John Wick quickly cemented itself as one of the greatest action movies of all time, but may not exactly be known for its supporting cast of characters, as it is for the franchise’s spectacular action sequences, genius world-building, and a legendary performance by Keanu Reeves. However, John Wick gives audiences a heap of memorable and truly awesome characters. Most of the characters in the franchise are very skilled, deadly assassins who have a history or are simply fans of John Wick. But with the expansive assassin underworld, John Wick introduces us to some incredibly cool, suave, and interesting characters who aren’t assassins.
Many memorable characters have appeared over the franchise, with 2023 expanding the world with the most diverse cast of characters in both John Wick: Chapter 4 and the Peacock series, The Continental. From lethal marksmen to ghostly trackers, every character in John Wick comes armed with something more than just weapons. So, wear your suit and get ready for revenge as we rank the best characters in this spectacular action franchise.
Update January 19, 2024: This article has been updated with more characters from the John Wick franchise following the release of John Wick: Chapter 4 and The Continental.
15 Viggo Tarasov
Viggo Tarasov was the main villain of the first film in the franchise, John Wick. His son was the one who killed Wick’s dog, Daisy, and unleashed the wrath of the Baba Yaga onto himself. Tarasov, who was actually the person who let John Wick retire and live with his civilian wife after completing an impossible task for him, knew the kind of danger John’s anger brought. Even though he berated his son for his actions, he still ended up trying to protect him and failed eventually.
After John finally kills his son, Tarasov kills Marcus, who was John’s mentor and helped him escape. Even though he is a villain, Viggo Tarasov is a well-written character whose only goal is to save his son. But in the end, the fans were glad that he was killed off by John in the final battle of the film.
14 Santino D’Antonio
Santino D’Antonio, played by Riccardo Scamarcio, is a John Wick character who was made to hate. Not only does he force John’s hand with the ‘marker’ John owes him to kill his own sister, but then tries to double-cross and kill him to tie up the loose ends. The crime boss made John kill his older sister, who was a member of the High Table, to take her place, and after his lackeys failed to kill the Baba Yaga, he put a bounty on his head.
Appearing in the second movie, Santino was a very well-written villain who was truly despicable in his ways, which made the audience rejoice when John finally killed him. His death, however, happened within Continental grounds, and John was excommunicated from the assassin world for the violation. Even in his death, he created a mess for John that he would spend the rest of the two movies cleaning up.
John Wick: Chapter 4 introduced a lot of intriguing characters, one with the most potential was Akira. Shimazu Koji and his daughter Akira were the manager and concierge of the Osaka Continental and also friends of John Wick. When John takes refuge in the hotel in the film, he is chased by Marquis’ right-hand man, Chidi, and the blind assassin Caine, who brings numerous assassins and unleashes hell upon the hotel grounds. Both Akira and Shimazu prove to be excellent fighters, even though the latter is killed off by Caine.
Akira is a well-trained and lethal assassin, and we see her again in the post-credit scene of the film where Caine goes to meet his daughter finally, but sees a vengeful Akira with knives, there to exact revenge for her father’s death. We do not know if the plot will be further explored in a future installment, but we are excited to see more of this deadly and graceful assassin on screen.
12 Marquis Vincent De Gramont
The main villain of the fourth John Wick film, De Gramont was played by Bill Skarsgard, who made the character wonderfully despicable and loathsome. Marquis De Gramont is a Camorra crime boss and a member of the High Table who is immensely threatened by John and decides to take action against him. Not only does he strip Winston of his duties as the manager of The Continental, but he also hires Caine, a blind retired assassin and an ex-member of the High Table, to kill John.
When Caine refuses to move against John, who is a friend, he threatens him by saying he’ll kill his daughter. He also makes Caine take his place in the duel where he needs to face John. The moment when John kills him is one of the greatest highlights of the film. The character of Gramont made the last film, and he is one of the best-written villains in the franchise.
