The following containsSPOILERS for the end of John Wick: Chapter 2, which you would know if you read this piece’s headline which, again, is “Whose Marker Did John Wick Receive at the End of Chapter 2?”
TheJohn Wick franchise is like aninfinite string of dominos. A bunch of jerks murdered the dude’spuppy in the first film — not even his dog, hispuppy! He’d only had it for like a day,you monsters!!! —and that setoff a chain of violent events that reaches its zenith inJohn WIck: Chapter 4.One of the cool things about this franchise is the way each movie builds off the previous ones; coming out of retirementto achieve puppy-related revenge inJohn Wick directly leads to an old friend returning to demand John pay back a debt in John Wick: Chapter 2.John’s choice to kill that same old friend inChapter 2 forces him to go on the run inJohn Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, and so on.
You can say these movies are just over-the-top action for its own sake, but that’s not true. Okay, the over-the-top part is true. Theyare over the top, in the best way possible. But John Wick doesn’t enjoy his violent escapades the way we do; he’s pretty much been paying for them nonstop since the start of the first film. Violent retribution in these films are like ripples in a pond, forever expanding outward.
Except for one element that, as far as Ican tell, was introduced and never paid off.
It’sthe scene embedded below from the end ofJohn Wick: Chapter 2.John (Keanu Reeves) has committed the ultimate no-no in this world: Hekilled someone on the grounds of the Continental, the lavish hotel that caters to thecriminal underworld of theJohn Wick-iverse. At the start of the film, Santino (Riccardo Scamarcio), demands John Wick repay a debt to him by committing a murder on his behalf. Then, after John fulfills their deal, Santino tries to kill John totie up loose ends. When John comes after Santino in response,the latter takes refuge inside the Continental, knowing John cannot harm him there. When John arrives, Santino announces hisintention to take an extended staycation. (Can you blame him? The steak looks incredible.) John decides ah the hell with it and shoots Santino in the head, right in front of the Continental’s manager, Winston (Ian McShane).
And so in the final sceneofJohn Wick:Chapter 2, Winston announces that John is now “excommunicado,” meaning that he can no longer avail himself of the weapons and services of the Continental Hotel, or any other affiliated underworld business. Before Winston sendsJohn on his way, he gives him two things: A one-hour head start before the excommunicado begins, and a marker.
“You might need this down the road.” Winston tells John.
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Markers in the John Wick universe are symbols ofa debt that must be repaid of above all else.When Santino comes to John demanding he repay him, he presents him with one of these markers; years earlier, Santino had helped John retire from his life as a hitman. In exchange John had given hima marker. So Winston handing John a marker in this scene is no small thing.
“We look at markers like a blank check,”John Wick series director Chad Stahelskitold me in a recent interview. “A marker means, ‘You’re giving me your soul.’ Like it’s good for one life — you risk your life, you take a life, you save a life. It’s good for one life.’ Stahelski sayshe andoriginal John Wickwriter Derek Kolstad evolved their marker conceptout of real-world“challenge coins,” which are bestowed upon members of the military and law enforcement organizations for outstanding service.
“It’s a very old school mentality,” Stahleski explains. “But a lot of these kinds of occupations still have them. And in the stunt world we had a friend pass away betweenJohn Wick 1and2, and we all had [challenge] coins [made]. And we started talking — I was working with Derek Kolstad on the script — and I’m like ‘We gotta have these things. We gotta have markers.’ Well, markers are cool, but what does it mean? And we started it off kind of like acommemorativething, but then it ended up being like a blank check, worth one life. Take it, save it, give it, whatever. It’s one life.”
But the question still remains: Whose life was wrapped up in the marker at the end of John Wick: Chapter 2? AmongstJohn Wick fans, there is some debate about what this marker even represents. (Google “John Wick 2 marker” and you’ll see what I mean.) Winston did notreveal whose marker hegave John, and it could have potentially belonged to several people.
