Everything you need to know from A-Z about the action-packed franchise.

John Wick is the titular character in a series of action films created by screenwriter Derek Kolstad and directed by Chad Stahelski. Starring Keanu Reeves as Wick, the original film was released in 2014 and quickly became a box office hit, earning over $88M worldwide. The film’s runaway success earned it immediate cult status among both action aficionados and international moviegoers, and spawned an equally impressive sequel, John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017), which earned over $171M worldwide. On May 17, the highly-anticipated John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum will continue the story of Wick, a legendary assassin who was content with leaving a life of killing behind him until death came knocking at his door—and head.

Each subsequent film in the blockbuster franchise peels back another layer of a vast criminal underworld bubbling just beneath the surface. From the various international branches of The Continental—a hitman safe haven hidden in plain sight—to the governing body known only as The High Table, each progressive storyline uncovers more about this secret world of assassins and Wick’s past as they relate to his extremely uncertain future.

At the close of Chapter 2, Wick has been classified excommunicado from The High Table with a $14M bounty on his head, putting him at odds with the very system he once served. Before Chapter 3  picks up the action with our hero wounded and on the run, we put together a universal primer that will bring new devotees up to speed and refresh diehard fans on the worldwide web of Wick.

John Wick - Adjudicator, Aurelio, Bowery King

A Man of Focus, Commitment, and Sheer Will: How crime boss Viggo Tarasov describes Wick’s drive and killing expertise during the course of the original film. The descriptive statement is uttered again in Chapter 2 by Viggo’s brother, Abram.

Accounts Payable: A pseudo hitmen call service utilized to track hits, open contracts, and assign designations.

The Adjudicator: A High Table representative (played by Asia Kate Dillon) appearing in Chapter 3 with the primary goal of investigating the events of the previous film and passing judgement on all Wick sympathizers.

The Administrator: Central Accounts Payable operator (played by Robin Lord Taylor) appearing in Chapter 3, who receives and executes High Table designation requests.

Ares: The mute ward (played by Ruby Rose) of Italian mob boss Santino D’Antonio. He was tasked with killing Wick in Chapter 2, as a means of tying up any loose ends relating to the death of Santino’s sister, Gianna.

Aurelio: Mechanic and chop shop owner (played by John Leguizamo) who services The Continental’s clientele and considers Wick a friend.  

Avi: Viggo Tarasov’s consigliere (played by Dean Winters) and tasked with hiring a crew—including female assassin Ms. Perkins—to kill Wick in the original film. He does not speak Russian.

Baba Yaga / Boogeyman: Based on a Slavic folklore, it was one of the nicknames given to Wick based on his proficiency with killing. Some translated the name to mean “Boogeyman,” but Viggo clarifies that Wick is the one you send to kill the fuckin’ Boogeyman.

“Bayu-Bayushki:” Russian folk song that plays during the scene at the Red Circle where Wick mows through Tarasov mob members like nothing.

Belgian Malinois: The breed of Sofia’s attack dogs in Chapter 3.

Blanton’s The Original Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey: The bourbon Wick drinks while being stitched up by The Continental doctor in the first film.

The Bowery King: New York City crime lord (played by Laurence Fishburne) who runs a network of homeless assassins throughout the city.  He has eyes and ears everywhere.

Camorra: Italian mafia syndicate within The High Table.

Casablanca: A key location for Wick during Chapter 3, as he fights to survive being excommunicado.

Cassian: Gianna D’Antonio’s ward (played by Common) who swore to avenge her death in Chapter 2.

Canis Minor: Also known as “the little dog,” it’s one of the 48 constellations first cataloged by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century that plays a significant role in Wick’s journey in Chapter 3.

Catacombs: The passageway Wick used to execute his hit on Gianna D’Antonio and fulfill his marker.

Chapter: Term used for each sequential film after the original in the John Wick series.

Charon: The concierge (played by Lance Reddick) at the New York arm of The Continental who greets guests upon arrival and ensures all their needs are met and the rules are followed.

Chronicles: Name of the first-person shooter VR video game based on the John Wick series.

The Continental: International hotel syndicate and large part of the High Table’s infrastructure, that serves as a safe zone for criminal guests as no “business” can be conducted on property. Violators will face heavy penalties, including death and excommunication.

Contract: An official hit order placed by leaders under The High Table that are either open or exclusive. The former meaning any assassin within the community can execute it, while the latter means it is assigned to a specific hitman.

Daisy: Wick’s dog, and parting gift from his late wife, Helen. It’s the death of Daisy by the Iosef Tarasov’s hand that pulls Wick out of retirement and ignites the events of the franchise’s first film.

