Mel Gibson has joined the cast of John Wick prequel series The Continental as a character named Cormac. The Lionsgate Television produced three-night event will act as an origin story about the hotel-for-assassins, which has been heavily featured in the Keanu Reeves film franchise. In the movies the hotel is run by Winston Scott, played by Ian McShane, and it is through the eyes of a younger version of Winston that the story of the early years of the hotel will be shown. As of yet, there is no word on who will play the part, but there are a few details about the plot that have been released so far.
The three part series will be set in 1975, in New York where Winston Scott is forced to face the past that he believed he had long since left behind. As he attempts to take control of the notorious hotel, which already has a reputation as a meeting place of the most dangerous criminals of the world, Winston must negotiate a course through the dark and deadly underworld of New York City, which makes it sound like the series will definitely be carrying over the tone of the Wick movies.
The boom in big names appearing on the small screen has been responsible for bringing many movie stars out for rare appearances in TV series’, and despite making his debut on Australian drama The Sullivans in 1976, Mel Gibson has not been one for skipping between the two like some of his peers. Having quickly gained a name for himself in George Miller’s Mad Max, and by the time he appeared in Lethal Weapon the big screen was the only place to find Gibson, as for a long while the gulf between working in cinema and working for a TV network was so great the two never crossed.
As far as the John Wick saga goes, any TV event attached to the franchise, which has pulled in over $600 million across its first three movies, is going to get a lot of attention, and with the fourth movie currently shooting in countries across Europe and in Japan there are no signs of people getting bored with Keanu Reeves’s dog loving assassin. While the movies started out as something of a run of the mill “hired killer comes out of retirement to avenge the death of a puppy” story, it very quickly found an audience and became a surprise action behemoth that could pull in big names at the click of a finger. While the story has developed over the movies released so far, The Continental has always been a presence, being somewhere that Wick has been banned from after disregarding the rule that there is to never be any murders committed within its walls.
Lionsgate TV’s Kevin Beggs spoke to Deadline earlier this year about why he felt it was the right time to dip into the history of the hotel. “It’s such a successful franchise, it’s on its way to its fourth and fifth installments as a movie,” he explained. “It’s got such a great mythology and such interesting style, and the gun fu approach of these incredibly poetic stunt esthetics is just out of this world, which is why the movie with Keanu Reeves – who is so amazing in everything he does but particularly compelling as John Wick in our mind – it just cries out to be something in TV. Just like the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe from a TV perspective are incredibly opportunities, and that is our superhero franchise in the family.
“What we’re exploring in The Continental is the young Winston and how it came to be that he and his team of confederates found their way into this hotel which we have met for the first time in the movie franchise 40 years later,” Beggs continued. “That’s the arena. I won’t give away more than that, but Starz really leaned into this take also, and they have been great collaborators. And how we’ve approached this first season is as three essentially 90-minute events which you could construe as a limited series or a limited event series.”
Although neither Reeves nor McShane are likely to appear on screen in the series, there is a possibility that the latter will be providing some voiceover work for the project, most likely in a scene setting context to deliver audiences into the memories of the younger Winston Scott.
The Continental was originally slated to air this year, along with John Wick 4, but with the Covid shutdowns pushing production back, there is currently no release date for the series. This news originated at Deadline.