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Top 28 Best John Wick Characters [Ranked]
Shivam-Posted July 30, 2023
There is no arguing that the John Wick franchise has firmly established itself as one of the top action movie franchises of the 21st century. The Keanu Reeves-led action Odyssey is characterized by its impressive visuals, fantastic set pieces, electrifying action, and heart-pounding stakes.
In addition to the smart scripting with brilliant world-building and first-rate fight choreography, which only seems to get crazier with each movie, what has kept the audiences returning to the theatres for more is the badass characters that the franchise is packed with.
While John Wick is certainly an almost-mythical figure who you wouldn't want to double-cross, he's not the only memorable character in the series. In fact, the four genre-defining (and, at times, genre-demolishing) titles are loaded with revered character actors, talented newcomers, and legends of underground action cinema, who play their respective parts dutifully.
Therefore, to say that the franchise is a simple tale of Reeves seeking vengeance and looking for redemption might be underselling it slightly. This is because a colourful cast of heroes and villains join hands to lend the series some depth and, consequently, allow it to cement a permanent place in the hearts of all who love cinematic symphonies of destruction.
So, good, evil, neutral, or indifferent, let's ready ourselves to get acquainted with the finest men and women of John Wick's insidious and immersive world.
1. John Wick
The man, the myth, the legend, John Wick is a killing machine who romances death and romanticizes violence better than you may have ever seen before on celluloid.
A tormented soul, he's been pushed to accept that he cannot truly walk away from his life as an assassin. Soon into the series, we catch him getting roped into a seemingly ceaseless war with the Table and all of those who serve it.
Even though there seems to be no possible end in sight to those trying to exterminate him, his professional assassin training comes to his aid to get the better of anything and everything.
Portrayed diligently by the endearing and handsome Keanu Reeves, Wick is characterized by his inability to stay down or give up. He is armed with an infinite amount of fighting styles and a depth of skills; each of which helps in establishing him as one of contemporary cinema's finest action heroes.
So, while he may have managed to strike fear into the hearts of everyone in the franchise, he has, at the same time, gone on to win millions of hearts worldwide with his unprecedented heroics.
Played effortlessly by Donnie Yen, Caine is a former assassin who is blackmailed into hunting down his old friend John Wick; primarily because his daughter's life is at stake.
So, let's just put it out there: he is arguably the only assassin who goes all guns blazing at Wick. In fact, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to claim that he wields the needed power and skills to edge the titular character out with élan.
Caine's journey parallels John's in many ways, which is perhaps why they relate to each other in more ways than one. However, the blind man is undoubtedly a cut above the rest with his almost superhuman skill; something that comes to the fore in his relentless pursuit of his target.
The man exudes an aura of cool and his presence gives the fourth instalment a definitive edge. In the thrilling finale where Caine almost ends up killing his former mate, Yen is seen allowing the legendary martial artist in him to take centre stage.
It's impossible to ignore and dislike this cool-headed concierge of the New York Continental, who is duly introduced in the first film itself. Played sincerely by Lance Reddick, Charon initially comes across as cold but proves to be a trustworthy ally to the titular character over the course of the franchise.
While the attendant mostly remains on the sidelines, one can never forget how he memorably assists John in the Continental assault at the end of the third instalment.
Now, Charon is certainly soft-spoken, but when it comes to protecting his beloved hotel, we witness just how formidable of a gunman he can turn out to be.
Needless to say, he's not the type of concierge you'd want to unnecessarily mess with. Yes, his abrupt death in John Wick: Chapter 4 was a huge and unexpected loss, but what was even more shocking was Reddick's real-life passing.
We thank the diligent screen performer for lending authority to this immensely likeable character.
Make way for the renowned owner of the New York Continental and John Wick's number-one ally throughout the movies. While Winston certainly works his own angles and likes nothing better than his hotel, he does find a way to assist the beleaguered assassin whenever he can.
His significance in the franchise can be gauged from the fact that he saves the titular character's life through creative interpretations of the Continental's rules many a time.
