What Are the Rules of the Continental Hotel in John Wick?

    Production of John Wick: Chapter 4 is still underway after its release date was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also just announced that Mel Gibson has joined Lionsgate’s John Wick prequel series. The anticipation for both both projects is just killing us!

    Each Film In The Action-Packed Franchise Starring Keanu Reeves Brings Us Deeper Into The Hotel Chain Serving An Underground Society Of Assassins

    To prepare for the “retired” hitman character that each of the first three films follows, Keanu Reeves The Matrix trained in both martial arts and firearms training. Sure enough, he performs many stunts in the films himself. To show his love for the rest of the upcoming film’s stunt team, Reeves reportedly just bought Rolex watches for each of them.

    RELATED: Colin Woodell Is Young Winston in John Wick Prequel Series The Continental

    As we count down the days until the release of John Wick: Chapter 4, let’s refresh our memory and break down the rules of The Continental– the landmark chain of hotels serving Wick and the rest of the underground society of assassins. After all, the institution itself has played a central role in each of the films thus far.

    No “Business” Allowed On Site

    No Business Allowed On Site

    The Continental Hotel is neutral ground, and no hostile actions can take place in its premises. As a sanctuary, it’s established early on in the franchise that no “business” can be conducted on the Hotel ground, including fighting and carrying out contracts on other assassins in the hotel. In the first John Wick (2014), Ms. Perkins (played by Adrianne Palicki) breaks this rule, resulting in her revocation and execution. And in the climax of John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017), we find our protagonist breaking the very same rule.

    There’s No Escaping The Life Of An Assassin

    There's No Escaping The Life Of An Assassin

    The Continental’s manager Winston (played by the reliably superb Ian McShane) sums it up pretty well in John Wick: Chapter 2: “You dishonor the marker, you die. You kill the holder of the marker, you die. You run? You die.”

    It’s implied throughout the series that escaping the assassin’s life alive is essentially unheard of. Fate steps in to draw John back into the underworld after his wife Helen dies in the first film.

    Only One Currency Is Accepted At The Continental

    Only One Currency Is Accepted At The Continental

    Special gold coins are used to pay for services at the hotel. In the world of John Wick, those who serve under the High Table provide goods and services in exchange for specially minted coins. Over the course of the trilogy, John trades coins for weapons, medical care, lodging, drinks and favors.

    It also becomes clear that the coins are not about wealth. They’re about respect. Let’s not forget the moment in John Wick 3: Parabellumwhen Berrada (played by Jerome Flynn), who oversees minting coins in Morocco, states that a coin “does not represent monetary value. It represents the commerce of relationships, a social contract in which you agree to partake.”

    Once Sworn, A Blood Oath Must Be Carried Out

    Once Sworn, A Blood Oath Must Be Carried Out

    The term “blood oath” is commonly used in the real world to depict an unbreakable promise. Historically speaking, several cultures had various forms of blood oaths that involved the actual letting of blood, sometimes mixing it with a handshake as a sign of commitment.

    In the world of John Wick, a “marker” is a blood oath between two individuals. Markers are also formally witnessed or recognized. It’s not just any blood oath. When committing to a blood oath, the pledge presses a bloody thumb to the right half of a circular device called a marker. This is a commitment of blood, meaning the debtor is swearing to fulfill the oath with the blood symbolizing the penalty for breaking a blood oath.

    In John Wick: Chapter 2, John is obligated to accept a blood oath because Santino D’Antonio (played by Riccardo Scamarcio) helped Wick leave the criminal world so he could marry his late wife Helen.

    Assisting Excommunicado Members Is Prohibited

    Assisting Excommunicado Members Is Prohibited

    Violating the rules of the hotel can be punished by excommunication, which is an open contract on your life. In the John Wick universe, “excommunicado” is a state when a former Continental member breaches the rules of the organization and loses all of their rights. This means that he is not protected by the Continental and can be killed without consequences. Also, no one is supposed to help you. Often trying to interact will result in harsher penalties. At the end of John Wick: Chapter 2, John is rendered excommunicado by Winston after killing D’Antonio on Continental grounds.

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