Warning: This article contains major spoilers about John Wick: Chapter 4.
"During the press tour for Chapter 3, we started to think about, if the audience likes it, and we get the chance, what would that movie be?" says Reeves. "What would the story be?"
Lionsgate Keanu Reeves in 'John Wick 4'
Cinemagoers now know the answer to that question, thanks to the just-released John Wick: Chapter 4. And a big part of that answer involves the death of John Wick, who essentially sacrifices himself in a Paris-set gun duel with his old friend Caine, played by Donnie Yen. Instead of using his last bullet to kill his buddy, a badly wounded Wick instead murders Bill Skarsgård's villainous Marquis Vincent de Gramont. A fatally wounded Wick then receives a vision of his dead wife, Bridget Moynihan's Helen, and perishes on the steps of the Sacré-Cœur. We subsequently see Ian McShane's Winston and Laurence Fishburne's Bowery King visit John Wick's grave, seemingly making the hitman's demise canonical.
So why did Reeves and Stahelski decide that the time had come to retire the character in this decisive fashion?
"The first conversation we had was, 'Why? Why make it?'" says Reeves. "And the note behind that note is, what's the story? And for he and I, it felt like, what was authentic and true was John Wick's journey to death. That was the first idea; that was the why of why we made the movie. That, for us, was the organic, authentic story to tell for the character of John Wick and the John Wick world. So that was the first idea, that was the first like, that's what we're going to do. Okay, now let's invent a story of how that happens."
Reeves describes shooting Wick's death scene as "amazing. I loved it. You know, for the character, his heart is full of so much love and, at the same time, playing the last breath of a character had some weight to it."
But is Wick really dead? Or could Reeves imagine somehow reprising the role in a fifth John Wick movie?
"I don't know, I guess I'm going to have to lean on never say never," he says. "I mean, I wouldn't do a John Wick film without Chad Stahelski. We'd have to see what that looked like. For me, it feels really right that John Wick finds peace."
John Wick fans will get to see Reeves portray the role at least one more time. The actor plays Wick in the forthcoming spin-off movie Ballerina, which stars Ana de Armas and is directed by Underworld filmmaker Len Wiseman.
"Yeah, I got to work with Ana de Armas and the director Len Wiseman, and they had a great script, and John Wick has a small part to play in it," said Reeves. "Len Wiseman was cool. He was like, 'Where do you want to pitch this story in [the] timeline?' So, it takes place between Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 of the John Wick stories. It was fun to put the suit back on."
John Wick: Chapter 4 is in theaters now.
Want more movie news? Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free newsletter to get the latest trailers, celebrity interviews, film reviews, and more.