A core component of this year's John Wick sequel is a certain sequence involving a meme-mastering horse. As memory tells us, franchise star and confirmed provider of air travel calmness Keanu Reeves was captured atop a horse during the shoot in a photo of a seemingly intense scene that was very quickly turned into another Reeves-related meme upon its surfacing last August.
Now, by way of Reeves' new GQ cover story, we've been met with the daunting reality that the horse stuff almost didn't make it into the movie at all.
As John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum director Chad Stahelski explained, the idea was born from a list of all possible skills Reeves could bring to the wildly successful franchise's latest entry, this time co-starring none other than Halle Berry.
"Somebody took that picture while we were shooting in Brooklyn and released it," Stahelski said of the beloved Reeves x horse shots. "I thought it was cool. Keanu thought it was cool. I don't think the studio thought it was cool. I'm a big Sergio Leone fan, so no matter what, I was putting Keanu on a horse in this movie. If you've got an actor who can ride horses, ride motorcycles, do fight scenes, why not?"
For the record, it is indeed cool:
As for that aforementioned skills list, Stahelski said the intent was to incorporate every single one into the production in some way. "We sat down and I said, Give me everything you can do really well," he said. "And we put all that in the movies. Drive a car, check the box. Ride a horse, check the box. Nobody wanted the horses. I had to fight for that one. People thought it was too weird."
Though the interview doesn't include any direct quotes from Reeves on the horseplay, the recently confirmed Bill & Ted revival participator did offer some insight on meme culture at large, with writer Alex Pappademas noting that Reeves believes that actively seeking your own memeification "wouldn't feel like a creative act."
See the full interview, including photography from Daniel Jackson, right here.
If the resulting horse footage in Parabellum isn't to your liking, you'll likely have plenty more Wick opportunities in the near future to make up for it. With Parabellum out May 17, co-star Ian McShane recently presented his prediction that the series will still be in progress 10 years from now.
"You never know, Keanu might be running the [Continental] hotel and everything by then," McShane told Collider earlier this month.