Between the Ruska Roma mystery, where the female assassins are, and how much those gold coins are worth, The Ballerina has a lot of ground to cover.
John Wick fans are basking in all of the recent announcements, as not only was the John Wick: Chapter 4 trailer released, but the spin-off The Ballerina has just started filming in Prague too. The movie stars Ana de Armas, who plays an assassin seeking revenge for the death of her family. While it sounds extremely familiar, the simple fact that its part of the John Wick world is reason enough to be excited.
As the film is so tied to the cinematic universe of assassins, it could clear up tons of questions fans have about the world. Between the Ruska Roma mystery, where all the female assassins are, and how much those gold coins are worth, The Ballerina has a lot of ground to cover.
In John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, audiences were introduced to The Director (Angelica Huston), and she was an important figure despite having such a short amount of screen time. She seemingly ran the ballet theatre, was the head of the Ruska Roma, and even Wick seemed to fear her slightly.
It's already known that the Ruska Roma isn't bound by the High Table's rules, which means that it could do some significant damage if necessary, but audiences are yet to see that. The Director has the power over all of these ballerinas/assassins, but her role in the world at large still isn't all that clear. Given that Rooney must be an alumnus of the Ruska Roma, the movie may shed some light on The Director.
With The Ballerina being a direct spin-off of the John Wick franchise, it begs the question, do Wick and Rooney know each other, and if so, how do they know each other? It's safe to assume that The Ballerina is set in the present day, which would be the same time as Wick coming out of retirement, so she must know Wick, maybe even have grown up with him at the Ruska Roma, or at least know who he is.
Keanu Reeves is confirmed to be reprising his role as the deadly assassin in the spin-off, so the mystery will likely be cleared up pretty quickly. Either way, the spin-off could ironically give fans more insight into Wick's upbringing than the actual John Wick films.
How much a gold coin is worth is the million-dollar question, and fans have tirelessly tried to work it out. One gold coin can get Wick a bourbon, other times it gets him emergency surgery, and other times it gets him a cleaner who will dispose of multiple dead bodies.
Ultimately, they probably don't have any value at all, and it's simply a token that are representative of a favor. That would make the most sense, as things that are bought with the coins have vastly different values, and most of the underground assassin world follows such a strict code of honor. But The Ballerina could answer this once and for all.
It seems as if the studio is treating The Ballerina like way more than a simple cash-in with loose ties to the larger universe, as Winston (Ian McShane), the manager of The Continental, will feature in the movie in some capacity. It isn't clear how much involvement McShane has in the spin-off, but the movie could finally detail Winston's mysterious backstory.
However, the franchise is suddenly quickly expanding, as along with Ballerina, The Continental, a series based on the titular hotel, is currently in development. That could also detail Winston's origin, especially as it's set in the 70s, but there's still so much mystery surrounding the show.
It has long been a theory that every single person in the John Wick universe is an assassin, and it's almost gotten to the point now where there's no other explanation. As Wick couldn't get a second of rest in Parabellum without being attacked by some kind of an assassin, and given that nobody bats an eyelid at a brutal public attack, there are no two ways about it.
The Ballerina could give audiences some kind of answer as to why the sight of violence isn't remotely distressing to the public in the universe. As the Ana de Armas-led movie will be the fifth in the series, it's about time fans were answered.
The John Wick franchise has featured female assassins in the past, such as Ms. Perkins, who is shot dead by Winston's men, and Ares, who is something of a penultimate boss battle for Wick in John Wick: Chapter 2 and one of the best John Wick assassins. Then there's Sofia, who runs The Continental in Casablanca.
However, outside of a couple of key characters, the franchise is severely lacking in female assassins, especially compared to the number of male assassins. Given that The Ballerina follows an expert female contract killer, there could be a simple explanation as to why women assassins have been mostly absent from the franchise up until now.
Parabellum made it clear that John was allowed to leave the Ruska Roma under the condition that he carry out some final jobs for the Russian mob, which is what led to the events of the first movie. However, that still leaves one huge question left unanswered, as fans have no idea why he wanted to leave in the first place.
There must have been some kind of catalyst that made John want to leave, especially given that he's protected from the High Table in the group. Under the assumption that Rooney grows up in the Ruska Roma or is at least connected to it in some way, the film could uncover why Wick left the group.
There's so much money flowing through the assassin industry, even outside of the mystery gold coins, and it creates so many questions that The Ballerina could finally answer. There are tens of millions that go into The Continental, whether it's the underground club, the rooftop terraces, or the walk-in closet full of artillery that could take down the government, which led to one of the best movie fights ever.
It can't simply be the High Table funding it, as those mystery members wouldn't exactly care about amenities for assassins so much that there'd be a club in the hotel. Then there's the hit that's put on John Wick, which is worth $14 million, as it isn't clear where that money came from or who placed the bounty on Wick's head.
While the upcoming movie will undoubtedly be a spectacle given that it's a part of the mesmerizing John Wick universe, and though John Wick flipped tons of assassin movie tropes on their heads, there's no escaping the fact that it heavily leans into some overused tropes. The most obvious of which is that the titular assassin, Rooney, is also a ballerina, which has been the premise of so many movies.
It was even used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Natasha Romanoff had a similar upbringing to the Parabellum ballerinas in Black Widow. There's no obvious source that started the Russian ballerina/spy trope, but The Ballerina could finally give some insight as to why Ballerinas and assassins are so interlinked.
It seems as if the rules of the high table are pretty strict, but at the same time, they're pretty cavalier and inconsistent. Winston was forgiven for double-crossing them despite having a hand in killing so many of their henchmen, but The Bowery King was slashed almost to death for simply talking to Wick. At this point, it'd be easier if each ticket into the screening came with a Hight Table rule book.
As the High Table has yet to be revealed, the rules will likely get more convoluted before they make sense, but The Ballerina could clear things up. However, some of it might be answered in John Wick: Chapter 4, as the trailer sees Bill Skarsgård playing The Marquis de Gramont, who is a member of the Hight Table and will have a major role in the upcoming fourquel.
NEXT: The 10 Best John Wick-Influenced Action Movies, Ranked According To Letterboxd
Currently residing in Madrid, Stephen Barker has been a staff writer at Screen Rant since 2020. Since graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University with a bachelor’s degree in Film, Television, and Cultural Studies in 2014, he has written for numerous movie and music websites. Stephen has been obsessed with movies since he first watched Jurassic Park on VHS, and with a deep interest in screenwriting, he loves 70s character-driven movies. But he’s just as much of a defender of Batman & Robin, The Fast and the Furious, and Small Soldiers. Visit Stephen‚Äôs personal blog, Quaranste, where he writes about guilty pleasure movies, his latest musical discoveries, and how he stays creative during global pandemics, or contact him directly: [email protected]