If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. John Wick: Chapter 3: Parabellum continued the trend of steadily improving box office numbers with each entry into the franchise, a clear sign that the formula has been working. So why would the studio behind the project want to disturb the peace by removing Derek Kolstad, creator and screenwriter for the first two films, from the upcoming John Wick 4 and John Wick 5?
“At a certain stage the studio will tell you, your creation is graduated, and you wish it well,” Kolstad told Collider in a recent interview. “I’m still close with [director Chad Stahelski], still close with [John Wick co-director David Leitch], and I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m excited to see.”
Kolstad said that departing the franchise wasn’t his decision, adding, “When you think of the contractually of these things, the third one I shared the credit with any number of people, they didn’t have to come back to me, and so they didn’t.”
Unlike the first two entries, Kolstad shared screenwriting credits for Parabellum with Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, and Marc Abrams.
“And so you look at that and you could be hurt, and I would say if I was 20 years ago I would have been, but seeing what the industry is and how things go, I just believe that you bless everything and hope it all the best, and to the players involved who are doing other things elsewhere,” Kolstad continued.
The John Wick franchise is set to embark on a make-or-break period as the next two films will be shot back-to-back. The fourth installment is slated to be released on May 27, 2022, while the follow-up will come out at some point in 2023.
While news of Kolstad’s absence is a surprise, he seems to be excited about what lies ahead for him, and getting the opportunity to “make cool shit with cool people who want to make cool shit” due to the success of the John Wick franchise. Kolstad mentioned that he recently landed one particular project with Amazon Video close to his heart: Hellsing.