As a massive fan of John Wick, Zero just beams with delight and excitement that he gets to fight with his role model. This excitement is infectious as Zero’s overconfidence and giddiness makes all of his fight scenes that much more exciting. Played by Mark Dacascos, a very talented martial artist who gives it his all in this role. He showed audiences his ferociousness and skill as a martial artist, and as a deadly assassin in the world of John Wick.
In addition to Zero being an incredibly deadly assassin, he also comes with an army of deadly and efficient Shinobi. The Shinobi prove to be deadly, at least before John defeats them all with their weapons. When facing off against “The Baba Yaga”, Zero gleefully fanboys over John Wick, showing off to his role model, ultimately leading to his death.
Aurelio is a character who hasn’t had a lot of screen time in the franchise, with his brief appearance in the first movie and his cameo in the second. But with John Leguizamo starring in the role, we cannot help but get excited every time we see Aurelio pop up in the franchise. Aurelio is a mechanic in the John Wick universe, part of the assassin underworld, and a close friend to John Wick. He’s fixed up John’s car many times.
John Leguizamo effortlessly makes Aurelio an incredibly cool character, and although he isn’t an assassin, his friendship with John and status within the mechanic empire make Aurelio stand out among a cast of skilled assassins. Aurelio appeared in the first two John Wick movies, but we have not seen him since. Certainly, if John Wick 5 does happen, hopefully, Aurelio will return.
Cassian is a deadly assassin and old friend to John, who has since sworn to protect Gianna D’Antonio, sister to Santino D’Antonio. Until John is hired to assassinate Gianna, which pitted the old friends against one another in two brilliant fight scenes. Common brings his all and sells us how efficient Cassian is as an assassin. Showing brutal choreography and a savage fighting style, Cassian is one of the few assassins to actually prove a challenge and a worthy opponent to John Wick. The last time we saw Cassian, John plunged a knife into his chest. However, he wasn’t dead, and we hope we might see him again in the future.
Willam Dafoe is always a delight to watch on screen, whether an over-the-top comic book villain or a lighthouse keeper who loses his mind. Here is no different; Marcus is a little more grounded character than Dafoe’s usual work, but it is no less entertaining. Marcus prefers to use a sniper rifle, which he is very skilled at, making his character stand out from most assassins in the John Wick universe.
Marcus, an assassin and friend of John Wick, is hired by Viggo to kill John before he can kill Viggo’s son. However, with Marcus’ connection and friendship with John, Marcus helps John on his revenge spree, which unfortunately leads to Marcus’ devastating death. Despite only being in one film, Dafoe left an impact, and fans were certainly disappointed a young version of Marcus did not appear in The Continental.
7 Mr. Nobody
Mr. Nobody or The Tracker is one of those characters whom you see and immediately want to know more of their baclstory. Played by Shamier Anderson, Mr Nobody appears to be a bounty hunter who waits for the bounty on someone’s head to reach its highest point before killing them. That is why he does not engage with John Wick the first time he comes across him but helps him escape instead, because he thinks the bounty on John’s head could be greater.
Later, when John saves his dog’s life, he decides to become John’s ally instead and proves to be a great assassin who kills a lot of his enemies, including Chidi, Marquis’ right-hand man, who was proving to be a recurring problem. Mr. Nobody was one of the most intriguing characters of John Wick: Chapter 4, and people especially loved his devotion to his dog. We hope to see more of this character in future films.
Sofia was written specifically for Halle Berry, as she asked the producers to be in the movie before the script was even written, and Berry did not disappoint. Halle Berry delivered believable physicality, executing the beautiful choreography and gracefully dispatching her enemies with countless headshots. But most impressive of all, we finally see some dog action in a series so heavily centered around man’s best friend, as Sofia’s two dogs wreak havoc upon their enemies.
Sofia, who owed John a favor as he saved her daughter and put her in a safe house, was one of the deadliest allies who ever fought alongside him. She proved that she is one of the most unique assassins in the John Wick universe in one of the best action scenes in the franchise. Sofia unfortunately did not appear in the fourth John Wick, but Halle Berry said she is reportedly set to star in a spin-off series.
