The John Wick Universe returns once again after the release of the masterclass fourth entry of the franchise earlier this year, this time winding the clock back to the 1970s, an era marked by turmoil and change. Although we will not meet the legendary hitman in this upcoming venture, the dreadful underbelly of the criminal empire to which he belongs will be explored. The soon-to-be-released TV series titled The Continental will take the franchise fans to the early days of Baba Yaga’s trusted associate, Winston Scott, manager of the eponymous hotel, and, through the tale of his ascension, showcase the then-condition of the underworld, filled with treachery, murderous assassins, and lots of gunfu. To assess what the three-part series will consist of, let’s discuss the intricacies regarding the Continental and the points highlighted in the two trailers released previously.
The Continental and Its Role in John Wick’s World
From what we have seen so far, the shady underbellies of the John Wick universe are governed by a properly maintained decorum and designated hierarchy. The dregs of society like to pretend that they are still in touch with civility and decency; therefore, a set code of conduct is applied among all the ranks in a uniform way, governed by the prime control body of the High Table. To ensure the maintenance of propriety, the High Table assigned a number of enforcer bodies and institutions, and the Continental, the chain of luxury hotels, is one of them. The institution acts as the quintessential safe haven for all manner of dreadful criminals and assassins, having its branches at every major corner of the globe, and provides exclusive facilities for its notorious clientele who are part of the larger system governed by the High Table.
The functionalities of Continental hotel chain across the world are controlled by a manager and a concierge of their respective branches, as they ensure the implementation of the rules. The hotel, being a neutral ground for criminals, enforces the cardinal rule of no killing inside its premises. Anyone foolish enough to break the one directive is excommunicated from the system and executed, a fate that Ms. Perkins suffered in the first installment of the “John Wick” film series. Even while staying under the dictates of High Table, Continental hotels often act as autonomous institutions, and associated service providers of each of its branches swear their primary allegiance to it. Instances of this are seen multiple times throughout the series, especially how the New York and Osaka divisions of the Continental went against High Table enforcers to defend John Wick. However, rash actions such as this led to the inevitable deconsecrating of the Continental in question.
Aside from the services provided by the sommelier, seamstress, cartographer, and black market doctor, the Continental also employs administrative services, which are outfitted with a retro, almost outdated IT system (to prevent hacking) to control communications, declare bounties, individual status, etc. Throughout the events of the four John Wick movies, it is seen that New York Continental is managed by Winston Scott and his loyal concierge Charon, and what events led to this division of the Continental being operated by the duo will be the major focus of the series.
The Former Caretaker: What Does the Trailer Reveal About Cormac?
Among the myriad of characters showcased in both the trailers for The Continental, Mel Gibson’s character Cormac Fitzpatrick stands out due to his being the former manager of the New York Continental and also the primary antagonist of the series. As the trailer reveals, a young Winston, who, during the period when the series takes place, is still not associated with High Table. Due to his brother, Frankie, stealing something from the Continental, which has significant importance to the clients of Cormac, both brothers come under the crosshairs of the underworld. Cormac himself was a ruthless crime lord, and it seems that he had a history with Winston as well. To ensure the retrieval of the stolen item, Cormac initially threatens Winston with his and his brother’s lives, and soon, they are seen facing hordes of deadly hitmen, assassins, and enforcers.
Winston takes matters into his own hands, as in order to turn the tables in their favor, he seeks out help from several criminal groups to make an attempt to seize the sacred ground of the underworld—the Continental. During the turbulent 1970s, when the American mafia and other infamous groups ruled the streets, Winston’s resourcefulness made the difference in the end. The audience should expect to see crime organizations like the Triads, Camorra, and Ruska Roma, who are prominent members of the High Table, taking part in the central narrative as well, as the power struggle between Cormac and Winston eventually ensues. From the brief glimpse of the action sequences, which consist of Frankie decimating a number of enforcers in true John Wick style, two female martial arts masters clashing on rooftops, and a battle in neon-lit Chinatown, it’s safe to assume that the franchise’s core aesthetics will be well respected in the series. What makes the series unique is that, as a departure from the one-man army trope in the previous entries of the franchise, the family dynamics between the dual protagonists will be showcased.
Aside from the three main characters, we also see a younger version of Charon, and it is revealed that he was still working as a concierge during Cormac’s tenure at the Continental. Winston eventually becomes the manager of the hotel, which he is going to seize. It seems the beginning of the friendship between Winston and Charon will be highlighted, which will be one of the deciding factors during the transfer of power. High-table operatives such as administrators and adjudicators are also seen in action, and it will be intriguing to see how the governing body deals with Winston’s audacious steps against one of its chief institutions. Despite the most infamous hitman of the franchise, John Wick, being absent, a connection to the character is slated to be explored in the upcoming series as well. According to the showrunners, they have already planned for multiple seasons, which can span through different eras. The success of the first season will result in the continuation of the show, and we sincerely hope that happens down the line.
When And Where To Watch
The series will air its first episode on 22nd August, 2023 on Amazon Prime at 5:30pm IST, and rest of the two episodes will be released weekly.