Winston may be a non-combatant, but he manages to manoeuvre the world of ruthless assassins and goons with flair. Indeed, the rule books are to him what guns are to Wick and the others.
Props to Ian McShaneis for doing full justice to one of the most critical supporting characters in the series. Watching him deliver his lines is satisfying, to say the least.
Needless to say, he makes us feel that the character was tailor-made for him.
It is exciting to see Mark Dacascos's Zero beaming with thrill and merriment when he gets an opportunity to go one-on-one with his role model. However, he proves to be far more playful than your average killer purely because he's aware of his strengths and weaknesses.
In no time, we see him becoming one of Wick's toughest foes in any of the four full-length features. As a matter of fact, the swordsman's speed and agility make him one of the most accomplished assassins in the action-packed franchise.
Zero's infectious energy and overconfidence are completely in sync with actor Mark Dacascos's incredible martial arts skills; therefore, making his character look as ferocious and authentic as possible.
In addition to being a dangerous assassin, he happens to be the leader of a bunch of killers hired by the Adjudicator. And, yes, the man is also backed by an army of very efficient Shinobi.
6. Sofia Al-Azwar
The gorgeous Halle Berry is a recipe for excitement in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum. With trained attack dogs, a grudge, and lots of guns under her wing, Sofia Al-Azwar has a lot to offer in the story.
The fit and formidable diva is dragged back into the fight with her two trained and loyal dogs after John Wick invokes an old blood pact the two had made years ago.
While her ferocity and grace match the "Baba Yaga", she makes it clear to her ally that nothing matters to her more than her estranged daughter's safety. Needless to say, Berry's identifiable style and charm leave an outstanding impact on viewers; even though she doesn't really have a meaty role to play.
7. The Bowery King
The spectacular John Wick movies mark the brilliant reunion of actors Keanu Reeves and Lawrence Fishburne after the time spent together in The Matrix franchise. The introduction of Fishburne's Bowery King is among the numerous moments in the John Wick series that will make your jaw drop and want you to whistle loudly.
Just like his most trusted pal, the Bowery King is a man of few words. However, that doesn't negate the fact that he is an interesting and intriguing character who helps the titular character in his own unique ways.
Fishburne's over-the-top performance sees him portray the king of another assassin underground; one which employs homeless people and pigeons to gain information on most things happening. Needless to say, the John Wick universe truly expanded and continued to entertain with the timely introduction of the Bowery King and his empire.
8. Mr Nobody
Nobody is yet another memorable character that is introduced in John Wick: Chapter 4. Played by Shamier Anderson, he is an expert tracker and assassin looking for a big score.
His only trusted companion is his beloved canine. While most of the assassins in the franchise are willing to kill for business and treat the same as a matter of honour, Mr Nobody is merely in it for the money.
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to claim that the audacious man exists as a representation of the damage Wick has caused to the High Table's reputation over the years.
He certainly is not bound by loyalty to anyone, but he does end up helping John after he saves him and his dog during a fight. However, what adds to his charm is that the tracker in him can find his foes no matter where they go or hide.
Since Anderson seemed to be enjoying his character, we hope that this isn't the last we see of this lone wolf and his cub.
Cassian is Gianna D'Antonio's vengeful bodyguard who vows to kill the titular character after it is revealed that he has killed his boss. He is a fighter par excellence who is shown as being cordial with John initially.
In fact, it is imperative to mention that he's the first character in the series who's able to be a direct threat to "Baba Yaga" in single combat.
Needless to say, it's impossible not to be impressed by his usage of guns, knives, and bare hands during a fight. It is not surprising then that Cassian is one of the very few characters who Wick respects enough to leave alive.
While his constant presence throughout Chapter 2 might have proven to be a headache to our beloved protagonist, it certainly did end up making the film better.
10. Santino D'Antonio
The John Wick series has no shortage of backstabbing antagonists audiences love to despise. One of them happens to be Riccardo Scamarcio's Santino D'Antonio, who kicks off the second instalment by using a marker to pull the main lead back into his old life as an unforgiving assassin.
