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Who Lives And Who Dies In John Wick: Chapter 4?

Contains spoilers for "John Wick: Chapter 4"

"John Wick: Chapter 4" has finally rolled into cinemas, bringing about yet another ballistic and chaotic adventure that raises the bar for action movies in Hollywood. The first film in the series since 2019's "John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum," anticipation for this next installment has been astronomical. One question on the minds of fans during this unprecedented four-year gap between films is how the series' protagonist, played by Keanu Reeves, would survive yet another deadly night in the crosshairs of the High Table.

"Chapter 4" introduces a staggering amount of new characters, every single one of them individually compelling — as such, it's hard not to fear for their survival as the journey becomes increasingly perilous. When the guns are finally drawn and the dust has finally settled, only a handful of John's friends and enemies are left standing. Even in its opening act, "Chapter 4" makes the stakes devastating clear — when the High Table wants blood, no one is safe.

The Elder is reborn... only to die again

As some fans may remember, John first travels to meet The Elder in "Chapter 3." He sacrifices his wedding ring and the finger that once carried it for the chance to serve under the High Table again. The Elder grants his wish, contingent upon the successful assassination of Winston (Ian McShane). Ultimately, John abandons the deal to fight against the High Table's army alongside Winston, before the latter double-crosses him.

In "Chapter 3," The Elder is played by Saïd Taghmaoui ("Wonder Woman"). Though initial reports indicated that "Game of Thrones" alum George Georgiou would be replacing Taghmaoui as The Elder in "Chapter 4," an aside from Georgiou's character reveals that Taghmaoui's Elder had died between films. The new Elder's reign is short-lived, however, as John executes him almost immediately.

The Bowery King's reign continues

Officially on the outs with the High Table after the events of "Chapter 3," Laurence Fisburne's Bowery King seemed as though he would be on the front lines with John in the coming war. The character is even given a fake-out death halfway through the events of the previous film.

Surprisingly, The Bowery King makes it out of "Chapter 4" entirely unscathed and in a fairly beneficial place. While continuing to facilitate John's vengeful deeds through his vast underground network, the King has even expanded his operation internationally by setting up a home base in Paris, France. Unfortunately, the King's good luck means there's little reason to spend time with him in a universe focused on conflict, relegating Fishburne to the distant background for the majority of the film. Then again, on a stage as crowded as this, perhaps it's for the best that he steps out of the spotlight.

Charon is excommunicado

The first tragic casualty of John's war with the High Table is Charon, Lance Reddick's dutiful and highly skilled Concierge who has long served Winston and the New York Continental Hotel. Unsatisfied with the failed assassination of John and looking to consolidate his power, The Marquis de Gramont (Bill Skarsgård) chooses to make an example out of Winston (and by extension, New York).

After The Harbinger (Clancy Brown) officially deconsecrates and condemns their hotel and orders Winston "excommunicado," The Marquis personally executes Charon with a pistol, setting up the film's big bad as the evilest threat the franchise has ever seen. Sadly, Reddick passed away at age 60 on March 17, 2023, but he had several projects in post-production including "The Ballerina" spin-off film as Charon. A younger version of Charon is also set to appear in the Peacock Original prequel series "The Continental," played by industry newcomer Ayomide Adegun.

Winston Scott plays the game and wins

Though his faithful friend was murdered for his transgressions, Winston suffers no consequences beyond deconsecration and ex-communication. The Marquis felt that killing Winston would only make him a martyr — his survival, however, allows him to mend his strained relationship with John quickly enough for the two to join forces toward a common goal.

Meeting at Charon's grave, Winston urges John to challenge The Marquis to a duel through an old forgotten law. With John on board, Winston manages to manipulate The Marquis into accepting the challenge, as well as his outrageously comprehensive terms.

In a film with nigh-incalculable bloodshed and personal sacrifice, Winston walks away not only with his life, but with his position as Manager reinstated and the promise that his hotel would be rebuilt — at the expense of the High Table, of course. If there was any proof that cunning is just as necessary for survival in this world as violence, it's Winston.

