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Performing Arts History & Criticism

The Worlds of <i>John Wick</i>

The Year's Work at the Continental Hotel

edited by Caitlin G. Watt & Stephen Watt

contributions by Lisa Coulthard, Lindsay Steenberg, Lauren Steimer, Wayne Wong, Skip Willman, Aaron Jaffe, Edward P. Dallis-Comentale, Mary Nestor, Andrew Battaglia, Marleen Newman, Charles M. Tung, Mi Jeong Lee, Karalyn Kendall-Morwick, Owen R. Horton & Vivian Nun Halloran

Indiana University Press
Initial publish date
May 2022
History & Criticism, Popular Culture, Action & Adventure
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2022
    List Price

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Each John Wick film has earned more money and recognition than its predecessor, defying the conventional wisdom about the box office's action movie landscape, normally dominated by superhero movies and science fiction epics.

As The Worlds of John Wick explores, the worldbuilding of John Wick offers thrills that you simply can't find anywhere else. The franchise's plot combines familiar elements of the revenge thriller and crime film with seamlessly coordinated action. One of its most distinctive appeals, however, is the detailed and multifaceted fictional world—or rather, worlds—it constructs. The contributors to this volume consider everything from fight sequences, action aesthetics, and stunts to grief, cinematic space and time, and gender performance to map these worlds and explore how their range and depth make John Wick a hit.

A deep dive into this popular neo-noir franchise, The Worlds of John Wick celebrates and complicates the cult phenomenon that is John Wick.

About the authors

Contributor Notes


Caitlin G. Watt's work, which focuses on gender and sexuality and narrative theories of character in medieval romances, has appeared in Neophilologus, Erasmus Studies, Medieval Feminist Forum, and Postmedieval. Her current project examines the development of the Arthurian storyworld in medieval manuscripts. Watt is Lecturer in the Department of English at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina.

Stephen Watt's most recent books include Bernard Shaw's Fiction, Material Psychology and Affect: Shaw, Freud, Simmel and "Something Dreadful and Grand": American Literature and the Irish-Jewish Unconscious. In addition, he coedited Ian Fleming and James Bond: The Cultural Politics of 007. Most of his published writing treats one of three topics: Irish Studies; drama, film, and performance studies; or the contemporary university. Watt is Provost Professor Emeritus of English and former Associate Dean of the School of Art, Architecture + Design at Indiana University, Bloomington.

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Other titles by Vivian Nun Halloran