Ballerina is the new spinoff for John Wick — what we know so far

an image of a ballerina from John Wick 3
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

On their surface, the John Wick movies look to be nothing more than gloriously stylized gun-fu action with the occasional growl of “yeah, I’m back” from a post-Matrix era Keanu Reeves. But dig a little deeper and you'll find a whole world of lore and mythology surrounding a mysterious network of assassins and crime syndicates. So it’s no surprise we’re getting a spin-off movie dubbed Ballerina.

The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) reports that production of Ballerina began on Monday, and will see Ian McShane reprise his role as Winston, the head of the Continental Hotel, a major location on all three John Wick movies. 

“We’re thrilled to have Ian McShane joining us for a pivotal role in Ballerina,” said John Wick producer Basil Iwanyk. “He’s been such an integral part of the franchise since the original John Wick. It’s been fun to have him on this journey as the Wick universe expands.”

Winston is very likely to cross paths with Ana de Armas, who’s set to star in Ballerina as a young woman with a very particular set of murderous skills bent on getting revenge against the hitmen who killed her family. 

And Reeves is apparently in talks to turn up in Ballerina playing John Wick himself. But it’s yet unclear if he’ll play a main role in the movie or simply turn up as a cameo. 

Brutal ballet

an image of Ana de Armas in No Time To Die

(Image credit: United Artists Releasing)

After popping up in Daniel Craig’s last James Bond movie No Time to Die as a seemingly green CIA agent named Paloma, de Armas kicked some serious ass all while dressed to impress in a backless dress with a plunging neckline. Much like Bond dispatches enemies while clad in a tux, Paloma proved 'Bond girls' don’t need to be the 'damsels in distress' they once were and can mix martial arts and haute couture with ease. 

Given how the Wick movies blend brutal action with some slick tailoring, it looks like de Armas could be well cast for a movie set in the ‘John Wick universe.’

As for the role the actress will be playing, details are thin on the ground. But in John Wick 3: Parabellum, we saw Wick visit a theater where girls were being taught ballet by Angelica Huston’s Director, the matriarchal head of the Ruska Roma gang in New York City.

So we would hazard a guess that de Armas will be one of the ballerinas from that gang or perhaps the daughter of one of the Ruska Roma members who were killed when John Wick 3's main antagonist, the Adjudicator, punished the Director for helping Wick escape death after being excommunicated from The Continental. 

Fans of the John Wick movies believe this is the case and that we’ve already seen the titular ballerina on stage during the Adjudicator’s bloody visit to the theater. But so far this has yet to be officially confirmed, and Ballerina could even take place before the events of the John Wick movies.

If that’s all hard to follow, it’s because there’s a lot of lore and background to the story, and one of the reasons there'll be a spin-off TV series called The Continental.

With Ballerina scheduled for a release on March 23, 2023, we’ll likely get more tidbits of what to expect as this year segues into the next. But with de Armas as the star and McShane and possibly Reeves set to return, Ballerina could be an early spring must-watch as we wait for John Wick 4

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.