The Continental is a three-part prequel series to the beloved John Wick franchise, featuring a host of Easter Eggs and references to the franchise’s most successful franchise. The show follows the journey of Winston Scott, a fan-favorite character, as he becomes the manager of The Continental Hotel, a criminal haven, several years before he meets Keanu Reeves’ action hero.
Along the way, he and his team must contend with a psycho hotel boss, a pair of murderous twins, and a criminal organization that pre-dates the Roman Empire. The Continental is full of nods to the franchise, from younger versions of existing characters to iconic locations from the saga.
Frankie Pays Homage to John Wick
If there was any doubt among fans that the long-awaited prequel series would lack the visceral and exciting action that the franchise has become so synonymous with, the opening scene of “The Continental” immediately puts those worries to rest. We meet our protagonist, Frankie Scott, Winston’s defiant brother, and there’s something in the way he looks and walks that reminds us of John Wick.
From his long hair and long beard to his jet-black suit and the way he speaks to his enemies with a polite first name, it’s clear that this is the show’s intention to pay tribute to the icon who kicked off the franchise. In the opening sequence, Frankie proves that he’s just as formidable a fighter as the franchise’s namesake, taking out more than a dozen guards during an exciting staircase sequence.
The Coin Press
Basically, Frankie (Mel Gibson) breaks away from his boss Cormac, and the mysterious High Table by taking a coin press. Fans of the John Wick franchise know that the criminal underworld has its own currency, and it’s these gold coins that are the currency of the High Table.
They’re the lifeblood of their empire, and when Frankie steals the coin press, it gives them the power to make fake coins to put into circulation. That’s probably why the High Table starts controlling how these coins are made as we saw in John Wick 3: Parabellum – Berrada’s facility.
The Rules of The Continental Hotel
The Continental has a strict code of conduct that all staff and residents must adhere to. This code states that no criminal activity, particularly murder, is permitted on the premises of The Continental. Violation of the code of conduct will result in immediate excommunication from the High Table services.
Although Cormac is afraid of the High Table and has little respect for their rules, he does not abide by them. Initially, he dismisses one of his employees by having him jump from the roof, but then he murders cellist, Thomas Caine, in his hotel room. The Adjudicator, Katie McGrath, allows him to do this as a means of finding the coin press.
In The Continental, the primary focus of the film is on the younger version of Winston and Charlie, played by the two main characters. However, there is a younger version of Uncle Charlie, played by Peter Greene, who was also present in the original film.
In the original film, when John’s home is attacked, he summons the elder Charlie to clear it of dead gangsters. In the film, Charlie is seen as a mentor and protective father figure for Winston and Frankie.
The 1969 Ford Mustang
When Winston informs Charlie that he requires a vehicle to locate Frankie, Charlie offers to lend him his beloved ’69 Ford Mustang, which is the same model that John stole from him in John Wick (the first film) before retrieving and tacking it to a tree in John Wick (Chapter 2).
While it is not clear if Charlie’s Ford Mustang is the same model as the one John would eventually acquire, it has been shown to be a reliable vehicle as Aurelio has stated that he can repair it.
Be Seeing You
In the John Wick franchise, the phrase “I’ll see you again” is a recurring phrase used by John Wick’s victims to signify their farewell to the killer. This phrase is seen in the first two episodes of the franchise, “The Continental” and “John Wick: The World’s End”.
In the former, it is used by Winston as he passes an old poster of Marilyn Monroe, while in the latter, it is repeated by Mishel Prada’s character, KD, after she has killed Cormac and spared Winston, allowing him to embark on his new life as an NYPD detective.
The High Table has been around for over 1,000 years, and the roles and institutions of the High Table have remained the same throughout the years. One of these roles is that of “The Adjudicator”, and we’ve already seen one of these Adjudicators chasing the coin press back in the prequels.
But this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen Adjudicators in John Wick. We’ve seen another Adjudicator back in the early days of John Wick (Chapter 3, “Parabellum”) where Asia Kate Dillon (Kate Dillon) was one of the Adjudicators leading the High Table’s search for John Wick after he’d been named “Excelsior”.
Bullet-Proof Suit Prototype
In John Wick: Chapter 2, the concept of bullet-proof fabrics was introduced, and it would become an integral part of the franchise by being used in some way in every film since.
This technology is still in its early stages of development at the time of The Continental, but we do get a brief glimpse of the industry-shaking technology that would become so pervasive in this world of murder.
Pushing Up Daisies
Before Yen and Frankie have to leave their home at the deserted movie theatre, we see her carrying a can of flowers. What’s the name of the dog that started John Wick’s journey of revenge? Daisy!
Could this be a sign that Yen’s little friend Frankie is about to get his comeuppance? In the second part of the series, Niall Bishop’s coroner makes another mention of dead dogs, something the John Wick series has become famous for.
Origins of The Bowery King
John Wick has always had the help of the Bowery king, who runs an underground group of homeless people who work for the High Table. At least until he joined John in his revenge, that is. The Continental could be the key to figuring out how the bowery king came to power in the first place.
Winston has formed an alliance with Mazzy, who seems to be in charge of the same homeless people. It looks like Winston could be the one responsible for making the king even more powerful.
It has been reported that Keanu Reeves had the opportunity to change his stage name to the humorous name of Chuck Spadina, which was revealed in an interview with The Tonight Show. This name is codified in the film The Continental, where the exterminator disguise of Ray McKinnon’s character is referred to as Chuck Spadina.
KD’s Hotel Room
Upon the acquisition of a gold coin by KD, he is able to book a reservation at the secluded hotel. Upon arrival, he is presented with a room key for Room 818, which, by coincidence, is the same room in which John Wick himself checked in after the release of the first installment of the franchise.
Lemmy Fights an Accountant
The Accountants are another integral part of the High Table machine. Posting and enforcing contracts through analog means, the Accountants, each wearing a uniform and adorned with tattoos, are responsible for John Wick’s hefty reward. We first meet Lemmy (Adam Shapiro) in the basement of the Continental, where he and one of the Accountants collide in a deadly encounter.
Winston Develops an Early Hatred for The High Table
The hotel is in shambles, but Winston and his gang manage to take down Cormac’s reign. They’re about to take over the hotel, but before they can, the Adjudicator shows up and tells Winston he doesn’t have the High Table.
She also tells him that she paid Frankie to take the coin press so she could get rid of Cormac. That makes her the one who killed Frankie, so Winston decides to pay her back by shooting her. He kills her outside the hotel, but even though it’s his first move against the bad guys, he’s still a respected manager at The Continental.
Wrapping it up!
To sum up, “The Continental” prequel series is an exciting ride through the criminal world that offers fans a deeper insight into the world they love. The show focuses on characters such as Winston Scott, Frankie and Uncle Charlie, exploring their backgrounds and their connection to the world of high-stakes crime and assassins. There are plenty of Easter eggs and references from the John Wick movies that are sure to delight fans, such as the gold coins from the High Table and the strict rules at The Continental Hotel. All of these nods to the franchise’s history make for an enjoyable viewing experience for long-time fans.