Do You Need to Watch John Wick 1-4 Before The Continental?

A prequel steeped in some of the best lore in action cinema!

by J.R. Waugh
Do You Need to Watch John Wick 1-4 Before The Continental
Images: Lionsgate / Lionsgate Television

John Wick is a franchise that continues to evolve and expand as the fans realize how exceptional and entertaining it truly is. While the first John Wick focused largely on its titular character’s revenge tale, the sequels began to build off the world teased by the original. The result is some deep and fascinating lore otherwise not often seen in an action movie franchise, namely focused on the monolithic Continental, a world-spanning hotel chain that houses the underworld elite. With a new Amazon original miniseries coming out based in the same universe, do you need to watch John Wick 1-4 before The Continental? Read on to find out!

The Continental: From the World of John Wick | Should You Watch John Wick 1-4 First?

You should absolutely watch at least John Wick and John Wick: Chapter 2 before The Continental for 2 reasons, but ideally, you should watch all 4 movies.

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The first reason you can at least watch the first 2 while still understanding the show is that the first establishes The Continental’s existence and function. The hotel shelters and protects powerful criminals and assassins as shown in the first John Wick; Chapter 2 establishes The Continental’s most important rules. The other 2 films serve to flesh out the world-spanning presence of the hotel chain, as well as the fallout of John Wick’s decisions on their grounds in Chapter 2.

The second reason is that you should at least watch the first 2, if not all John Wick movies because you’ll also get familiar with 2 major characters. Winston Scott and Charon, the leader and concierge of the New York Continental, respectively, are 2 key players in The Continental: From the World of John Wick in 1970’s New York.

What Characters Return From the John Wick Films?

Young Winston, originally portrayed by Ian McShane in the films, is played by Colin Woodell in this prequel. Charon, originally played by the late Lance Reddick, will feature Ayomide Adegun in the role this time. This show will follow how the two characters came to gain their positions within The Continental over time.

The Continental is a 3-episode miniseries and a true deep dive into the franchise’s lore without having to focus on somebody who’s spent the movies largely trying to get away from the chain. It’ll be interesting watching the development of 2 characters as they join and rise within the ranks of an organization during a truly seedy period of crime and discord, in 1970s New York City. While you can get a general understanding of the premise from the first 2 movies, do yourself a favor and watch Chapters 3 and 4 too, they’re really too good to skip.

- This article was updated on September 17th, 2023

About The Author

J.R. is a content creator with AOTF and has been covering gaming and entertainment in the industry since 2022. Along with a B.A. in History from the University of Cincinnati, he has studied at the University of Birmingham, UK, and part of his M.A. at the University of Waterloo. You'll find J.R. particularly at home writing about the hottest manga and anime. He is highly passionate about horror, strategy, and RPGs, and anything about Star Trek or LOTR. When not ranting about fan theories or writing guides, J.R. also manages his local movie theater.