The “John Wick” films are also, Lee recognizes, a mounting exercise in trying to outdo what came before. “Chapter 3” had to be even longer and larger than “Chapter 2.” No wonder “Chapter 4” is as massive as it is. While brainstorming, Lee said, Stahelski would come up with one wild idea and, it seems, it would go immediately into the new movie. It seems Lee was willing to entertain any wild idea that initially made the movie bigger. She said:
“I think after the third film we were like, ‘Oh my God, we can never do this again.’ And then I’ll never forget, Chad and I had lunch one day and he was like, ‘I’m thinking Japan. I’m thinking nunchucks and snow. Have you seen what they can do with snowmobiles these days?’ And I was like, ‘Okay, we have a movie.’ It was such small pieces but I could just see the wheels in his brain spinning, and we were off to the races at that point.”
Indeed, some of the year’s new snowmobiles look pretty cool. In a weird stroke of luck, COVID-related delays and a scheduling conflict allowed Lee and the other “John Wick” filmmakers to really suss out their story and decide which action sequences would be most practical. Lee said:
“Then there was Covid, but the good or the bad of it was that it gave us also some more time to develop the script and work on it. And Keanu did ‘The Matrix [Resurrections],’ so that changed. We had a little bit more time in between than we normally do.”
The marinating allowed Lee and Stahelski to make an action epic that earned $73.5 million in its opening weekend.
No snowmobiles, sadly, but an impressive feat nonetheless.