It could be a totally blank marker John could use if he encounters someone later down the road. It could bea marker that John holds on someone else, and that he had previously asked Winston to hold on to for him. Or it could be the completed marker between Santino and John that becomes so important to the plot of John Wick: Chapter 2.The markerwas evidence thatJohn only committed the crucial killing inChapter 2to fulfillthis debt, and he theoretically could have used it to provehe was acting on Santino’s behalf.
Butwhatever Stahelski and Kolstad had in mind when they made Chapter 2, they never explained it inJohn Wick: Chapter 3.And in fact, the first few scenes ofChapter 3 involve John retrievinganother marker he needs from the New York Public Library; that one turns out to represent a debt that a character played byHalle Berryowes him.So I asked Stahelski: Who is connected to this marker?!?
“That’s a good question, man,” he replied. “We took it from the standpoint that Winston owes him a solid.”
“We thought,” Stahelski continued, “it’d be cool if the final farewell from Winston to John was ‘Okay, justso you know how much of a father figure I am, I’m going to give you a blank check in case you need it. But only call it in if you need it. And that’s where we left it.”
Without spoilingJohn Wick: Chapter 4,this mysteriousmarker doesn’t come up there either.Which prompted me to ask Stahelski a follow-up question: Is this marker still floating out there somewhere, waiting for John to cash it in?
“Well, Winston’s an interesting character,” Stahelski notes. “He’s always got an angle. SoIthink thatWinston thinksJohndid cash it in — on the rooftop in [Chapter 3].”
So, to recap that scene: InChapter 3, John Wick is declared excommunicado, and essentially has to go on the run from the entire criminal underworld because of a massive bounty placed on his head. At the same time, the “High Table” (basically the bosses of all crime in this universe) fire Winston from his gig at the Continental, finding him not sufficiently loyal. John swears a new oath to the High Table and is sent to kill Winston, but instead teams up with him; the High Table then“deconsecrates” theContinentaland send waves of goons (in a charter buswith their High Table logo stuck to the side!) to killthem both.
Thenthe High Table offers a parlay to Winston: Kill John Wick and get your job and hotel back. Winston agrees and shoots John, who falls off the roof of theContinental to the street below. But Winston deliberately shoots John in his kevlar suit, and so John survives to seekmore revenge in John Wick: Chapter 4.
To Stahelski’s mind, the way that Winston carried out this “killing” — in such a way that it was surenot to kill John Wick — was his way of paying back the marker.
“He helped John,” Stahelski says, “but not in the way John would have wanted. But it was the only way out. I’m fascinated by the idea of dilemma. Choices are always what define character, not skills. So we constantly, in every scene, we’re trying to put somebody in a bad choice. If you watchJohn Wick [Chapter] 4,hopefully every scene you go ‘There’s no good choice here.’ So yes, John needed help in3, and Ian gave it to him. Just not in the way he wanted.”
So there you have it. Of course, none of this was explicitly spelled out onscreen. There’s always a chance Stahelski and his writers could change their minds, and use that marker in anotherJohn Wick movie, or even the upcoming spinoffBallerina.You never know when a good marker might come in handy.
John Wick: Chapter 4opens in theaters on March 24.
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(At the time the marker was given, D'Antonio senior, the art collector, was the representative for the Camorra at the High Table.) John Wick's blood oath coming from Santino D'Antonio. After John came back from retirement to seek vengeance on Viggo and his son Iosef, Santino called in the oath.What is the marker at the end of John Wick 2? ›
In the film's final scene, manager Winston, played by Ian McShane, gave Wick a marker, saying “You might need this, down the road” before giving him one hour before a price on his head was declared to all the hitmen in New York.Why did John Wick get a marker at the end of John Wick 2? ›
Winston gives John a blood oath marker and warns him he can only give him an hour's head start. In John Wick: Chapter 2, there isn't any explicit explanation for the marker John is given. It's assumed to be John's original marker from his blood oath with Santino.What happens if you break a marker in John Wick? ›
If you break this rule, you die. Every marker is fulfilled. If you give someone a marker, they can ask you for any favor up to and including killing the target of their choice, no matter who it is. You have to do it.What are the rules for the markers in John Wick? ›
Rule #5: Honor The Marker
Another key rule in the JOHN WICK franchise is to always honor the “marker,” a blood oath that can be used at any time to call in any favor.
