Hiroyuki Sanada (Lost, Westworld, Mortal Kombat) was originally set to star in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum as Zero, Wick’s primary adversary in that film. But an Achilles tendon injury took him out of contention, and he was eventually replaced by Mark Dacascos. Now history is righting itself, because Sanada has reportedly been cast in John Wick 4, reuniting with his old 47 Ronin co-star Keanu Reeves.
According to Collider, Sanada has been added to the John Wick 4 cast, where he will play a character named Watanabe. Plot details are still being kept close to the vest, so it’s unknown how this character will factor into the action and whether he will be friend or foe to Reeves’ eponymous character.
Sanada is a classic “that guy” for Western audiences who may not have committed his name to memory. You’ve likely seen him in The Last Samurai, Sunshine, Speed Racer, The Wolverine, or maybe as the Temple dweller Dogen on Lost or as Shogunworld host in HBO’s Westworld. This year alone, he’s already been in Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead and played Scorpion in Simon McQuoid’s Mortal Kombat.
After needing to leave John Wick: Chapter 3, Sanada’s consolation prize was appearing in Avengers: Endgame as a guy who gets his ass kicked by Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye/Ronin. King of a mixed bag for him there: On one hand, he got to appear in the biggest movie of all time, but on the other, there’s the whole “ass kicked by Jeremy Renner” thing.
Who Else is in the John Wick 4 Cast?
In addition to returning star Keanu Reeves and new addition Hiroyuki Sanada, John Wick 4 will feature Ian McShane as Winston, the owner of The Continental hotel, and Laurence Fishburne as the sewer-dwelling Bowery King. Franchise newcomers Shamier Anderson (Stowaway), Japanese-British pop star Rina Sawayama, It actor Bill Skarsgård, and martial arts cinema legend Donnie Yen (Ip Man, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) will be stepping into this highly stylized world of assassins for the first time in this installment. Could we also see the return of Halle Berry and her guard dogs? Dare I hope for a more thorough examination of Jason Mantzoukas‘ mercurial Tick Tock Man? I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.
Audiences will soon see Sanada in an FX series called Shogun, and he’s also part of the large ensemble cast of the upcoming action movie Bullet Train.
John Wick 4 is currently scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 27, 2022.
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