John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023): Movie Ending, Explained – How does John Wick win his freedom from The Table?

John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023): Such is life, indeed. John Wick 4 proved to be an epic saga of action, emotion, and the ushering of a new world order in its cinematic universe. Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves’ partnership has finally come to an end. And looking back at the film, the former’s decision to make one classic masterpiece instead of two contrived parts seems to be the right one. The fourth installment in the John Wick franchise is almost 3 hours long and worth every minute.

In the true traditions of the standards Staheslki and team have set for the modern-day action genre, John Wick 4 fills its narrative shortfall with graded action where you live and breathe every punch thrown, and bullet fired. Like any drama movie that makes the full expense of dynamics between its characters or exposition, John Wick 4 does the same for its continuing action scenes. The scale of these sequences is grander than ever before. There aren’t many in the film when you go by pure numbers; hardly 3-4. But they run for at least twenty, thirty minutes.

John Wick has truly accomplished something extraordinary with their ambition and personality. The movie will be remembered in pop culture as a disruptor and not a trendsetter; for this manifestation of Stahelski’s vision surely cannot be repeated again. In this piece, we break down the major plot points of John Wick 4 and give our insights about that heartbreaking ending and what it means forward going for the franchise.

John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) Plot Summary & Film Synopsis:

After Wick (Keanu Reeves) is shot off the roof by Winston (Ian McShane) at the end of Parabellum, King takes him under his tutelage. In his expansive underground network, King (Laurence Fishburne) nurses Wick back to supreme health, ready to avenge their circumstance. Wick goes to The Elder in the desert first, looking for a way out of his obligations to The Table. But to his surprise, the Elder to whom he had presented his finger and ring is gone. The new Elder in his place says he cannot help Wick. The only way he can be free is “in his death.” In Wick’s uncompromising style, he kills The Elder, sparking a new controversy in the high ranks of The Table.

Winston’s New York Continental is destroyed, and Charon is killed by the Marquis (Bill Skarsgard). The bereaved manager is shocked by the unhinged man consumed by the power given to him by The Table. He decides to once again join hands with Wick, who sees another good friend, Koji, lose his life and Osaka Continental to the Marquis. The only legitimate way to kill him is to fall back into one of The Table’s most prestigious old traditions.

Why does the Marquis kill Charon and not Winston?

Charon’s killing at the Maqruis’ hands showed his ruthlessness. By his own admission, Marquis Vincent wanted to send a message to the other Continentals. In a conversation with the Harbinger, he alluded to his ambition of destroying “the idea of John Wick” by eviscerating anyone who tried to protect him or associated themselves with him. This is why he attacked the Osaka Continental, as Koji had allowed Wick on the premises. The Marquis killed Charon and spared Winston to send everyone a message. It was also his attempt to malign Winston’s image and standing among the emissaries of The Table.

Charon died for Winston and Wick’s sins, as the former said. This is representative of the larger themes in the franchise of innocent bystanders getting dragged into violence and paying dearly for their association with people like Wick. Winston represented an important part of the Table. Even with the latent betrayal of his own title, killing him would have made the Table turn against Vincent. That is why he killed Charon but spared the manager of the NY Continental.

What is Winston’s end of the bargain if Wick duels with the Marquis?

Winston contacts Wick and tells him what needs to be done to give him a chance to kill Vincent. The manager has always had a soft spot for Wick but, more importantly, saw it as an opportunity to eliminate Vincent once and for all. The Marquis emerged as a madman of sorts who could easily rise to the highest of positions in their underground world and destroy the existing order. He is ambitious, does not care for rules, and represents chaos. Winston also saw the opportunity to get back his NY Continental if Wick defeated Vincent.

Accordion to the rules of A High Table Dual, the sponsor of the victor would also be granted a wish. The Table would have to comply with it no matter how grand it was. Winston knew that if John were able to beat Vincent, he would be able to stipulate conditions that would get fulfilled by the Table. This way, he could get his Hotel rebuilt and get himself reinstated as part of the Table after being declared excommunicado by Vincent.

How does Wick redeem himself in his family’s eyes? Why does he need to do so?

Wick is asked to go back to the Ruska Roma syndicate in Berlin. He needs to mend relations with them as only those individuals can participate in a dual who are part of a family sitting at The Table. Previously, we saw that Ruska Roma tore Wick’s ticket. He needs to go to Berlin and mend it. As of now, he was not a part of any family and hence, couldn’t ask Vincent for a dual. When he visits his family, he is welcomed with violence. Katia, his adopted sister, tells him that Marquis killed Uncle Pyotr.

