John Wick: Chapter 4 was born from three very surprising influences, as revealed by the film's director. The John Wick franchise began in 2014 with a fairly streamlined film about the titular character (played by Keanu Reeves) getting revenge on a crime syndicate for killing his dog and stealing his car. However, that first film gave audiences glimpses at a wider world of assassins that has been explored in two sequels and will expand with several in-development spin-offs and the third sequel, which is due in theaters on March 24, 2023.

For their latest issue, Empire sat down with John Wick director Chad Stahelski, who has helmed every film in the franchise, co-directing the first with David Leitch. During the conversation, he revealed the surprising trio of inspirations that influenced Chapter 4, which he describes as what happens if "if you took The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, crossed it with Zatoichi, and threw in a Greek myth." He gushed that he loved directing the franchise because it allows him to synthesize such disparate influences. Read his full quote below:

If you took The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, crossed it with Zatoichi, and threw in a Greek myth, you’d probably get something close to this. And who else f---ing says those kinds of sentences? Now you know why I like doing John Wicks.
How the Influences Chad Stahelski Shared Might Impact John Wick 4

The influences that Stahelski shared are certainly surprising for a modern action filmmaker. The first, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, is a 1966 spaghetti Western starring Clint Eastwood as the Man with No Name, one of three outlaws seeking buried Confederate gold in New Mexico during the Civil War. Zatoichi, on the other hand, is a completely different artistic endeavor. The character, also known as the Blind Swordsman, was created by Japanese author Kan Shimozawa in 1948 and went on to appear in more than two dozen films and 100 episodes of a television series.

Zatoichi draws on Japan's samurai tradition, which is another major influence on modern action filmmakers. Projects that have combined samurai and Western elements aren't exactly unheard of, especially considering the fact that the subcategory includes the 1977 culture-defining hit Star Wars in addition to other works like 2007's Sukiyaki Western Django. However, the addition of Greek mythology to the mix implies that John Wick: Chapter 4 will be approaching these influences in an entirely unique way.

The action franchise certainly hasn't strayed away from the operatic, but if John Wick: Chapter 4 takes the leap into elevating the story into genuine myth, it will likely reach the peak of its already larger-than-life nature. The film, which follows Wick as he attempts to defeat the High Table while his global alliances shift unpredictably thanks to the emergence of a new villain, already has an enormous scope. However, these influences imply that the world of John Wick won't just expand, but coalesce into a world of titanic figures who are duty-bound to conflicting parties, forcing them into clash with one another on an unprecedented scale.