Director of John Wick: Chapter 4 Chad Stahelski explains how using dogs in the action franchise works. The Keanu Reeves-led franchise has a rich history with dogs, beginning with the death of the retired hitman’s puppy in 2014’s John Wick, which was a gift from his cherished late wife. John’s return to his life as an assassin, that is still going strong three films later, was spurred on by that tragic death. The hitman got a new dog at the end of John Wick, and several more dogs were added in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum with the appearance of Halle Berry’s character and her viciously trained puppies.

Stahelski provided some behind-the-scenes insight into how a new dog in the franchise & her fellow canine actors are trained while discussing the dogs’ ongoing involvement inside the franchise with Collider. Bombastic action scenes have become a trademark of the John Wick franchise, and Chapter 4 of the series is rumored to push the envelope even further. Fortunately for those hoping to see more dogs in the upcoming film, Stahelski’s remarks imply that there will be plenty of canines in the action given the crew’s efforts to include them. View the director’s comments below:

“Well, the [new] character of the dog is a her, but we had, let’s see, three females and two male dogs to comp all one dog together, depending on what the stunt, or the gag, or the acting bit was. This time we learned a lot from last time, but we wanted a little bit more out of this one in specialty stuff. We had the dog, I think it was just over five months, to work with cast and on stunts. It’s just when you’re bringing in the stunt teams, and we have different stunt teams on this one because it’s so much bigger, the dog is just like friends. You have to get to know your friends. So in order for the dog to be very playful, and safe, and have the confidence just like a human would, they have to spend time with each individual stunt guy. So we had to rotate every hour. One of our 10 main stunt team guys would go and play. That was his job. He had to go play with the dogs, and get tackled by the dogs, and play Frisbee with the dog. So you get acclimated to our canine friend and then that’s how we started working it.”

Why Dogs Are Important To The John Wick Franchise

The Director of John Wick 4 Teases The New Dog's Significant Role in the Keanu Reeves Sequel

Considering how far Stahelski and the stunt coordinators went to work well with the dogs, it is obvious that the animals will play a significant role in the upcoming film. The director has previously admitted that the fight scene in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum starring Sofia’s dogs, played by Halle Berry, was the most challenging to shoot. Months of training and inventive CGI use were required to incorporate those dogs into Stahelski’s vision for the third installment, which adds up to a significant amount of extra work for a shoot that was already very demanding.

However, the franchise depends on using the dogs. John has always had a strong connection to animals, and his first dog Daisy served as a symbol of his sorrow over the recently passed wife. The addition of the hitman’s new dog is bittersweet because John does care for the dog very much and it does serve as a companion, but John hasn’t given the dog a name probably because he’s afraid of losing the animal after developing a bond with it. The character’s subdued arc throughout the movie series is suggested by the fact that his fear extends to his interpersonal relationships.

Sofia, on the other hand, has her own emotional reasons for her relationship with the dogs she uses, but she isn’t afraid to use them in battle, turning them into weapons that can defend both their owner and themselves while carrying out her orders. It’s intriguing to think about how John’s relationship with his own dog will change once the lines between his dangerous life and the animals he loves so much start to blur once more because dogs have frequently represented John’s connection to humanity as well as a life outside of killing for his character. With Stahelski’s intriguing tease regarding the new dog and the animals’ continued presence in the action in John Wick: Chapter 4, it’s conceivable that John may learn to depend more on his dog, even though Berry’s character does, as a partner rather than another innocent he must protect. As the character develops, this sentiment might also apply to other people.

Source: Collider