When John Wick wanted to leave the assassin life behind to marry Helen, he was assigned an "impossible task" by his then employer Viggo Tarasov. In order to succeed, he gave a blood oath to Santino D'Antonio, the influential son of and later brother of one of the 12 members of The High Table, in return for his aid.What does 11111 in John Wick mean? ›
It is the same number as President John F. Kennedy's executive order (executive order 11111).Why did John give Santino a marker? ›
John is visited by the Camorra crime boss Santino D'Antonio, who reminds him that he helped John complete his "impossible task," which allowed John to retire and marry Helen. In return, John swore to a "marker," an unbreakable vow symbolized by a "blood oath" medallion.What was John's impossible task? ›
His superior, Viggo Tarasov, promised to allow John to quit if he first completed an "impossible task": killing all of Tarasov's enemies in a single night. Having succeeded, John retired and lived peacefully for just over five years.How much is a gold coin worth in John Wick? ›
The gold coins, in and of themselves, have no inherent monetary value. A single coin can pay for many services or products, like a doctor's appointment, a cadaver's disposal, a drink, or a taxi ride, among other things. There is no dollar conversion rate for the coins, as they are more than just money.
John Wick is essentially a video game character playing in god mode. He has no weaknesses and he always hits his shot.What does the blood marker mean in John Wick? ›
“Quod Debitum Sanquine.” These are the words written on the Blood Oath Marker from the world of John Wick. The Latin phrase translates to “The Blood Debt” but practically stands as the strongest and most dangerous promise that anyone could make.What does the coin in John Wick mean? ›
When John Wick needed a sanctuary, he used the underworld gold coin to gain safe haven to the Continental Hotel. The coin reads “ENS CAUSA SUI” (Something Generated Within Itself) and “EX UINITAE VIRES” (Out of Unity Comes Strength).Who put the $14 million bounty on John Wick? ›
John Wick: Chapter 2
After John Wick killed Santino D'Antonio on Continental grounds, Winston Scott called the accountants and tells them to process the 14 million dollar bounty on John and that his excommunicado status was to be activated in one hour.
Winston's Real Motives For Shooting John Wick
The reason Winston betrayed John Wick could have been to save both of their lives. Throughout the John Wick movie series, John defied the High Table and its Elder's laws, forcing him to fight for his life against the world's deadliest assassins.
John Wick: Chapter 2. A few days after John came out of retirement to seek revenge on Viggo and Iosef, Santino decides to visit John Wick and presents the medallion to demand service from him.Who is John Wicks greatest enemy? ›
Caine (John Wick: Chapter 4)
Playing the blind killer Caine in John Wick: Chapter 4, his hands move at speeds one might have otherwise thought not possible for a human – and it takes only an instant at the start of the action in the Osaka Continental in the film to recognize that he truly is John Wick's greatest foe.
At the end of John Wick 2, John kills Santino in the New York City Continental, a violation of the strict rule of no "business" being conducted on Continental grounds. John is fully aware that breaking this rule will bring great consequences, which might make his decision seem difficult to grasp.Who betrays John Wick? ›
John Wick 4: Winston Didn't Try To Kill John In Chapter 3 - Theory Explained - IMDb. After Winston betrayed John Wick at the end of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, but when Ian McShane's character returns in John Wick: Chapter 4 his true motives for doing so may be part of a shocking twist.Is John Wick Winston's son? ›
While the John Wick franchise is great at world-building, there has been nothing in the previous three movies that hinted toward Winston being John's biological father. Though the pair grew closer with each consecutive release, they were nothing more than allies in the John Wick series.