However, his villainous side comes to the fore when he betrays Wick after the mission, trying to kill him to tie up possible loose ends. As dishonest as he may be, D'Antonio is also equally dangerous and calculative.
After using his marker with Wick to send him to assassinate his sister, he manages to inherit her prestigious position in the underground assassin world. Therefore, it becomes tough for Wick to eventually get the better of him; especially after he seeks refuge in the New York Continental.
However, "Baba Yaga" is forced to break the hotel's "no business on Continental grounds" rule to kill his enemy towards the end of the film.
11. The Adjudicator
While we are discussing characters whose combat skills and proficiency with guns make them dangerous, let's also make some room for Asia Kate Dillon's Adjudicator who's the most terrifying character to have never wielded a weapon in the franchise.
The High Table's strength lies in the fact that its modus operandi and many of its elements continue to remain a mystery to the characters in the franchise and viewers alike.
A part of this enigma is brought to the fore through The Adjudicator, who is one of the most ruthless and exciting High Table "officers". A badass in their own right, their job is strictly to clean up the mess and pass judgement on behalf of the High Table.
Needless to say, they quickly leave their mark on the series and add even more depth to its lore. Sure, they are smart enough to not dirty their hands, but they do everything they can to sweep through New York City in Chapter 3, passing judgement on anyone who may have come to Mr Wick's aid.
12. Marquis Vincent de Gramont
If you think people who know of the legend of the great John Wick cannot make the mistake of going against him, think again! Bill Skarsgård's Vincent de Gramont does not only underestimate the "Baba Yaga" but he also goes all out in using the resources of the Table to try and end him for good in the fourth instalment of the franchise.
As you'd have guessed, it turns out to be the biggest mistake of his life. However, before he bids adieu to the world, he throws a bounty onto Wick's head and ensures that half of Paris' population pursues him in the dead of night.
During the stylish and thrilling one-on-one duel between the titular character and Caine in the finale, Gramont makes another grave mistake that ends up being the last of his life.
Played convincingly by Rina Sawayama, Akira is introduced as the concierge of Osaka's Continental Hotel in John Wick: Chapter Four. Her heroics make one think if the makers are considering her to represent the next generation of John Wick characters.
If so, the future is in good hands. A proficient archer and martial artist, the young assassin is a key player at the Osaka Continental. Along with her father and their ally Wick, she does her best to defend the property.
The finale of the fourth instalment showed that Akira probably has a lot more to offer, and we can't wait to see where her story takes her next.
One of the few named henchmen to give "Baba Yaga" a run for his money, Kirill gets some solid punches on Wick in the first motion picture. Played by Swiss martial artist Daniel Bernhardt, he's among a handful of killers who get exceptionally close to taking out the titular protagonist.
The two characters first collide when John is in pursuit of Alfie Allen's Iosef Tarasov. While the hero is able to cut through most of his security, he finds a fierce opponent in Kirill, who ends up giving him a nice beating.
In fact, he also gets credit for being the only guy to knock the main lead out in the first film when he goes on to ram him with a car during an attack on Viggo Tarasov.
Surprisingly, Kirill comes very close to adding John Wick to his body count, but, alas, the movie's plot expectedly robs his glory.
15. Shimazu Koji
Introduced in John Wick: Chapter 4, Shimazu Koji is the operator of the Osaka Continental and an old friend of John Wick. He promises to aid the titular character when he's seen arriving at his hotel early in the movie.
Along with his daughter Akira, he brings the full force of the Continental to defend his ally. Played convincingly by Hiroyuki Sanada, Koji comes across as fearless right from the moment we first lay our eyes on him.
And, the gravitas that the actor brings to the screen playing his part is palpable in every scene. Since he is one of the best combatants in the series and an absolute beast with a sword, he stands firm and stone-cold in the face of danger.
While his time was cut short pretty quickly by Caine, Shimazu manages to make his presence felt.
