But after battling actors like Adrianne Palicki, Alfie Allen, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Ruby Rose, and countless unnamed bad guys in the first two films, Reeves needs some new blood (literally) for the cast of the sequel.
So: Who will he fight this time?
“There’s an incredible stuntman who doubles John Wick,” Reeves told Men's Fitness in March. “They hit him with a car. He’s standing there, and they hit him—that’s a stunt. Me? I’ll shoot some guns, flip some people—and that’s action. So, yeah, I do as much action as I possibly can, because I love it—and I love the opportunity to bring the audience along. I want to be able to do everything. Since The Matrix, I’ve used this term, ‘super-perfect’. As in, ‘Can we get it super-perfect?’ That’s part of what makes [a great action film] a pressure cooker. It’s the intensity of just trying to do the best you can in the circumstances that you have.”
We asked Men’s Fitness readers their best suggestions for the sequel, and if any of these dream cast options end up in the film, expect one of the biggest, most badass action movies ever.
Here’s a look at who you think John Wick should battle in Chapter 3, ranked according to their action-movie experience, skill at portraying villains, and cinematic track record.
After transforming his body for films like The Dark Knight Rises, Warrior, Venom, and Mad Max: Fury Road, Hardy could easily get the look of an uber-assassin taking on John Wick. Between playing a villain in Bane and doing some intense MMA and kickboxing training for Venom, the British badass already has a head start on the “gun-fu” moves of John Wick. Plus, we already know he loves dogs. He’d fit right in.
The Fate of the Furious and Expendables star would have no trouble sliding into the world of John Wick. Statham has played badass villains in the past, fought against stars like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and has the action-movie fight skills to go with it. Adding his mix of roguish British charm to the franchise would make for pure entertainment. Need proof? Here’s Statham's most shredded Instagram posts.
Letting the former WWE superstar and current Guardians of the Galaxy actor let loose in the world of John Wick could make for one of the most entertaining fight scenes in Hollywood history. Dave Bautista would be a challenging physical presence for John Wick, considering how massively jacked he is, and his comedic timing could make him just the right kind of over-the-top villain for Chapter 3. Bautista has experience playing the bad guy, having starred as the James Bond villain Mr. Hinx in Spectre, as well as in The Man with the Iron Fists and the Kickboxer reboot.
Between kickboxing in real life and taking down Norse gods in the Thor series (and likely the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War), Idris Elba would have no problem handling himself against John Wick. For as many good guys he’s played over the years, Elba has played some fantastic villains during his career, including Stringer Bell on The Wire, Tango in American Gangster, and Krall in Star Trek: Beyond, so being a bad guy would come naturally for this potential future James Bond.
With his late-career turn into a badass action star, Liam Neeson could bring some major gravitas to the John Wick series, thanks to a “particular set of skills” he picked up from the Taken franchise. Neeson has kicked ass in movies like The Grey, Run All Night, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Non-Stop, The A-Team, and in the upcoming 2018 film The Commuter. He has some experience being a villain, including his iconic turn as Ra's al Ghul in Batman Begins.
The martial arts expert would be perfect for John Wick: Chapter 3. The British-born actor has multiple black belts in various disciplines, is as shredded as anyone in Hollywood, and has experience playing a villain—starring as Jean-Claude Van Damme’s sidekick in The Expendables 2. Adkins has made his career starring in B-type action movies like Accident Man, Hard Target 2, Triple Threat, and Boyka: Undisputed, and that’s kind of the genre/DNA that runs through the John Wick movies.
Based on these 17 Instagram moments, we know Adkins would have no trouble training for the role.
Playing The Punisher wouldn’t be the worst way to prepare to enter the John Wick universe. Between the action and the gunplay, Jon Bernthal would feel right at home after working as Frank Castle for the Marvel series on Netflix. Bernthal has the experience (and jawline) to play a villain, too: The actor has played a bad guy in projects like Shot Caller, The Walking Dead, and The Wolf of Wall Street.
OK, fine: Though the Academy Award-winner might not be the first name that crops up when it comes to “action movie villains,” Denzel Washington actually would fit in pretty well. He won an Oscar for Training Day, and over the years he’s starred in his fair share of morally cloudy movies, including Man on Fire, The Equalizer, The Taking of Pelham 123, 2 Guns, The Magnificent Seven, and Safe House. Bringing Washington’s gravitas to the John Wick series would make for a fun hero-villain dynamic. (Look, you guys suggested his name. We're just taking the idea seriously.)
