Chad Stahelski, the director of John Wick: Chapter 4, explains how using dogs in the action franchise works. Beginning with the death of the retired hitman’s puppy, a present from his cherished late wife, in 2014’s John Wick, a gangster and his crew have a lengthy relationship with dogs in the Keanu Reeves-led franchise. That sad demise marked the beginning of John’s comeback to his assassination, which is still going strong three movies later. The hitman got a new dog at the end of John Wick, and in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, when Halle Berry’s character and her highly skilled and deadly puppies were revealed, the hitman got numerous more dogs.
Stahelski provided some behind-the-scenes insight into how a new dog in the franchise and her fellow canine performers are trained when discussing the dogs’ ongoing presence in the franchise with Collider. Bombastic action scenes have become a trademark of the John Wick franchise, and Chapter 4 of the series is rumored to push the envelope even further. Fortunately for fans eager to see more dogs in the upcoming film, Stahelski’s remarks hint that there will be plenty of canines in action given the crew’s efforts to include them. View the director’s comments below:
“Well, the [new] character of the dog is a her, but we had, let’s see, three females and two male dogs to comp all one dog together, depending on what the stunt, or the gag, or the acting bit was. This time we learned a lot from last time, but we wanted a little bit more out of this one in specialty stuff. We had the dog, I think it was just over five months, to work with cast and on stunts. It’s just when you’re bringing in the stunt teams, and we have different stunt teams on this one because it’s so much bigger, the dog is just like friends. You have to get to know your friends. So in order for the dog to be very playful, and safe, and have the confidence just like a human would, they have to spend time with each individual stunt guy. So we had to rotate every hour. One of our 10 main stunt team guys would go and play. That was his job. He had to go play with the dogs, and get tackled by the dogs, and play Frisbee with the dog. So you get acclimated to our canine friend and then that’s how we started working it.”
Why Dogs Are Important To The John Wick Series
Considering how far Stahelski and the stunt coordinators went to work well with the dogs, it is evident that the animals will play a significant role in the future film. The director has previously admitted that the combat scene in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum starring Sofia’s canines, played by Halle Berry, was the most challenging to shoot. Months of training and inventive CGI use were required to fit those canines into Stahelski’s design for the third part, which adds up to a huge amount of extra work for a project that was already very demanding.
However, the franchise depends on using the dogs. John has always had a strong connection to animals, and his first dog Daisy served as a symbol of his sorrow for his recently passed wife. The addition of the hitman’s new puppy is bittersweet since John does care for the dog very much and it does function as a friend, but John hasn’t given the dog a name perhaps because he’s afraid of losing the animal after developing a love for it. The character’s subdued arc throughout the movie series is suggested by the fact that his anxiety extends to his interpersonal interactions.
On the other hand, Sofia has her own emotional reasons for her link with the dogs she uses, but she isn’t afraid to use them in battle, turning them into weapons so they can defend themselves and their owner and carry out her orders. It’s interesting to think about how John’s relationship with his dog will change once the lines between his dangerous life and the animals he cares about so much start to blur once again because dogs have frequently represented John’s connection to humanity and a life outside of killing for his character.