16. Iosef Tarasov
Iosef Tarasov is the one who started all the action and drama in the first place. Portrayed by Game of Thrones alum Alfie Allen, the spoiled brat did not only steal John's car but also ended up killing his dog; thus, setting in motion a chain of events that turned out to be a nightmare for the main lead's enemies and an incredible source of entertainment for viewers worldwide.
Allen played the character well enough to be loathed by the audiences; so much so that they couldn't help but root for John Wick who goes on a killing spree for about a decade following the culmination of the first film.
In several ways, his snobbish character projection reminds you of Theon Greyjoy's initial days in Game of Thrones.
Ares is a mute assassin and the right-hand and bodyguard to the infamous Santino D'Antonio. She is introduced in John Wick: Chapter 2 as the one to double-cross John in the catacombs after he assassinates D'Antonio's sister, Gianna.
While the character lacks depth, she does prove herself a strong presence in the film; especially with her unique use of American Sign Language to communicate. Ruby Rose's impactful presence makes Ares come off as arguably the coolest character in the second instalment.
Watch out for the incredible fight scenes and shootouts she gets to partake in.
Acclaimed screen actor Willem Dafoe was introduced quite early in the franchise as John Wick's former mentor Marcus. Even though he seems to be past his prime, we duly know that skill knows no age.
Yes, the expert sniper is a force behind the trigger and is capable of saving the titular character on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, his loyalty leads to his untimely demise, but, even three films later, he remains one of the most venerated assassins in the entire franchise.
In a story full of lies, goons, guns, and backstabbing, it was refreshing to see someone as trustworthy as Marcus having Wick's best interests in mind.
Introduced in Chapter 4, Killa is the head of the German branch of the High Table. This maniacal dealer is John Wick's target in order to get reinstated into the Ruska Roma.
He may not be in the field as much as some of the series' other antagonists, but make no mistake, he manages to put up a reasonable fight against the hero before meeting his demise.
The over-the-top mini-boss proves a force to be reckoned with. Even though he is hit mercilessly by the titular character, it is unbelievable how he seems to power up every time he uses his solid gold inhaler.
Needless to say, Killa has an undeniable sense of style which only adds to the fun in the fourth instalment.
20. Viggo Tarasov
Yep, we agree that Michael Nyqvist's Viggo Tarasov is a monster who makes a whole lot of money based on the suffering of others. While we'd love to see an apathetic individual as he succumbs to his issues, we also sympathize with him because he gets unnecessarily dragged into the plot of the first John Wick due to his son's stupidity.
So, when the man gets to know of his son's transgressions, all he does in return is make him (and the viewers) aware of the true lethality of the titular character.
In fact, it is Viggo who name-drops John's alias as the "Baba Yaga"; all while explaining to his son that the man he's wronged is more than capable of killing them both rather comfortably and in no time.
Needless to say, Tarasov would have been more than happy to see Wick stay retired forever. But, now that the metaphorically sleeping boogeyman was wide awake, he had no option but to raise the price on his head at every opportunity to save his son's life.
While he certainly does put his reputation to work and makes John work for the kill, he does eventually bow out of the story in style.
21. The Director
Fans of John Wick were in for a surprise when they saw the iconic Anjelica Huston making an appearance as the Director. She was in charge of the Ruska Roma; a feared criminal organization that held an important seat at the High Table.
After being declared excommunicado, we catch our hero running to her for help. It is then revealed that she used to be a mother-like figure to him back when he was training in her organization.
Standing true to her title, the Director is intimidating and has solid control over her organization. However, it is difficult to negate that she still cares about her people, which is perhaps why she honours her duty and helps John Wick escape New York, despite knowing his label of excommunicado.
Later, when the Adjudicator arrives to punish her for going against the Table, she takes it with a remarkable show of strength that manages to impress the Adjudicator and audiences alike.
Introduced in Chapter 4, Chidi is the second-in-command of the Marquis de Gramont. His maiden appearance shows him leading the High Table's forces to Osaka in pursuit of John Wick.