Deconsecrated: The equivalent of ex-communicado for High Table entities. If The Continental’s management is deemed unfit, and unwilling to step aside, their branch runs the risk of being deconsecrated.

Derek Kolstad: Screenwriter of each John Wick film.

The Director: Leader of the Ruska Roma (played by Anjelica Huston) in Chapter 3 who has a yet-to-be-determined connection to Wick.

John Wick - Charon, Director, Daisy
John Wick Gianna, The Elder, Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat

The Elder:  The one who sits above the High Table.

Excommunicado: The designation assigned by The High Table when someone breaks the unbreakable rules of The Continental and is excised from the organization.

Eye for an Eye: The hitmen code, and the threat Cassian aims at Wick in Chapter 2 for killing Gianna.

Fealty: Derived from the Latin word fidelitas, it’s a pledge of allegiance of one person to another that is a core requirement of servitude under The High Table.

Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat: (Fortune favors the bold) Latin saying tattooed across the top of Wick’s back.

Fortnite: A wildly popular battle royale, third-person, multiplayer video game, which features a playable character skin that bears a striking resemblance to Mr. Wick.

Fourteen Million: The dollar amount of the bounty put out on Wick by Winston at the end of Chapter 2.

Gianna D’antonio: Sister (played by Claudia Gerini) to Italian mob boss Santino, and the “marker” Wick must fulfill in Chapter 2. Prior to John delivering the final kill shot, Gianna slits her wrists in an attempt to die on her own terms just as she lived.

Glock: Wick’s weapon of choice is the “Combat Master” version of this popular firearm.

Gold Coin: The currency of The Continental.

Greg Pak: Writer of the 2017 John Wick comic book series.

Helen: John Wick’s late wife.

The High Table: The ruling body of international crime in the John Wick universe.  They set and enforce all the rules.

Impossible Task: The mission given to Wick by Viggo Tarasov, which allowed him to retire once it was completed.

Iosef Tarasov: Viggo Tarasov’s son (played by Alfie Allen) who kills Wick’s dog Daisy and steals his car in the original film.

Jordani Jovanich: A mysterious character from Wick’s past who surfaces in Chapter 3.

Jimmy: Police officer (played by Thomas Sadoski) who is aware of Wick’s murderous past but chooses to look the other way.

John Wick: Also known as “Baba Yaga” or “The Boogeyman,” Wick (played by Keanu Reeves) is a mythical figure within the underground assassin community. His efficiency as a hit man led to the ascendancy of the Tarasov mob and granted him the right to an early retirement. However, that was cut short when a personal vendetta against Iosef Tarasov sucked him back into the life.

Kevin Nash: WWE wrestler turned actor who appeared in the original John Wick as a Red Circle bodyguard/bouncer named Francis. He gladly takes the night off rather than engaging with Mr. Wick.

Kimber 1911 .45 ACP: The type of gun the Bowery King gives Wick to kill Santino D’antonio at the end of Chapter 2.

John Wick - Helen - John Wick-lopedia
John Wick -  Marcus, Marker, Mustang

Le Castle Vania: Name of the electronic dance project created by Dylan Eiland, who contributed several original songs to the John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2 soundtracks. He also had a cameo in the latter film as a DJ playing Gianna D’Antonio’s coronation ceremony. 

Lerna: One of the two Belgian attack dogs owned by Wick’s friend Sofia that are introduced in Chapter 3.

Lionsgate: Film studio behind the John Wick film franchise.

Manero AutoDate: Wick’s signature watch designed by Carl F. Bucherer.

Marcus: A veteran assassin (played by Willem Dafoe), who Wick regards as one of his only true friends.  

Marker: An object that signifies a blood oath between two individuals that must be honored if the other party comes to collect on it.

Mustang: Wick’s ’69 edition muscle car that was ultimately stolen by Iosef Tarasov, which led to the events in the first film.  

New York: The location of one of the seminal branches of The Continental, which has been managed by Winston for over 40 years.

Nostalghia: Singer/songwriter who contributed two songs to Chapter 2 and also appeared in the film as a performer during Gianna D’Antonio’s coronation ceremony.

One Hundred & Twenty-Eight: Confirmed number of kills in Chapter 2, nearly doubles the first film’s kill count.

Operators: Those who manage the telephone lines in Accounts Payable and are responsible for documenting and tracking all existing contracts.

Order 11111: The Accounts Payable order number put on John Wick at end of Chapter 2 by Winston that officially designates him as excommunicado.

Orthrus: The second Belgian attack dog owned by Wick’s friend Sofia that is introduced in Chapter 3.

Parabellum: In addition to being a type of automatic firearm, the Latin meaning of the word means “prepare for war,” which is a fitting subtitle for Chapter 3.

