Hiroyuki Sanada will join Keanu Reeves in John Wick 4. In recent weeks, the cast of the upcoming sequel that's in the works at Lionsgate has been filling up with a slew of interesting names. Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) recently joined the cast to play an "old friend" of Reeves' John Wick. Other newcomers to the cast set to also appear in mystery roles include Shamier Anderson (Wynonna Earp) and Japanese-British pop star Rina Sawayama.
"Having long admired Hiroyuki as both actor and action performer, I'm thrilled and honored to welcome him to the John Wick family," director Chad Stahelski said in a statement.
It was also recently revealed that Laurence Fishburne will be a part of the sequel, after previously missing out on reuniting with Reeves for The Matrix 4. Fishburne officially confirmed his return as the Bowery King in an interview with Collider, noting that he was set to start filming his role in Berlin within the next couple of months. He also praised the "really, really cool" script, though he couldn't share any plot details.
"As much as it's the same world as the other three films, it's just deeper," he said. "It's much deeper in terms of the code of the assassin and the relationship that he has with one character in particular who I think Mr. Watanabe is playing... is really the heart and soul of it."
It was more recently rumored that Wesley Snipes would join John Wick 4. He was set to play a swords man, but it was later revealed that he declined the role. Per Collider, Hiroyuki Sanada will reportedly play a "key character known as Watanabe" in John Wick: Chapter 4, but no additional details have been provided.It is unclear if this is the swordsman role Wesley Snipes was eyeing. In any case, the casting marks another big role for Sanada, a veteran actor with dozens of credits to his name. Just recently, he has appeared in multiple high-profile projects with his roles as Scorpion in the Mortal Kombat reboot and Bly Tanaka in Zack Snyder's Army of the Dead. He is also known for his recurring role on Westworld as the android swordsman Musashi.
In years past, Sanada began his career as a child star acting in the 1960s. He appeared in the original Japanese version of The Ring, called Ringu, before subsequently breaking out in the United States acting alongside Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai. He has also appeared in movies like The Wolverine, 47 Ronin, Life, Avengers: Endgame, and Minamata. The actor will next appear with Brad Pitt and Zazie Beetz in the upcoming action thriller Bullet Train from director David Leitch.
Stahelski returns to direct John Wick: Chapter 4 after previously helming all three prior installments. Shay Hatten and Michael Finch wrote the screenplay, this time without the assistance of series creator Derek Kolstad. Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee, and Stahelski are producing with Keanu Reeves and Louise Rosner executive producing.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is currently scheduled to be released on May 27, 2022. Filming will take place this summer on location in France, Germany, and Japan. There were plans at one point for John Wick 5 to film back-to-back with John Wick 4, but due to the pandemic and filming delays, the filming of the fifth movie has been postponed. This news comes to us from Collider.