UPDATED with Starz saying Reeves will appear in the series: The John Wick franchise is heading for the small screen. Starz and Lionsgate are teaming to develop The Continental, a television series adaptation of the highly successful Lionsgate film franchise. The project was announced today during Starz’s portion of the TCA winter press tour.
The Continental will be set in the John Wick universe, focusing on the inner workings of the exclusive Continental Hotel which serves as a refuge for assassins.
Writer/producer Chris Collins (Sons of Anarchy, The Wire, The Man in the High Castle) will write the series and serve as showrunner. The team behind the film franchise will executive produce, including John Wick star Keanu Reeves, along with Thunder Road Pictures’ Basil Iwanyk (the John Wick film franchise, The Town, Sicario), Chad Stahelski (John Wick co-director and John Wick: Chapter 2 director), John Wick franchise screenwriter Derek Kolstad, along with Collins and David Leitch (John Wick co-director, Deadpool 2). Stahelski will direct the premiere episode. It also was announced during Starz’s TCA session that Reeves would appear “at some point” in the series.
Ties between the studio and premium cabler have strengthened following the acquisition of Starz by Lionsgate in late 2016. Starz has been mining Lionsgate’s film library for possible series adaptations, recently putting in development Ascendant, a drama TV series based on the Summit/Lionsgate Divergent movie franchise. Starz also ordered series The Rook from Lionsgate TV.
A series adaptation of the John Wick franchise had been eyed for some time, with Stahelski teasing months ago that there was strong interest and that Lionsgate was already in early development on the project.
Collins expands the universe in the series by focusing on the Continental Hotel and those who find refuge under its roof. Set in a hyper-real version of Los Angeles, the series maintains the urgency of the action along with the dry humor from the John Wick movies, producers say.
The Continental expands a franchise that has generated two hit films that have grossed nearly $300 million at the worldwide box office and a successful virtual reality mobile game.
“This series is truly unlike anything else on TV,” said Chris Albrecht, Starz president and CEO. “The Continental promises to include the thunderous fight sequences and intensely staged shootouts between professional assassins and their targets that fans have come to expect in the John Wick movie franchise as well as introducing some new, darkly compelling characters who inhabit this underground world.”
Starz retains all domestic multiplatform pay TV and SVOD rights to the series. Lionsgate retains all international and domestic distribution and home entertainment rights.
Kolstad is repped by APA, Circle of Confusion and Behr Abramson Levy.