Adding a martial arts legend to the world of John Wick would likely make Keanu Reeves very happy. Reeves is a self-professed martial arts nerd, he could have a fight for the ages against someone like Li. While Li doesn’t do much acting in the U.S. anymore, he starred in all three Expendables films. He's also made a few heel turns of his own, portraying ass-kicking villains in Lethal Weapon 4 and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
We'll say it: We love this idea. Reeves already reunited with Matrix co-star Laurence Fishburne in John Wick: Chapter 2—so why not go all-in and make Chapter 3 another Matrix reunion? Both Hugo Weaving and Carrie-Anne Moss have Matrix fight-training under their belts. Weaving has played plenty of stony villains besides Agent Smith—remember Red Skull in the first Captain America movie? Moss is no slouch herself, and these days you can see her on the Netflix/Marvel series The Defenders as high-powered attorney Jeri Hogarth. This tag team could give Reeves the challenge he needs to take John Wick: Chapter 3 to the next level.
The superstar actor has as much action experience under his belt as anyone in Hollywood, and joining John Wick would give Tom Cruise a chance to go against type by playing a bad guy. On top of that, Cruise would absolutely be game for fight scenes—he’s proven with the Mission: Impossible series that he has no problem doing his own stunts. (Cruise climbed one of the biggest buildings in the world and was strapped to the outside of a plane while it was taking off while filming the Impossible series.) Yes: Some badass fight scenes with Keanu Reeves would probably be a joy for Cruise.
He’s got the size and he’s got the look: Joe Manganiello knows how to wear a suit, and with muscles like he has, Keanu Reeves would have his hands full with a Manganiello villain. The former Men’s Fitness cover star just took the mantle of one of the most badass villains in comic book history after appearing as Deathstroke in Justice League, and he has action-film experience after appearing in movies like Sabotage and the upcoming Rampage alongside superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The John Wick producers could save a bunch of money if they brought in Michael Jai White as one of the villains. The Spawn and Dark Knight actor has been training in martial arts since he was a teen, and he has no fewer than eight—count ‘em, eight!— black belts in a range of disciplines, including Taekwondo, Kobudo, and Goju Ryu. Jai White is buddies with Scott Adkins, having co-starred with the actor in Accident Man and Triple Threat, so he could try and bring over his friend for a villainous duo to go up against John Wick.
Here’s a look at the rest of the suggestions made by Men’s Fitness readers:
Vin Diesel - Between his Furious work and time doing the voice of Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy, Diesel could try and squeeze in one more franchise under his belt. His heel turn in the latest Fast & Furious flick was entertaining, if not entirely convincing.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson - Speaking of actors with lots of franchises under his belt, The Rock is always a welcome addition to an action movie. While Johnson likely has no time at all to make an appearance in John Wick, we heard this suggestion a lot.
Danny Trejo - Between his roles in Con Air, Machete, Grindhouse, From Dusk till Dawn, and The Replacement Killers, Trejo knows his way around an action scene. A battle against John Wick would be extreme and fun. Extremely fun, basically.
The Expendables crew - Jason Statham could join Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, and company as opponents of John Wick. Though that might be too much action even for this movie.
Iko Uwais - The martial arts star would be quite the opponent for John Wick.
Tilda Swinton - Keanu Reeves already mentioned Swinton as a potential option for the John Wick universe, saying he’d love to reunite with his former Constantine co-star. “You know, I had the chance to work with her—I was in two films with her [Constantine and Thumbsucker, both released in 2005] but had the chance to work with her once; I’m onboard with that,” Reeves said to People. “We run into each other once in awhile socially out there in the world. She’s a remarkable person and actress, so I’m all aboard with that.” Plus, she nailed the part of a martial arts master in Doctor Strange—why not do it again?
Floyd Mayweather Jr. - Maybe this should be his next fight after Conor McGregor.
Jack Gleeson - Game of Thrones star Alfie Allen, aka Theon Greyjoy, already starred in the first John Wick, so why not bring in another GoT star; this time, the actor who plays King Joffrey. Still salty about the whole Ned Stark thing? We see where you're going with this, guys.