John Wick: Chapter 4 is full of surprises, but one shocking tease in the trailer was a total bait and switch, leaving a huge loose end in the series. The John Wick franchise has become one of the most action-packed series of the 21st century, and in the final hour of the fourquel, the action, violence, and headshots are non-stop. The movie seamlessly moves from a car chase on the Champs-Élysées, to the mind-blowing top-down sequence in the abandoned French house, to the hilarious comedy violence on the 222 steps. However, the film also features some major plot twists and emotional surprises, delivering on the promises made by the trailer.
The trailer hinted at the entertaining new characters and even teased John’s fate, as the second trailer featured the Elder’s dialogue before John killed him, with “The only way John Wick will have freedom and peace is in death,” hinting at his death at the end of the movie. But the trailer cleverly kept enough hidden that the movie’s events still remained a surprise, and pulled off what so many other trailers of long-running franchises attempt, which is to fool audiences with out-of-context dialogue. The John Wick: Chapter 4 trailer’s most talked-about dialogue teased what could have been the biggest reveal of 2020s, but it never happened.
The John Wick: Chapter 4 trailer features John telling Winston (Ian McShane), “I don’t sit at the high table,” to which Winston responds, “Your family does” in a sincere delivery from McShane. This second-long moment led to so much chatter and buzz, and understandably so, as it made audiences believe that a single member of John’s family sits at the high table and that it was kept from John his whole life. The line of dialogue led to theories that Winston might have been referring to John’s deceased wife, Helen, or John’s father, whoever that might be.
As the series has avoided talking about John’s immediate family, the tease was even more alluring. However, it ended up being a bait and switch, as the scene wasn’t anywhere near as revealing as the trailer made it out to be. Instead, Winston was referring to the crime syndicate, the Ruska Roma, in which John Wick was raised. There are 12 seats at the high table, and each seat belongs to a different criminal organization, including the Triad, the Sicilian Mafia, and, of course, the Ruska Roma. The seat belongs to the Ruska Roma crime boss, whoever that is, and the dialogue in the trailer was a clever misdirect.
Even though the misdirect might have disappointed some fans, it was for the best that Winston wasn’t referring to a singular person who’s related to John and sits at the High Table. If it was revealed that John’s father, mother, or any other immediate family member sat at the High Table, it would have massively shrunk the expansive world. And if it was revealed that Helen sat at the High Table, it would have undermined the emotional arc of the first movie. But that still leaves a giant loose end in the series, as John Wick’s immediate family still remains a mystery.
Though John was adopted into the Ruska Roma, it has never been mentioned who his blood relatives are. It was hinted at the end of John Wick: Chapter 4 that Winston could be John’s father, as the Ruska Roma tattoo on Winston’s wrist is visible when he rests his hand on John’s grave. Winston literally even says, “Goodbye, my son” in the cemetery, though that could simply be a term of endearment. Mercifully, whether Winston is John’s father or not may be expanded upon in The Continental, meaning audiences may get a clearer picture on this topic in the future.