only really been able to see a few femme fatales such as Ms. Perkins, Ares (Ruby Rose), and Sofia (Halle Berry). But with an organization like the Ruska Roma with countless ballerinas enduring brutal training at the behest of the Director, there's clearly room for more. Many might already be drawing comparisons between the ballerinas of John Wick's world and the Black Widows we've seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It seems they both share they same pain and rigorous training in order to achieve the status of an elite assassin.

Rooney will surely lead the charge in this new breaking point from the "John Wick" saga. It isn't a far cry to wonder if her combat prowess will be supplemented by fellow ballerina allies from the Ruska Roma. With the world as established by the "John Wick" franchise, it feels like anything is possible at this stage. Assassins are commonplace, and there are most certainly more women out there ready to grab the spotlight.

Is Rooney voluntarily a part of the Ruska Roma?

The Ruska Roma is apparently John Wick's adoptive family — even if they're not very familial. It was revealed that he was an orphan in Belarus and was taken in by the Director. He was then trained to be the force of reckoning that he's become. But one must wonder whether he was adopted by the Ruska Roma voluntarily. It's possible that the organization simply chose orphaned children to forcibly recruit their numbers.

The same question would then have to be posed about Rooney. Is she a member of the Ruska Roma of her own free will? Training is ruthless and unforgiving it seems. Many of us likely cringed as we saw a ballerina peel off a toenail from her bruised feet. If choice was a factor, then it's likely that once you're in, you're stuck for the long haul — at least, until you have the strength and fortitude to leave such an oppressive regiment as John did. It's likely we will learn a bit about Rooney and her past given that her family's death is the sole catalyst of her narrative. So only time will tell if she is a willing recruit or a captive one.