More than anything, the three John Wick movies have proven that Mr. Wick is a guy who gets shit done, so it is wildly unfortunate for the many goons serving under the international assassin community’s most powerful figures that the shit he gets done almost always involves killing people—killing them, specifically. Apparently, though, there was once a time when John Wick was a little more toothless, at least in terms of the extremely efficient violence he tends to showcase in those movies (violence is bad and glorifying violence is also bad, but the John Wick movies thankfully take place in a cartoon universe where nothing really matters). Speaking with ComicBook.com, John Wick series director Chad Stahelski says the original script was significantly less violent, to the extent that he thinks “only three people” died in it and two of them were in a car crash. By comparison, ComicBook says the kill count in the final film is “somewhere around 80.”
Stahelski goes on to say that the original script was a “much more contained” story that was “very, very minimal,” but when he came on board he had the idea to turn it into a “fablestic kind of story” like Greek mythology that “wasn’t so grounded and gray.” As for the high body count, he says it wasn’t an intentional decision and has continued to not be intentional for the sequels, but it’s a side effect of the way the fight scenes are choreographed and the amount of “balletic” moves that Keanu Reeves makes as Wick. He says the choreography for fights and Reeves’ skill with martial arts and weapons have improved so much that, along with increasingly big set pieces, the amount of people being killed just naturally increases. “We just choreograph and it happens,” he adds, making the John Wick movies seem even more artisanal than they do onscreen.
We’ll get to see the Baba Yaga kill even more dudes when the series returns for its coronavirus-delayed fourth installment in 2022. (Again, violence is bad, but these dudes will probably have it coming.)