- First episode landed on Peacock on September 22, 2023
- Official trailer released in July
- Prequel series to John Wick film franchise
- First season comprises three 90-minute episodes
- Focuses on young version of Ian McShane's Winston
- Set in an alternate history 1970s
- Chris Collins acts as showrunner
- Mel Gibson star as a new character
- Keanu Reeves among show's executive producers
The Continental hotel we all know and love from the John Wick movies has re-opened its doors to fans with a new prequel TV series called The Continental, which is out now. The first episode landed on Peacock (in the US) and Prime Video (in the UK) on September 22, 2023.
The John Wick franchise is neon-drenched action at its best, starring Keanu Reeves as an assassin thrust out of retirement and seeking vengeance. It was initially only meant to be one film, but now the John Wick universe is made up of four chapters (take a look at our guide to watch the John Wick movies in order) and there are even more on the way. A spin-off film called Ballerina is expected to land in 2024, about a ballerina-assassin called Rooney (played by Ana de Armas) who hunts those who killed her family. And there'll also be a fifth movie instalment, which has been all but confirmed by Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer.
Rather than following on from the events in the John Wick movies, The Continental is set in an alternate history in the 1970s. Over three episodes it follows the story of a young version of Ian McShane's Winston, the manager of The Continental hotel. This chain of hotels around the world offer a neutral territory for members of the criminal underworld, including assassins like Wick, to do business or hide from the authorities. In the guide below we've included everything you need to know about The Continental, including when the next episodes are expected, the cast, plot details, and more. If you want to know if the TechRadar team enjoyed the first episode of the show, read our spoiler-light thoughts on The Continental so you can decide whether it's worth your time.
Major spoilers incoming for the John Wick franchise, so turn back if you're not caught up on the four films.
The Continental release date
The first episode of The Continental arrived on September 22, 2023. The second episode arrives on September 29, 2023 and the third and final episode a week after that on October 6, 2023.
The Continental trailer
The official trailer for The Continental arrived in mid-August, 2023. It gives us a tantalizing look at what we can expect from the show, including lots of action, beautifully-choreographed fight scenes and a simmering feud between warring factions.
From what we can tell, Mel Gibson's character Cormac is the manager of The Continental hotel in the 1970s. If you're thinking that's an interesting choice, then read our exclusive news story about why John Wick TV spin-off directors defend controversial Mel Gibson casting.
Cormac tells a young Winston (Colin Woodell) that he needs to get his house in order after his brother Frankie steals something that belongs to him. "This sacred institution wields power beyond your imagination," Gibson's Cormac says. "Your brother took something from me. Find him, because if you don't, I'll bring the weight of this whole institution down on you both."
The John Wick franchise always looked stunning and we're delighted to see The Continental is set to be just as aesthetically-pleasing, with 1970s styling, gorgeous sweeping scenes of New York City and The Continental and, of course, plenty of dark scenes drenched in neon light.
The Continental cast
- Colin Woodell as young Winston Scott
- Ayomide Adegun as Charon
- Peter Greene as young Uncle Charlie
- Mel Gibson as Cormac
- Nhung Kate as Yen
- Katie McGrath as The Adjudicator
- Jessica Allain as Lou
- Jeremy Bobb as Mayhew
- Adam Shapiro as Lemmy
- Claire Cooper as Mrs. Davenport
- Ray McKinnon as Jenkins
- Ben Robson as Frankie
- Marina Mazepa as Gretel
- Mark Mushashi as Hansel
- Mishel Prada as KD
- Hubert Point-Du Jour as Miles
Given The Continental is a prequel, Keanu Reeves won't be appearing in the small-screen series. So, for those of you holding out hope for a John Wick cameo, you'll be sorely disappointed.
The Continental will take place in an alternate history 1975, meaning that both present day hotel owner Winston and his trusted concierge Charon will be played by younger actors, Colin Woodell and Ayomide Adegun, rather than Ian MacShane and Lance Reddick. Another of the show’s biggest announcements is the involvement of Mel Gibson who will play a character called Cormac, the manager of The Continental hotel in the 1970s.
In the most recent press release from Amazon, more details have emerged about supporting characters, including KD and Mayhew, played by Mishel Prada and Jeremy Bobb, two NYPD detectives. Frankie, Winston's brother who drags him into the events of the series, is played by Ben Robson. And Nhung Kate plays his wife Yen, a fierce fighter in her own right who would do anything to protect him.
Finally, two more notable characters are Lou, played by Jessica Allain, and Miles, played by Hubert Point-Du Jour, a brother and sister duo who run the dojo their late father left them. From what we can tell from The Continental trailer, it looks like Winston will team up with Lou and Miles to take on Cormac.
When it comes to the crew behind this spin-off, the series has been created by Greg Collidge (Wayne, Ride Along) and Kirk Ward (Wayne). Executive producers include Albert Hughes, Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee, Chad Stahelski, Derek Kolstad, David Leitch, Shawn Simmons, Paul Wernick, Rhett Reese, and Marshall Persinger.
Hughes will also take the directorial chair for the first and third episode, with Charlotte Brändström (The Rings of Power) helming the second.
The Continental plot
While The Continental is a prequel series, it's also an entirely new spin-off from the usual story focusing instead on a young Winston, who in the John Wick films we know and love owns the New York City hotel residence.
However, in The Continental he doesn't own the hotel – at least not at the start. Instead, it's owned by Cormac (Mel Gibson) who summons Winston to find his brother, Frankie, as he's stolen something important to him.
Interestingly, The Continental will also explore real-world events, including the Great Garbage Strike and the rise of the American Mafia. Despite being a work of fiction, then, it seems the series will draw heavily from, or be inspired by, true events.
Speaking to Fandom in 2020, Chad Stahelski, stuntman turned director on the John Wick franchise, said: "The angles they’re working on The Continental TV show right now is a different perspective on the whole world. It’s coming at it from different characters’ point of views and what the breadth of the world is actually. Whereas in John Wick, I’m following one time period, literally almost a week in the life of one man, where everything spirals out of control."
The Continental: John Wick timeline explained
As we've mentioned, The Continental is a prequel set 40 years before the John Wick films we've come to know and love. Speaking to Deadline, Lionsgate TV’s Kevin Beggs said: "Because we’re way back in time, way back pre-John Wick and even pre-young John Wick, that character is not finding his way into the universe. We are in the John Wick universe, but it’s way back in time. Think about the Game of Thrones prequels because you don't know any of the players, but you do know the world."
Given John Wick screenwriter Derek Kolstad previously revealed that Keanu’s character was initially meant to be a 75-year-old man (per Variety), we could well have seen Wick appear in some guise. However, with the character eventually written as a 35-year old, he won't have been born by the time of the events of The Continental. So, as we said earlier, don't expect him to feature.
Ultimately, as far as the John Wick timeline is concerned, it’s an origin story of The Continental’s deep history. It's also an opportunity for Winston and several other characters from the franchise’s origin stories to be explored and perhaps provide a more detailed look into how their characters came to be in the John Wick mythos.
It's unclear if future seasons will be greenlit, if The Continental will remain a miniseries, or how the TV series will tie into John Wick Chapter 4. If it's even half as successful as the original John Wick film was, however, you can be sure Peacock will renew the prequel show for more installments.
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