The High Table is a council of twelve crime lords that govern the underworld's most powerful criminal organizations. It is considered the ultimate authority of the underworld and is feared and respected by all, including Winston Scott and John Wick.Is John Wick 4 the last one? ›
Sequel. By 2023, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer confirmed that a fifth film was being developed alongside John Wick: Chapter 4. While it was initially intended to be shot back-to-back with the fourth installment, in March 2021 Lionsgate opted to delay production and solely move forward with Chapter 4.Who is John Wick's wife? ›
Helen Wick was the wife of the ex-hitman, John Wick. Helen's death served as the catalyst for John's return to the world of assassinations, and she appeared in several flashbacks and photographs. She is the posthumous overarching protagonist of the John Wick film series.Who is above the high table? ›
The Elder was the mysterious and all-powerful leader of the High Table who resided in the deserts of Morocco. He is the overarching antagonist of the John Wick franchise.How much money does John Wick have? ›
While the coins that accompany John Wick's various hidden weapons in the trunk don't have a fixed cash value, John is stashing well over $980,000 of hard currency (assuming they're worth upwards of $2,000 each based on their gold content).Is John Wick 5 confirmed? ›
The World's Most Deadly Assassin Gets New Life as 'John Wick 5' Is Confirmed. An entire cinematic universe is growing "organically" out of the "John Wick" series, says Lionsgate's Motion Picture Group chair Joe Drake.What do John Wick's back tattoos mean? ›
The tattoo across his back reads "Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat," translated from Latin into, "fortune favors the bold." It is reminiscent of the motto for the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines - "Fortes Fortuna Juvat." The meaning is similar. Tattoos with similar slogans are not uncommon in many branches of the armed forces.Why did John Wick owe Santino? ›
In order to retire from his assassin life, John asked for additional support from Santino in order to complete the "impossible task" given to him by his then employer Viggo Tarasov: forcing John to enter into a blood oath debt with Santino through a Marker.What is 999 gold coin? ›
Under this, 999 means that your 24K gold is 99.90% pure and other metal constitutes only 0.1%. Similarly, 999.9 means your gold is 99.99% pure, which means only 0.01% is other metal. Before buying, it is always better to ask your jeweller, bank, or digital platform about the purity of gold.How many kills does John Wick have? ›
The John Wick Kill Count Is 439
John Wick features 77 on-screen deaths at John's hands — a number that rose to 128 in John Wick: Chapter 2 as John made some powerful enemies. John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum found John on the run with only time for 94 kills along the way.
Inspired by the real-world Italian-American Mafia Commission, The High Table is the body that governs organized crime across the entire world. It's composed primarily of twelve individual gangs, each of whom supplies a leader to sit at the Table. Only seven of the twelve factions have been revealed in the films.Who is stronger Rambo or John Wick? ›
Even without planning and trap-setting, a Rambo in his element within the jungle or a similar setting would definitely have an edge on Wick, who's been shown operating in more urban locales.Is John Wick's suit bulletproof? ›
In the movies, the suits supposedly have Kevlar in them just like a real piece of ballistic body armor.Can Rambo beat John Wick? ›
John Wick would win if the fight happens in a city, where there are abundant supply of weapons. Rambo would win if the fight happens in a desert or a forest setting where the two fighters have to survive the elements and fight at the same time.What is the tattoo on the neck in John Wick 3? ›
The Adjudicator is the first main antagonist in a John Wick film not to die in their debut film. Tattooed on the left side of their neck is "einfühlung", which is German for empathy.Why is John Wick called Excommunicado? ›
John Wick is making his way through Manhattan before he is labeled "excommunicado" for the unauthorized killing of High Table crime lord Santino D'Antonio on Continental grounds. At the New York Public Library, John retrieves a marker medallion and a rosary.What does the guy call John Wick? ›
In the montage showing him preparing to enact his violent revenge against the Russian gangsters who murdered his dog, mob boss Viggo Tarasov ominously calls him "Baba Yaga." The name is a reference to a creature from Russian folklore, reflecting John's history with the mob, although it's often misinterpreted as a " ...How much is John Wick's bounty? ›
Surviving excommunication. Excommunicated, exhausted, and wounded, John prepares to escape from New York as assassins gather to kill him after learning of the now $14 million bounty placed on his head.How old is John Wick? ›
The script's story centered around the character John Wick, a long-retired hitman in his mid-60s to mid-70s who is forced back into his former life. John Wick was modeled on actors such as Clint Eastwood and Paul Newman.Who is the tattooed girl in John Wick 3? ›
The creative team on “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,” out Friday, May 17, liked actor Asia Kate Dillon's trademark neck tattoo enough to let it be seen in their role as the Adjudicator. It's so prominent, Dillon is used to covering it when they act.
