‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ Ending Explained: The Last Duel

Plus learn about the shocking post-credits scene

John Wick 4 First Look Photo
'John Wick 4' (Lionsgate)

“John Wick: Chapter 4” is here.

And this time around the title character (played once again by Keanu Reeves) is in real trouble. Not only is the High Table, led by the vicious Marquis (Bill Skarsgård), out for his head but he is hunted by several new adversaries, including old chum Caine (Donnie Yen), German High Table member Killa (Scott Adkins) and the Tracker (Shamier Anderson), a shadowy figure who is always just out of reach. Can Wick clear his name and make it out of this gauntlet alive? And if he does, what will be left of him? Find out below.

Major spoilers for “John Wick: Chapter 4” are below, obviously. Turn back now if you don’t want to know!

Where is John Wick at the end of “John Wick: Chapter 4?”

John has made his way to Paris, for a final duel with the Marquis, via his proxy Caine, a character who has been shown, throughout the movie, as an equal to Wick (if not an even better killer). Caine, like John, has been shown to be a deeply complicated man – he loves his daughter, a musician, but is still very much willing to kill anybody who gets in his way, including the manager of the Osaka Continental and another of John’s old BFFs, Shimazu Koji (Hiroyuki Sanada). By the end of the movie, Wick is on a collision course with Caine. In Paris. Oh and wave after wave of assassins are coming after Wick to keep him from reaching the duel. The Tracker is also around, ready to make his move.

Does John get to the duel?

He does!

How hard is it for him to get there?

Very hard. Unbelievably, the most difficult part of his journey is the seemingly never-ending set of stairs leading up to the Sacré-Cœur. He gets badly injured and in one of the moments that made the audience the most expressive, John falls down the stairs several times. And he’s got to get to the duel right at dawn!

How does he eventually make it?

He actually gets help from The Tracker, whose dog’s life John saved, and later from Caine himself. (Hey, they go way back.) As beaten and bloodied as both Caine and John Wick are, they participate in the duel.

What are the rules of the duel?

They have to fire their weapon (pistols), inching closer with each shot, until one of them is dead. And they follow the rules.

What ends up happening?

They each fire what appear to be nonlethal shots at each other until they’re very close. Caine gets off a shot and Wick crumples to the ground. That’s when the Marquis comes over to gloat in John’s face. But, as the High Table operative Harbinger (Clancy Brown) points out, on that final shot, John hadn’t pulled the trigger. John looks up and blows the Marquis away. Technically, according to the Harbinger, it counts. John Wick wins the duel and his name is cleared. But what about those bullet holes?

What then?

Well, John is alive. But on the way down the steps, he stops. And he doesn’t get back up.

Wait, is John Wick dead?

Yes he is.

Like “dead” or really-for-real dead?

Really dead. We see his tombstone. It’s engraved with the phrase that he suggested earlier in the movie: “John Wick, Loving Husband.” (We would have also included “animal lover.”)

No you’re crying!

I am not!

But the “John Wick” universe will still carry on?

Yes it will. There’s a show, called “The Continental,” set in the New York version of the hotel in the 1970s, that will be out later this year on Peacock. And then there’s “Ballerina,” starring Ana de Armas as the title character, a young female assassin. “John Wick” regulars Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Anjelica Huston and, yes, Keanu Reeves, are all scheduled to make appearances. Apparently “Ballerina” is meant to be set in between the third and fourth chapters of the “John Wick” saga.

Anything else?

Actually yes!


There’s a post-credits scene!


So, earlier in the movie, Caine comes to the Osaka Continental looking for John Wick and winds up killing Koji in front of Koji’s daughter Akira (Rina Sawayama). She vows vengeance but knows that Caine is pretty unstoppable and gets her to leave the building. In the post-credits scene, Caine is nearly reunited with his daughter when Akira emerges to challenge him. The fight continues!

Ooo, we’d watch that spin off.

Same here.

“John Wick: Chapter 4” is in theaters now.