Koji Shimazu dies by the blade of an old friend

Winston's fellow managers, on the other hand, were not all so lucky. "Chapter 4" introduces audiences to the Osaka Continental, operated by Hotel Manager Koji Shimazu (Hiroyuki Sanada) and his daughter, Concierge Akira (Rina Sawayama). After refusing to give Chidi (Marko Zaror) and his men access to the hotel's resources, Chidi deconsecrates the Osaka Continental and launches a deadly assault on the building.

Though Koji easily works his way through most of the men that outnumber him, one is able to wound him — just before he comes face to face with his old friend Caine (Donnie Yen). A blind swordsman whose skills are truly unmatched, Caine critically wounds Koji shortly after their duel begins. Despite Caine's urges for him to surrender, Koji refuses to relent, forcing Caine to kill him.

Sanada was previously sought after by the "John Wick" team for the role of Zero in "Chapter 3" (the fanboy sushi chef-assassin that was ultimately played by Mark Dacascos). Scheduling conflicts with "Avengers: Endgame" forced him to drop out, though it ultimately paved the way for him to play an entirely new role.

Akira Shimazu survives to exact her revenge

When Caine murders Koji, he does so in front Koji's daughter — Akira. The poetry of the moment is rich, considering Caine's primary motivation throughout the film is to secure freedom for himself and his own daughter.

When Koji first dies, Akira picks up the sword as if to take immediate vengeance. Both she and Caine know she would be no match for him, so the two part ways — but not before Caine warns "I'll be waiting for you." Akira then follows John to the metro, where she promises to kill Caine if John doesn't.

These two moments in tandem with the mid-credits scene blatantly imply that Sawayama will reprise her role in a future "John Wick" film, likely in the pursuit of vengeance for her father's death. This potential plot line is made all the more complicated with the resolution of Caine's character arc in "Chapter 4."

Killa be killed

One of the more predictable deaths in the film was that of Scott Adkin's gregariously cartoonish not-so-mini-boss Killa. With several added prosthetic pounds to the normally trim and always prolific stunt performer, Killa is a monstrous brawler with a fondness for gambling and gold-plated veneers.

In order to regain his familial place in the Belarussian crime family Ruska Roma, John is asked by new leader Katia ("Harry Potter" alum Natalia Tena) to assassinate the man who murdered her father — Killa. Setting up yet another iconic club massacre for the "John Wick" franchise, John, Caine, and Tracker (Shamier Anderson) converge in a chaotic fashion to kill their enemies and each other.

Ultimately, all major characters escape except for Killa, who is unceremoniously thrown onto his head from several stories in the air. To add insult to injury, John bashes in his teeth to retrieve proof of death for Katia.

Katia honors her obligations to John and the High Table

Speaking of Katia, she eventually honors her deal with John and re-brands him as a son of Belarus and a member of the Ruska Roma family. This step is crucial in John's journey throughout "Chapter 4," as without familial ties to the High Table he would be powerless to challenge The Marquis.

Though it ruffles some feathers, Katia handled the situation perfectly above board in the eyes of the High Table and therefore suffers no consequences for the remainder of the film. First introduced in "Chapter 3," the Ruska Roma is John's adopted family whom he once severed ties with to gain passage out of New York City. This subset of the "John Wick" universe will seemingly be the focus of the upcoming spin-off film "Ballerina," which stars Ana de Armas and Anjelica Huston. Though she hasn't been announced as of yet, it wouldn't be surprising if Tena reprised her role as Katia in the film.

Chidi gets chewed up

Every major foe in the "John Wick" universe must have at least one obligatory lackey just as infuriatingly evil and arrogant as they are — if not more so. In comparison to Ms. Perkins (Adrianne Palicki), Avi (Dean Winters), Ares (Ruby Rose), and Zero, Chidi is by far the most hateable. He even commits the one unforgivable sin in the "John Wick" universe — hurting a dog.

As any "John Wick" fan knows, laying a hand on a dog is a surefire way to get yourself killed in the most heinous way possible. John even chooses to attack Chidi rather than save his own skin after the latter tries to kill Tracker's dog at the Parisian hotel.

