John Wick: Chapter 2 director Chad Stahelski thought the first film would be a one-off. And when it was clear that John Wick was a hit, he initially struggled with the best approach to take to a follow-up. In an interview with Collider, he reveals that James Cameron's sci-fi classic Aliens—perhaps the gold standard in quality sequels—provided some inspiration.
Collider's interviewer asked Stahelski how he decided to manage the expectations of the first movie's "very rabid fans with their own expectations."
The director described the experience of making The Matrix, where he first met Wick star Keanu Reeves, and how the creators of that film, the Wachowskis, were initially not all that thrilled at the task ahead of them. They were "all sitting around having and a drink and we’re all saying, 'This is gonna be great! This is gonna be great!'" he recounted, "[Both] of them [were] sour. I was like, 'Why what’s up isn’t this the best thing ever?' They were like, 'Well it’s kind of the curse of the sequel.'"
"The reason people love you so much sometimes," Stahelski continued, "is because you’re original."
He's right about that. Stahelski's answer segued into the dangers of comparing your work to anything else, including yourself. "We decided to stop competing with [John Wick]," he said, and:
Once we stopped worrying about ourselves it was fun. I mean is it as good as the first one? I don’t know. Did we go better in some ways? Yes. Did we experiment with the characters more? Yes. Everything there is better. Is the enjoyment better? I think the enjoyment is there, but it’s different. All the other director friends I have don’t like doing sequels or don’t like doing other people’s sequels, which is even worse I think. But then there’s other examples. I think the best example is Ridley Scott. He did the first Alien. James Cameron created Aliens. Cameron, I think think is a genius for that. Going, “I’m not making the same Aliens again, I’m just gonna make it.” If I could be so bold as to take that similarity then so be it.
Stahelski also dropped tantalizing hints about a third film. He said, "[The] studio has asked us to put our heads together and see if we can come up with something. Winston’s [Ian McShane] is a big part of the next one, so is Lance Reddick. We’ve got some ideas."
We haven't even seen Chapter 2 yet but we're pretty sure we're already down for whatever the crew behind John Wick has in store.
John Wick: Chapter 2 blasts into movie theaters on February 10, 2017.