John Wick 4 is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated action films alongside The Matrix. Another big name in action films has joined the upcoming sequel, as Collider reports that veteran Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada has joined the growing cast and plays a mysterious character named Watanabe.
While Sanada better known to western audiences for his Hollywood parts in projects like The Wolverine, Westworld, The Last Samurai, and Avengers: Endgame, he started in Japanese cinema as an action star similar to Sonny Chiba and would likely be able to do action scenes with limited help from a stunt double.
The cast already consists of Keanu Reeves, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Donnie Yen, Shamier Anderson, Bill Skarsgard, and British singer-turned-actress Rina Sawayama.
He previously worked with Keanu Reeves in the fantasy film 47 Ronin.
It wouldn’t be shocking if Sanada is playing a member of The High Table as there is a seat from the Japanese Yakuza. Hiroyuki Sanada had been linked for a villain role in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, but had to drop out over scheduling issues. That part was High Table assassin Zero, who was played by Mark Dacascos.
Japan is also a confirmed filming location.
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum ended with John surviving the fall from the roof of The Continental hotel after Ian McShane’s Winston shot him, Winston’s motivations weren’t entirely clear as he didn’t seem shocked that Mr. Wick got away and could be giving The High Table a false sense of security. Wick eventually lands at the feet of Laurence Fishburne’s Bowery King, who had his organization taken away from him by The High Table and convinces John to go to war with him against the mysterious group of criminal syndicate puppet masters.
Production will kick-off this month at Germany’s Babelsberg Film Studios and has a release date from Lionsgate for May 27, 2022.
Franchise director Chad Stahelski returns for the four installment as the studio is pursuing John Wick 5 and having Stahelski tackle a Highlander reboot that may star Henry Cavill.