5 The Bowery King
There are numerous moments in the John Wick movies that will make your jaw drop and have you screaming in excitement, and one of them is the introduction of the Bowery King. Mostly because it’s a brilliant reunion of Keanu Reeves and Lawrence Fishburne after the time spent together in The Matrix movies. But the Bowery King is also an interesting and intriguing character, which is elevated by Fishburne’s over-the-top and spectacular performance in the role.
The Bowery King is the king of another assassin underground, which uses homeless people and pigeons to gain information on pretty much everything. John Wick already has a compelling assassin underground, but the world only expands and deepens when the Bowery King and his empire is introduced. In John Wick: Chapter 4, he is one of the most trusted allies of John and Winston, and it is a treat to see the characters interact with each other on screen.
A concierge, a talented gunman, and a reliable dog sitter, Charon is one of the sweetest and also deadly characters in the John Wick universe. Charon serves as the trusty concierge at the New York Continental Hotel, serving John’s every need, so much so that he even offers to look after John’s dog, which only makes us love his character that much more. All this before he demonstrates his gun efficiency when the Continental he swore to protect comes under attack.
Lance Reddick brings an undeniable suaveness, kindness, and comedic timing to the role to make Charon one of the best characters in the franchise. Unfortunately, in the fourth installment, Charon is killed by Gramont, and we see a heartbroken Winston mourning his loss at his grave. Charon’s background is also explored in the spinoff series The Continental where Ayomide Adegun plays the role of a young Charon. While Riddick passed away shortly before the release of John Wick: Chapter 4, he did film his scenes for the spin-off film, Ballerina, which will mark his last time as the character.
Ian McShane brings a cool and effortless style to the role, so much so that we couldn’t see anyone else as the hotel manager of the New York Continental. Winston is one of the many characters John has an alliance and a friendship with, and ever since his first appearance, audiences have been captivated by him. McShane is responsible for many awesome moments and, more specifically, the best speeches throughout the course of the franchise, which helped elevate his character and made him instantly iconic. Even though Winston isn’t an assassin, nor have we yet seen him in action, he is a great character.
The manager of the New York Continental (a safe haven for assassins) has proved a great friend to John and has helped him on many occasions. So much so that John helped defend his kingdom from the High Table, up until Winston shot John. In John Wick: Chapter 4, he helped John get out of the control of the High Table and proved to be an ally to him up until the very end. His character was ambiguous enough to fool people about his real motives, but we are glad that he was on John’s side. Audiences got to understand more of Winston’s story with the release of The Continental, which saw Colin Woodell play a younger version of the character and his journey to taking over the New York Continental.
Even though he is technically an antagonist, the character of Caine is so well-rounded that it’s hard not to give him such a high ranking. One of the most fearsome opponents John has ever faced, Caine, used to be a friend of John before Chapter 4. But in the latest film, Marquis forces the retired High Table assassin to pursue John to save the daughter of his life. As a blind assassin, Caine appears to have an uncanny, almost supernatural ability for following sounds that resulted in his unmatched combative skills.
He is a man of virtue that you cannot help but respect, as till the end, he tried to help his friend, although his hand was being forced by a powerful man. In the post-credit scene, we see him once again in Paris, reconnecting with his daughter when Akira appears wielding knives. It will be interesting to see what the films decide to do with their story.
1 John Wick
The titular character of the franchise is the man, myth, and legend himself, John Wick. Not only is he the greatest character in the movies, but he is also the best and coolest assassins in the action genre. Touted as the Baba Yaga for his ruthlessness and skills, John has been proving since the first movie why he deserves such a fearsome nickname. Keanu Reeves is exceptional as John Wick, performing all the action himself, making Reeves the real-life John Wick.
John Wick is one of the most lethal assassins of all time, delivering countless headshots and efficient kills while reloading and killing three guys in a bar with a pencil. Sporting a black suit and ready to shoot goons in the head, John is the most feared assassin in the franchise. Through his name alone, he strikes fear through even the toughest of assassins. To others, yes, he is more than just feared, but to us, John is a likable and somewhat relatable character with a tragic backstory before exacting his deadly revenge.