Lionsgate is getting ready to expand the John Wick franchise with its first ever spin-off. Ballerina has been put on the fast track by the studio and has locked down director Len Wiseman to helm the project. This move comes hot on the heels of this summer's John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, which proved to be a huge hit for the studio, and one it sorely needed. So they're going with the hot hand and not wasting any time when it comes to keeping this train moving down the tracks.
According to a new report, Len Wiseman (Underworld, Underworld: Evolution) will direct Ballerina, working from a script by Shay Hatten. This isn't the first we've heard of the project. Lionsgate initially won Hatten's screenplay in a bidding war back in 2017, with the hope being that they could transform into something that would fit within the John Wick universe, and that's exactly what they've done. John Wick trilogy director Chad Stahelski is set to produce, as is star Keanu Reeves. At present, it isn't clear if Reeves will appear in the spin-off, but if he does, it's expected it will be relegated to a cameo.
Ballerina is said to focus on a young female assassin who winds up on a path of revenge against those who murdered her family. The character is said to have been glimpsed during a scene in John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum and was played by Unity Phelan, who was simply credited as Ballerina. Though, it's not clear who will be starring in the title role in the spin-off. Just yet. The scene in question sees Keanu Reeves' titular assassin heading to ask The Director (Anjelica Huston), who happens to instruct ballet dancers, for her help.
Shay Hatten has been on the rise lately with several other major projects. He wrote Army of the Dead for Netflix, which is being directed by Zack Snyder, as well as John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, which wound up being the highest-grossing entry in the series so far. As for Len Wiseman, he hasn't directed a feature since the Total Recall remake in 2012, but he's been working on high-profile TV shows for the past several years. Some of his recent directing credits include Lucifer, The Gifted and Swamp Thing.
To date, the trilogy of John Wick movies have grossed $583 million globally, which each subsequent entry out-grossing the last. Lionsgate has already announced John Wick 4, which will see both Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves return. The sequel is set for release on May 21, 2021. The studio is also working on a TV series titled The Continental, which will focus on the famed assassin's hotel from the movies. Ballerina does not yet have a release date set, but we'll be sure to keep you posted as any further details on the project are made available. This news comes to us via Deadline.