The premature killing of John Wick’s dog puts the retired assassin on the path of vengeance and chaos. One moment is the core of the entire franchise’s core, Wick’s character fiber.
The killing of the dog has been in the film since its first draft, but the moment was magnified as the team behind the film was developing the feature. As the screenwriter Derek Kolstad tells us, the moment went on to be so big that the studio was troubled by how it plays out with the audience.
In fact, Kolstad says that John Wick’s directors Chad Stahelski and David had to fight hard with the studio to keep the desired moment in the film. At one point, there was a suggestion from the studio to remove it altogether.
As the screenwriter says, this moment is very much about who Wick is and what he will become during the franchise. “But without that dog connection and that underlying soul and that character’s heartbeat, and it brings character, and it brings humor, that was important,” Kolstad continues. “At some point, Chad and Dave fought for it, they got it, and they were right.”
The studio was hesitant until the first test screening of the feature was performed when the crew could watch the audience’s reaction to the shocking scene. “Up until that first screening, there was this pushback and pushback from all different angles. We were looking at the audience. When the dog was dead, and after seeing their reaction and then seeing the siege at home, we were like, ‘Yeah, we’re right,'” he concludes.
“But a lot of times, you go to these movies, after so much work behind the scenes, and people take it differently. You have to get around with it. But it’s a kind of struggle that we have in rare cases, and it’s okay.”
John Wick: Chapter 4 is scheduled for May 4, 2022.