Pencil: According to Viggo, Wick once used this common writing utensil to kill three men in a bar, adding to the assassin’s already storied rep. Wick adds another two victims to the list dispensing of a pair of would be assassins using a pencil in Chapter 2.

Ms. Perkins: The hitwoman (played by Adrianne Palicki), who breaks the rules of The Continental in the original film by attempting to kill Wick on company grounds.

Pigeons: Breed of bird that the Bowery King uses as his main form of transmitting secret messages because they can’t be hacked.

Quavo: One-third of Atlanta rap trio, the Migos, who wrote the chorus for the group’s 2015 song, “John Wick.”

Red Circle: Owned by the Tarasov Mob, this nightclub was used to house Iosef Tarasov as bait for John Wick in the first film.

Reflections of the Soul: The art exhibit Santino D’Antonio hosts where Wick makes a final attempt on his life at the end of Chapter 2.

Retirement: A fleeting concept for Wick, who was supposed to leave his life of contract killing behind him after completing his “impossible task.” However, fate would have other plans for him.

Rosary: A key symbol in the Ruska Roma, which could play a major role for Wick during his journey in Chapter 3.

Room 818: Wick’s room number at The Continental in the first film.

Ruska Roma: Belarusian crime syndicate under the High Table that is headed up by The Director.

John Wick Red Circle, Ms. Perkins, Pigeons
John Wick Santino, Sofia, Tick Tock Man

Santino D’antonio: Italian crime boss who calls upon Wick to honor his blood oath marker in Chapter 2 by killing his sister, Gianna. Santino’s subsequent betrayal leads John down a path of no return.

Seven: A recurring number throughout the franchise. In Chapter 2, it signifies the amount of rounds in the gun The Bowery King gives Wick, which equates to Santino’s $7M hit. In Chapter 3, The Adjudicator references the number when doling out deadlines or passing out judgment (i.e. 7 days, 7 cuts).  

Sofia: An assassin (played by Halle Berry) from Wick’s past, who now manages one of The Continental’s international locations. Wick calls on her to honor her blood oath marker.

Specialized Waste Disposal: One of the many services offered by The Continental. This particular clean up service specializes in disappearing bodies and crime scenes.

The Sommelier: Much more than your average wine steward, The Contintental’s sommelier (played by Peter Serafinowicz) is a weapons expert for any occasion.

Starz: Premium cable network that is developing a TV series about The Continental.

Suit: The attire (designed by Luca Mosca) that Wick is rarely seen without over the course of the franchise.

Switchboard: Vintage telecommunications system utilized in Accounts Payable to connect Continental management and High Table leaders with the operators who execute contracts per their instructions.

Tick Tock Man: One of the Bowery King’s faithful mercenaries (played by Jason Mantzoukas) in Chapter 3.

Two Unbreakable Rules of The Continental: No conducting business on company grounds.  No breaking of blood oath markers.

Tyler Bates: The accomplished composer responsible for the original score for each chapter in the John Wick franchise.

Underworld: The characters who make up the John Wick universe exist in the shadows. They operate outside of what we consider normal society, yet they all hide in plain sight.

Vengeance: The emotion that drives Wick out of retirement after Daisy—the only connection to his deceased wife—is killed. But as the series continues to evolve, we learn that there’s more to John Wick than vengeance.   

Violin: The classical musical instrument was used to conceal a hit woman’s weapon in Chapter 2. An unknowing Wick gets shot in the back after passing what looks like an innocent street performer, but is really an assassin looking to cash in on Santino’s $7M bounty.

Viggo Tarasov: Russian crime lord and leader of the Tarasov mob (played by Michael Nyqvist) who gave Wick the “impossible task” that initially allowed him to retire from the criminal underground.

Ward: The faithful aides (i.e. Cassian and Ares) to top-ranking members of the various crime families within the John Wick universe. They are duty-bound to seek retribution should their counterparts be killed.  

Winston: The Continental New York’s manager (played by Ian McShane), who considers John Wick a friend. In fact, that’s why he gave him an hour grace period before making Wick’s excommunicado status official and activating the $14M bounty.

XAB 235: The New Jersey license plate number on Wick’s beloved Mustang.

“You Have Seven Days…:” A recurring refrain made by The Adjudicator while interacting with Wick sympathizers in Chapter 3.

Zero: One of the primary hitmen (played by Mark Dacascos) tasked by The Adjudicator with doling out The High Table’s justice in Chapter 3.

John Wick - Viggo, Winston, Zero


  • THE WRITER: Anthony Asencio
  • THE EDITOR:  Anslem Samuel Rocque
  • THE DESIGNER: Brandon Banks
  • THE DEVELOPER: Michael Karaim