Earlier this month, the trailer for John Wick: Chapter 2 gave us the first official look at the film. Director Chad Stahelski, however, doesn’t want his sequel to feel like a carbon copy of the original, so he’s taking the Aliens approach by trying something completely different.
The director and former stunt coordinator pointed Collider to his experience working on the Matrix trilogy as evidence he’s familiar with the pressure of crafting a sequel.
“The reason people love you so much sometimes is because you’re original. John Wick was an original twist on a classic tale, with a fancier look and a different way of telling the story. More like a Greek myth rather than your typical action movie. So you give away your whole hand with that, you give away originality. So how do you compete with yourself?”
How, indeed? Trying to retread the same territory is often a recipe for disaster, so instead Stahelski and his team opted to go in a different direction altogether.
“We decided to stop competing with the first one. Once we stopped worrying about ourselves it was fun. I mean is it as good as the first one? I don’t know. Did we go better in some ways? Yes. Did we experiment with the characters more? Yes. Everything there is better. Is the enjoyment better? I think the enjoyment is there, but it’s different.
“All the other director friends I have don’t like doing sequels or don’t like doing other people’s sequels, which is even worse I think. But then there’s other examples. I think the best example is Ridley Scott. He did the first Alien. James Cameron created Aliens. Cameron, I think is a genius for that. Going, ‘I’m not making the same Aliens again, I’m just gonna make it.’
“If I could be so bold as to take that similarity then so be it.”
Stahelski certainly is correct that comparing John Wick: Chapter 2 to Cameron’s classic sci-fi action film is bold, but we understand what he’s getting at here. While Aliens takes place in the same universe and features the same characters as its predecessor, the two films are completely dissimilar in terms of their tone and content.
So if Stahelski is trying to accomplish something similar by molding John Wick: Chapter 2 into a completely different experience than the original, that could allow the material to feel fresh and new while still retaining an air of familiarity.
It’s a delicate balance, but if Stahelski pulls it off he could have the perfect recipe for another box office hit.
John Wick: Chapter 2 will hit theaters on Feb. 10.
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