Sooner than later, he proves to be a man who is as strong as he looks when he starts dispatching Continental guards with remarkable ease. When he is seen blocking an arrow with his bare forearm without flinching, it truly sets the tone for what is to follow in Chapter 4.
Indeed, he ends up giving John a fair amount of trouble and even comes close to finishing him off. As evil as Chidi may be, there's certain dark humour to Marko Zaror's performance which makes him one of the most memorable goons in a franchise overloaded with them.
23. The Shinobi
Portrayed by Arif Rahman and Yayan Ruhian, The Shinobi are introduced as Zero's star pupils in the third instalment of the series. The duo takes little time to prove that there is a solid reason they're at the top of their class.
Even though they serve as secondary antagonists in the motion picture, they end up being tough nuts to crack. In fact, the two are seen dishing out scenes that are usually reserved for the main antagonist in most mainstream action flicks.
It is not surprising then that they earn the respect of the titular protagonist even after having lost the battle.
24. Ms Perkins
Adrianne Palicki's Ms Perkins is a professional killer who is introduced in the first instalment of the franchise. John Wick must be aware of the fact that her attack on him was one of the earliest close calls in the series.
Indeed, anything could have happened at the beginning itself had he not been warned of her arrival at the last second. Ms Perkins deserves a spot in our story because she was arguably the first assassin to be courageous enough to "conduct business" on Continental grounds.
Unsurprisingly, she doesn't believe in playing by the rules and is, in fact, the first example of what happens when you disrespect the High Table.
Aurelio is a character who hasn't been given a lot of screen time in the popular franchise. However, his brief appearance in the first movie and his cameo in the second are enough to fetch him a spot on our list.
Portrayed by the talented John Leguizamo, he serves as a mechanic who happens to be a part of the assassin underworld. Also, he is one of John Wick's only friends who has apparently fixed up his car several times over the years.
Although Aurelio isn't an assassin, it is quite obvious that he holds a solid status within the mechanic empire. Add to that the fact that Leguizamo's believable character projection ensures that he manages to make an impression.
26. Tick Tock Man
Those who are familiar with Jason Mantzoukas and his work would probably agree that the man brings a kind of chaotic, relentless energy to almost every single role he plays on celluloid.
And, yes, he's arguably among the funniest people you can chance upon in the real world. As Tick Tock Man, he serves as a soldier of the Bowery King's underworld army whose sole job is to protect John Wick and remind him of his impending doom.
Needless to say, Mantzoukas was accurately cast to play the part. Since he isn't brought back in the fourth movie, we do feel that his potential has been underutilized in the franchise for sure.
27. Gianna D'Antonio
Played by the scintillating Claudia Gerini, Gianna D'Antonio serves as the overarching antagonist of John Wick: Chapter 2. Besides being the leader of the Camorra crime organization, she was also a leader of the High Table and the sister of Italian crime lord Santino D'Antonio.
Her brother tasked Mr Wick with her assassination, and he couldn't say no due to the blood oath he had sworn to him. While it does lead to her demise, it also ends up pitting the indomitable "Baba Yaga" against Santino.
One of the highlights of the second instalment is the death of Gianna. After realizing that she was going to die, she opts to depart her way by slitting her wrists while taking a bath.
However, John is still pushed to put a bullet in her skull after she's assumed to have lost consciousness from the excessive blood loss; all while holding her hand.
This is perhaps to make others believe that the bullet killed her.
When you first lay your eyes on Ernest in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, it's clear that his height is his biggest strength. He's portrayed by 7'4" Serbian NBA star Boban Marjanovic, who, undoubtedly, has massive reach.
All thanks to his stature, Ernest is able to cause a nice deal of damage to the titular character in the motion picture's first fight sequence, set in a New York Public Library.
That said, his strength also turns out to be a problem for him later for he's seen depending a bit too much on his size to get him far in fights.
While it may work with most people, it doesn't really work with "Baba Yaga" who is too quick and agile for him.
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