In the end, during the spectacular battle on the steps toward Sacre Coeur, that very dog tears Chidi's groin to shreds, pins him to the ground for a headshot, and urinates on his corpse. In terms of "John Wick" kills, this may be the most intentionally undignified in the entire series.

Tracker and his dog get something better than a pay day

Having successfully overcome his primary antagonist in Chidi, Tracker chooses to honor his unspoken debt to John and allows him to confront The Marquis. The stakes of the duel are just as high for Tracker as they are for John and Winston, as The Marquis made it clear that Tracker's debt to the High Table would either be paid with John's life or his.

Fortunately, Tracker is spared from the High Table's wrath during the climax, freeing himself and his dog to hunt another day. Interestingly enough, Tracker's dog is a Belgian Malinois — the exact same breed as Sofia's (Halle Berry) dogs in "Chapter 3." Though it's possible that they are simply the easiest breed of dog to work with on a production like this, perhaps the two characters are connected in some way. Berry has said in the past that there have been discussions about a spin-off film for her character, and it certainly seems as though fans will want to see more of Anderon's Tracker in the future.

Not even The Marquis de Gramont is safe from the Baba Yaga

Like all great "John Wick" villains, Skarsgård's Marquis de Gramont's detestable personality immediately gets fans into the vengeful mindset of the protagonist. Surely, none of our readers would harm a soul — unless that soul shot Charon just to make a point.

The Marquis spends the majority of the film brooding and musing about consequences in a surprisingly excellent French accent, while simultaneously auditioning to be on the cover of Vogue magazine. Seriously, how many suits does this guy own? Are they all bulletproof? Does the High Table have a High Tailor? So many questions, so little time.

Despite his best efforts, The Marquis is killed by the most embarrassing weapon of all — pride. After John sustains a nasty gutshot during his duel with Caine, The Marquis enacts his right to step in for his proxy, wanting to deliver the final blow to John himself. After verbally confirming that Caine and his daughter were officially free and taking his place just ten paces from John, Winston reveals his folly — John hadn't yet taken his shot that round. Before he can react, John takes his free shot and puts a bullet in The Marquis' forehead, killing him instantly and ending the nightmare for good.

Caine wins his freedom and his conscience

Though he has his own gut wound to heal from, Caine seems in decent shape at the end of the film, all things considered. As John seemingly predicated and orchestrated, The Marquis' arrogance allowed Caine to legitimately and decisively earn his freedom without being forced to execute John himself.

What's especially fascinating about Caine is that he's the only foe John is never shown to defeat head-on. While other characters take out lesser enemies like Chidi throughout the films, Caine is the first character apart from John to be presented as truly unbeatable — a tantalizing prospect, considering he appears to be set up as the antagonist of Akira's inevitable spin-off film.

If the franchise were to head in this direction either in a spin-off or a direct sequel, it would provide the franchise's most morally complex conflict yet. Audiences will likely be torn between wanting Akira to get revenge for her dead father and wanting Caine to survive for his own daughter. Both characters were clear standouts from "Chapter 4," and a project returning them to the screen together would be a treat for "John Wick" fans everywhere.

John Wick could only find peace in death

Sadly, one character who likely won't be returning is Keanu Reeves' titular gunslinger — the Baba Yaga himself, John Wick.

Though John is able to dethrone (and de-brain) The Marquis, the wounds he received from Caine were too great. As The Elder said in the film's opening moments before his own demise, the only way John Wick can ever find peace is in death. As the sun rises over Paris, John thinks about his wife as he finally finds what he's been searching for.

Or does he? Though we see John slump over on the steps, as well as a shot of his grave (which heartbreakingly reads "loving husband," at John's request), the writers have left his fate relatively ambiguous. We never see John's body actually being put in the ground, nor do we see the direct aftermath of his battle at Sacre Coeur. Perhaps his presumed death will allow John to find comfort somewhere quiet and far from violence. Then again, perhaps this is merely the symbolic killing of "John Wick, loving husband," the man who fought to honor his wife's memory. When we next see him, he might be an entirely different and far more dangerous entity — a true Baba Yaga, and a Baba Yaga alone.