“Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat”: Even After John Wick 4, One Thing About Keanu Reeves’ Assassin Is Still A Mystery to Fans

Keanu Reeves redefined action cinema with his John Wick films in the 2010s with his four John Wick films becoming an instant favorite among action cinema aficionados and is among the conversations of the best action franchise of all time. The franchise stands out for showcasing a unique visual stylization added with the action filmed in a very brutal and authentic way, favoring long wide takes rather than frequent cuts. But the main attraction of the series is Reeves and the characterization of his character John Wick. His mysterious yet legendary personality has intrigued and fascinated fans, even with characters in the films who talk about the mythic quality of a persona like Wick. Even though his past is rarely shown in the film, the various tattoos on his body may give significant clues as to the origins and the backstory of such a legendary figure in the John Wick Universe.

John Wick’s Past Signals the Reason Behind His Legendary Status

John Wick's Iconic TattooJohn Wick’s Iconic Tattoo
In an article from Screen Rant that discusses the possible origins of the character of John Wick, the prominent focus is on one particular tattoo on his back labeled as “Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat“. This Latin phrase translates to “fortune favors the bold“. The article points out the similarity of this phrase with the motto for the Marine forces, implying his involvement in the armed forces at some point in his youth. There is also a tattoo of two hands in prayer below the phrase, also implying him being a man of faith and a set of ethics that he is devoted to. All four films of the franchise have Wick fighting and rebelling against a higher power. Hence, it is reasonable to believe that he is a ‘fallen angel’ kind of figure, trying to bring justice against a powerful entity that has wronged him.

His past allegiances with the Russian mob and how he was molded and trained as a skilled assassin also add to his incredible fighting and tactical skills. Being orphaned and taken up by the Ruska Roma crime syndicate led to him also known by his alternate name called Jardani Jovonovich. The other tattoos across his body might also dictate his time in Russian prisons or signify his loyalty to the organization.

John Wick is a Man of Mystery and Myth

A still from John Wick 4A still from John Wick 4
As the above evidence has pointed out, Keanu Reeves‘ character of John Wick is a man who is like a mythic legend walking among the land of the living. His moniker of the ‘Baba Yaga’ or the ‘Boogeyman’ indicates the fear and respect that other fellow or rival gang members have for a man of his stature. He is a larger-than-life figure even in the world of John Wick as an unkillable assassin who goes up against the very organization that he worked for. His will and determination to always be able to get up and fight despite many hurdles and injuries is a testament to his origins and the type of person he is. The character’s revenge is mainly fueled by the intense love and care that he had for his late wife Helen.

John Wick’s Future and What It Holds

A still from The ContinentalA still from The Continental
After John Wick 4 (2023) became the most critically acclaimed and the most earning film of the John Wick Universe, a fifth John Wick film is in development despite the supposed death of the character in the fourth film. A prequel series titled The Continental (2023) is scheduled to premiere on Peacock on September 22, 2023. A spin-off film titled Ballerina (2024) starring Ana de Armas is also scheduled to release in theatres on June 7, 2024. The events of the film will take place between John Wick 3 and 4 and will feature Keanu Reeves and Ian McShane as John Wick and Winston respectively in extended cameos.

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