The 'John Wick' Series Is Actually An Adaptation Of Greek Mythology

Since the first John Wick film was released in 2014, the franchise has captured audiences' attention and revitalized the action movie genre. Perhaps most surprising of all - outside of the impressive action itself - is the thorough world-building of the first two films. A visual style reminiscent of graphic novels mixed with an interesting mythology helps the franchise stand out as something more impactful than another over-edited action fest.

The production team clearly paid extensive attention to the films' details, and this is evident when investigating many John Wick movie facts and theories. One potential - and surprisingly believable - theory claims the John Wick films are an adaptation of Greek mythology. The first film's elements reveal this connection, but those of the sequel, John Wick: Chapter 2, solidify it. Once the theory is laid out, few will deny John Wick is a Greek myth.

Photo: Summit Entertainment

  • John Wick's Journey Mirrors The Legend Of Hercules

    The respective tales of John Wick and the Greek god, Hercules, are eerily similar: a seemingly unstoppable warrior performs impossible feats, thus earning a legendary following; after retiring from battle, the warrior's wife perishes, sending him back into conflict once again.

    Perhaps to draw attention to these similarities, one fight scene in John Wick: Chapter 2 takes place in the shadow of a statue of Hercules

    One aspect of this mythology that Wick doesn't follow, however, is that of Hercules - driven out of his mind by Hera - slaying his own wife, Megara.

  • The Concierge Is A Direct Allegory For Charon The Boatman

    In Greek mythology, Charon the Boatman ferries the recently deceased across the River Styx and into the underworld. In John Wick, the first person Wick encounters at the Continental Hotel after returning to the criminal underworld is a concierge named Charon. 

    This marks one of the most conspicuous references to mythology within the John Wick franchise.

  • Wick's Coins Represent The Toll For The River Styx

    When a person passed in Greek mythology, a coin was placed over their mouth. Soon after, the spirit of the person would appear in the afterlife alongside the River Styx. They used this coin to pay Charon the Boatman, who would then ferry them across the river and into the underworld.

    In the first film, Wick uses coins in a similar fashion. Once he decides he must return to his former life, he takes some coins from a chest he previously buried underground. When he reaches the Continental Hotel, he uses these coins to pay Charon, the concierge, for entrance.

  • Wick's Impervious Suit Represents Hercules's Lion Hide

    John Wick: Chapter 2 alludes to yet another facet of Greek mythology - and draws further parallels between Wick and Hercules - when it references the Nemean Lion. In the Greek myth, Hercules slayed the lion and donned its hide. This hide was impervious to weapons and therefore served as body armor for the hero. 

    In the second film, Wick receives an impeccably tailored suit that serves the same purpose: it is bulletproof and specially treated to protect the wearer. In another Herculean parallel, Wick only dons his suit when he is preparing for battle.

  • The Seats Of The High Table Reflect The 12 Olympians

    Santino D'Antonio, the primary villain of John Wick: Chapter 2, wishes to take his sister's seat at the High Table. While most of the Table remains offscreen throughout the film, the elite group is presented as a seemingly omnipotent and omnipresent force.

    The High Table - whose members control most of the criminal network Wick uses to operate - is comprised of 12 seats, likely reflecting the 12 Olympians of Greek mythology. The Olympians were the most powerful gods in the Greek pantheon and included Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Athena, Apollo, Ares, and Aphrodite, among others.

    In one scene of the film, D'Antonio even stands in front of statues depicting the 12 Olympians.

  • Winston Is Likely An Allegory For Hades

    When a person passed in Greek mythology, their spirit traveled to Hades. This was the name of both the underworld itself and the god who ruled it. In the first film, when Wick returns to the Continental Hotel and pays an admittance fee, he enters the basement - symbolic of the land of Hades.

    There he meets Winston, the head of the hotel and the kingpin of the films' criminal underworld. Whether or not Winston is a member of the High Table remains unclear, but he appears not to be. Similarly, the Greek god Hades was not a member of the 12 Olympians.