“The Continental,” Starz and Lionsgate’s upcoming three-night “John Wick” prequel event starring Mel Gibson, has found its young Winston Scott in actor Colin Woodell.
Woodell, who recently turned in a memorable performance in HBO Max’s “The Flight Attendant,” will play the character portrayed by Ian McShane in the three “John Wick” feature films, whose origins will form the center of this upcoming event series. And he’s not alone — Hubert Point-Du Jour (as Miles), Jessica Allain (as Lou), Mishel Prada (as KD), Nhung Kate (as Yen) and Ben Robson (as Frankie) have all boarded the series as well, joining the previously announced Gibson. Pretty soon there won’t be any vacancies at the Continental.
Besides Woodell, all of the other cast additions will be playing new characters. According to the official release, “The Continental” will “explore the origin behind the hotel-for-assassins, the centerpiece of the John Wick universe, through the eyes and actions of a young Winston Scott who is dragged into the Hell-scape of a 1975 New York City to face a past he thought he’d left behind. Winston charts a deadly course through the New York’s mysterious underworld in a harrowing attempt to seize the iconic hotel, which serves as the meeting point for the world’s most dangerous criminals.” We’re in.
Expanding the mythology of “John Wick,” which first began with the Keanu Reeves-led revenge tale in 2014, has been a priority for Lionsgate as of late, with “Live Free or Die Hard” director Len Wiseman signing on to direct the female-led spinoff “Ballerina” in 2019 and, of course, this prequel series. “John Wick,” with its elaborate, almost mythological backstory and a quasi-magical underground world of assassins, is perfectly suited for this kind of embellishment. And “Ballerina” and “The Continental” are almost certainly only the beginning of the potential spinoffs that could come from this universe.
Executive producers Greg Coolidge and Kirk Ward will write the event series and serve as showrunners, with Albert Hughes, of “Menace II Society” fame, directing the first and third installments (he’ll also executive produce all three). Charlotte Brändström, a director on Amazon Studios’ upcoming “Lord of the Rings” series, will direct the second installment. Many mainstays of the film series, including longtime writer/creator Derek Kolstad and directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski (they co-directed the first film and Stahelski stuck around to direct every other entry), are back as executive producers.
There is no air date yet for “The Continental,” although “John Wick: Chapter Four” is currently shooting in Germany, France and Japan as it barrels toward its May 27, 2022, release date.