A new sizzle reel, plot details revealed at the sequel's New York Comic Con panel

By Nick Romano
October 08, 2016 at 10:16 PM EDT
Niko Tavernise

The Theater at NYC’s Madison Square Garden erupted into shouts of “Baba Yaga” when Keanu Reeves took the stage for the John Wick: Chapter 2 panel at New York Comic Con.

Surrounded by director Chad Stahelski, screenwriter Derek Kolstad, producer Basil Iwanyk, costar Ian McShane, and their “newest hitman” Common, the actor stoked the crowd’s excitement with the reveal of new footage, plot secrets, and character details on the sequel. “We had the opportunity [to make the sequel] because of you, so to be able to tell the next chapter, for me it’s really exciting to be here with you,” Reeves said, adding, “I really liked putting this suit back on and getting to do what John Wick gets to do.” 

Here’s what you need to know. 

Sizzle Reel

The crew put together a behind-the-scenes look at Chapter 2, delving into Reeves’ physical and tactical training, and on-set work that made Stahelski drop his jaw between takes. “It’s been fun to get back in the suit for John Wick,” Reeves said in the video. “He either keeps trying until it’s resolved or he shoots you in the face.” Also revealed were McShane’s return as Winston, Common, and Ruby Rose, who seems to be playing yet another deadly assassin. “Gun-fu or car-fu, you feel the emotions, you feel the sweat, you feel the hair flying around,” Stahelski teased.

Plot Secrets

As Kolstad explained, the sequel picks up “arguably a week after the first one,” which lead them to something he loved from the first film. “The one thing that we [held] onto is that there’s this item called The Marker, which is regulated by The Continental,” he said. “It’s kind of a blood oath — John Wick gave someone the ultimate request so that he could get out alive, and because he has resurfaced, they have resurfaced to actually cash it in.” Reeves later promised the film will “get a little more international,” add “another layer in the piece about a kind of group called The High Table,” and reveal more about John’s backstory. 

Who Is Common Playing?

“My character is not necessarily a villain, but…” Common said, before Reeves finished his sentence, “We have a disagreement…we have different points of view.” As shown in the teaser trailer, which also made its debut at the panel, the two characters have an intense shootout, and Reeves later revealed Common’s character is part of The Continental. The Selma actor and rapper joked, “It’s an assassin’s love story,” and as he said of Reeves, “I love being in a scene with him because we’re both competing, but this is The Champ.”

More Stunts, More Action, More “More”

“Just like the character, we tried to choreograph the action sequences to show that John is just an unrelenting force of nature,” Stahelski said. “Gun-fu, tactical gun work and stuff,” he added, “and, of course, Mr. Reeves is driving the hell out of his Mustang.” Common called the action of the film “the highest level I’ve been when it comes to fighting, action, gun-fu, as we say, and all these new techniques and styles of fighting I just enjoyed.” 

The Matrix Reunion

Stahelski was part of the stunt teams for the Matrix trilogy, which starred Reeves and Laurence Fishburne. All three reunite on John Wick 2. Fishburne wasn’t present for the panel, but he makes his first appearance in the trailer. Stahelski said the character and John are “pseudo allies in the movie,” explaining, “We tried to round out the cast with more iconic assassins.” Reeves recalled seeing Fishburne at an event, during which he mentioned how much he liked the first John Wick. “When Derek had written the character that Laurence plays in the script,” Stahelski said, “it was written with Laurence in mind.”

What Happens to John’s New Dog?

The first question Iwanyk always gets from people about a sequel to John Wick is, “You’re gonna kill the dog again?” Those who shed more than one tear for the little beagle puppy, you may want to bring more tissues. “Needless to say that we killed about 80 Italians in the movie,” Iwanyk continued, “and you guys will see what happens to the dog. I’m not sure if Lionsgate said we can say what happens to the dog or not.” At that, McShane offered a new tagline for the film, “No Italians were injured during the making of this movie.” 

John Wick: Chapter 2 will hit theaters on Feb. 10.