Vincent came looking for Wick after Wick killed The Elder. But he did not leave empty-handed. There was only one way Wick could be welcomed back into the family: if he kills the man who murdered Pyotr. Killa Harkan was a mob boss who Vincent instructed to kill Pyotr. Wick goes to his nightclub and, in a long, drawn-out fight, finally murders Harkan. He takes one of his gold teeth as evidence of the kill.

Why does Mr. Nobody decide not to kill Wick despite having a clear shot?

John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)
A still from John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)

The same reason why Wick decides to go behind this killing spree in the first chapter! Mr. Nobody had a fierce German Shepherd hybrid with him and used her as his accomplice. The dog was a loyal soldier to him. Her deft steps, fearlessness, and tactile physical strengths made her the perfect partner in crime. In the climax, there is an instance when the dog is in danger of being killed by one of Marquis’ men (Chidi). Wick had a gun in his hand, and Nobody didn’t. Even then, Wick decided to make sure that the dog was safe, marking the redemption of his arc as he couldn’t save his own puppy gifted to him by Helen in the first movie.

The roles were reversed in the final leg of the climax, as Wick was the one facing the barrel. Nodboy had a choice to kill Wick and take the hefty reward money. But since Wick saved his puppy and Chidi tried to kill her, Nobody decided not to kill Wick.

Does John Wick die at the end of ‘John Wick 4’?

John Wick indeed dies at the end of the film, lying on the steps of Sacré-Cœur with a beautiful sunrise greeting him. This was common knowledge after Reeves and Stahelski decided not to have another sequel to John Wick 4 and go out with a bang. Reeves is done with the character, who might appear in other avatars if Lionsgate decides to make it a full-blown franchise with its unique cinematic universe. They have announced a slew of spin-offs for major characters, including Winston and Rooney.

What lies next for the John Wick franchise?

McShane will star in the television series The Continental: From the World of John Wick, which will be released this year in September. Rooney was not a noteworthy character in the broader universe but was seen in Parabellum, played by a different actress. Wick will be seen one more time in the upcoming spin-off Ballerine, starring Ana de Armas. Donnie Yen might also have his own Caine spin-off. Given his popularity and effectiveness as the character, the odds are that he will get green-lit by the studio. How can anyone say no to that much money?

John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) Movie Ending, Explained –

How does John win his freedom from The Table?

Once the duel is set up, Vincent and Wick flesh out the details of the rules. Wick stayed hidden until the wee hours of the morning to ensure that he could rest up and not have to face Marquis’s men and other assassins. His destination was the Sacré-Cœur at sunrise. Wick began his sojourn, and the bounty was activated across continents by The Table. What followed was almost a half an hour long action bonanza where Wick fought the others in a sea of incoming traffic on the streets of Paris, among other places.

It adds a familiar dimension to the storytelling that we have all appreciated the John Wick franchise for over the years. This sequence itself is something that relentlessly picks up pace as the time for the duel nears. Wick has his fair share of help as well. Caine makes sure that Wick reaches the duel on time, even though Caine himself will be fighting Wick (as Marquis had chosen him as his nomination). Nobody also helped Wick for saving his dog.

How does Wick kill the Marquis by outsmarting him?

Wick made it successfully to the duel and began the pistol shooting contest with Caine. Both men injure each other and move a few paces toward each other after each shot. On the last shot, Caine injures Wick, who falls to the ground, but Caine is almost unscathed. Marquis sees this as an opportunity to deliver the death blow to his nemesis.

He thinks Wick won’t be able to get up and has no more shots left. To his surprise, Wick hadn’t taken his shot at Caine in that turn and had shot a blank to give the Marquis the impression. He shoots the Marquis dead and gets up back on his feet.

Does Akira kill Caine before he can reunite with Mia?

Caine and Wick are freed from their obligations to The Table. Winston gets his wish fulfilled of getting the NY Continental rebuilt. But there is heartbreak in the end as Wick dies on the stairs of the Sacré-Cœur. He is buried with his wife, Helen, as Winston promised him. The final post-credits scene showed Caine meeting his daughter Mia.

She is a professional violin player and is in the midst of performance in public. Unbeknownst to Caine, Akira has been tracking him this whole time and wants to avenge her father. She dangerously approaches him, but before we can see what happens next, the screen goes black.

Naturally, we have no answers about whether Akira kills Caine or not. The makers have not confirmed it either, and with no sequel in sight, we will be left without answers on this one.

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John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia
John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023) Cast: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, George Georgiou
Where to watch John Wick: Chapter 4
Arnav Srivastav

Self-effacing and self-absorbed. College at RGNUL. A Cùle forever. Driven, ambitious, and "I hate most people". Oh, and I love movies if that wasn't obvious.