Scene Reference: The bonds and certificates could be seen when Switchboard Operators placed the price on the excommunicado contract of John Wick from the High Table at 56.5 million dollars.Why does John Wick pay in gold? ›
The act of paying with these coins provides a sense of security as even killers have a "code of conduct" ... and those in John Wick's line of work are mostly strict adherents of it.Why does Sophia hate John Wick? ›
Personality. Sofia was shown to be mad at John for bringing trouble to her Casablanca Continental, since he was excommunicado. By bringing up the marker, she's obligated to help him against her benefit, possibly fearing that her daughter being kept in hiding may be compromised.Why did John shoot Gianna? ›
She was also the sister of Italian crime lord Santino D'Antonio and the employer and close friend of Cassian. When Gianna and Santino's father died and Gianna inherited his positions, Santino used a Marker to task John Wick with her assassination so that he could claim Gianna's titles.What did Winston say at the end of John Wick 3? ›
Unsurprisingly, Winston declares Wick “excommunicado” for harming the institution's reputation (along with his own). Like John Wick, Winston lives by a personal code of conduct, but also manipulates the system to his advantage. In the John Wick 3 ending, Reeves' character makes a deal with The Elder of the High Table.Why did John Wick refuse the marker? ›
Wick refuses the Marker because he wants out of the business. D'Antonio yields to Wick's decision, and then promptly destroys his house with a grenade launcher. Winston, the owner of the Continental hotel in New York, warns John that if he refuses to accept the marker, it'll cost him his life.What did Viggo's son do to John Wick? ›
As such, Viggo angrily berated Iosef in the gang's headquarters for provoking John and punched him twice in the stomach for it, but Iosef refused to care, attempting to convince his father to give him a chance to finish off John only to be swiftly dismissed and warned by Viggo that the boogeyman will eventually come ...What does the ending of John Wick 2 mean? ›
And so in the final scene of John Wick: Chapter 2, Winston announces that John is now “excommunicado,” meaning that he can no longer avail himself of the weapons and services of the Continental Hotel, or any other affiliated underworld business.What is the meaning of the marker in John Wick 2? ›
“Quod Debitum Sanquine.” These are the words written on the Blood Oath Marker from the world of John Wick. The Latin phrase translates to “The Blood Debt” but practically stands as the strongest and most dangerous promise that anyone could make.What is the silver coin in John Wick 2? ›
JOHN WICK SILVER CONTINENTAL COIN
These coins have unknown currency values in the film, but could be exchanged for any type of underworld services -- including dead body removal, the services of 'the sommelier' to purchase illegal firearms and, of course, dog-sitting.
A blood oath marker is more than a promise and greater than a vow. It's an inviolate symbol of a debt that is owed. Once your thumbprint seals the bond, then a part of your life has been surrendered, given over to another until your oath is fulfilled. It's a sacrament in which none would engage on a whim.Who could beat John Wick? ›
The Terminator could easily take out John Wick and he wouldn't even see it coming. Impervious to basically any human weapon, Wick wouldn't even know how to dent the T2's skeleton and would be dead in a matter of seconds.Who is the highest power in John Wick? ›
And the only way John Wick will ever have freedom or peace, now or ever, is in death." The Elder was the mysterious and all-powerful leader of the High Table who resided in the deserts of Morocco. He is the overarching antagonist of the John Wick franchise.Who betrayed John Wick? ›
John Wick 4: Winston Didn't Try To Kill John In Chapter 3 - Theory Explained - IMDb. After Winston betrayed John Wick at the end of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, but when Ian McShane's character returns in John Wick: Chapter 4 his true motives for doing so may be part of a shocking twist.Who is the tattooed girl in John Wick? ›
Kitty Crystal is known for Worst Cooks in America (2010), The Drunken Yoga Show (2016) and John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017).