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Top 10 Characters of John Wick

A List Of The Most Memorable Characters Of The First Three Films

The top ten characters of the John Wick franchise is a loaded phrase. Spanning a total of four movies, the John Wick franchise is filled to the brim with memorable characters that will stick with the audience long after the credits roll. Trying to narrow down the most notable characters of any single John Wick film is hard enough but across the first three films? The titular character alone deserves his own list, so how could the list get narrowed down to just ten characters? To make things fair, John Wick, unfortunately, won’t be included. 

The biggest question in readers’ minds right now is what does it take for a character to end up on this list? To keep things simple, the most integral quality is that each must stick with the viewer long after finishing the first viewing. Whether this be because their scenes were action-packed or they just left a strong impression on the viewer, negative or positive.

10. Iosef Tarasov (Alfie Allen)

Arguably one of the most important characters in the series, this character acts as a catalyst for everything that occurs within the first and by extension, the sequels that follow. This, however, is not the sole reason for his placement on the list. What makes this character stand out from the rest of Wick’s foes is the sense of hate the viewer is sure to feel for him. Even when forced to deal with the consequences of his actions, there is still no sense of remorse from him. Despite Wick coming across much more challenging and nasty foes, none are more deserving of hate than this one. At the very least the rest of Wick’s enemies can stand on their own whereas Iosef relies on his father’s men and resources. Despite trying something similar in the sequel with the new antagonist, this fails to achieve the same level of hate from the viewers.

9. Viggo Tarasov (Michael Nyqvist)

As the father of the previous entry who is also the most hated character in the franchise, it is ironic that this particular character is not as easy to hate. If the viewer is meant to feel hate for the son, then the father is meant to elicit pity from the viewers. Imagine raising a child under the best circumstances only for said child to lead to the destruction of your legacy and even your death. Unlike his son who seems to be ignorant for the majority of the film, Viggo immediately understands the gravity of the situation. From bartering to begging for his own life, Viggo will do anything in his power to stave off his inevitable fate. Unbelievably, Viggo also serves to make the viewer hate Iosef even more. After all, who isn’t afraid of disappointing their parents? Although this takes it to another level entirely.

8. Bowery King (Lawrence Fishburne)

Anyone familiar with Keanu Reeves’ past works, will immediately recognize this pauper. With an already established connection from working on The Matrix Franchise together, the reincarnated versions of Neo and Morpheus still retain an undeniable chemistry. Similar to his virtual counterpart, the Bowery King is the leader of an underground group. In this case, however, Fishburne’s character has little to no digital footprint. Instead, he enlists the help of pigeons, the rats of the sky. It can be difficult trying not to treat the Bowery King as some sort of reference to Morpheus if he were just a homeless man obsessed with conspiracies. Seeing Fishburn, who typically plays the mentor type in most of his roles, switch things up as a more aloof character is fun to see. His character takes cockiness to a new level as his name isn’t just for show as he delivers his lines with the swagger of a true king.

7. Ares (Ruby Rose)

Despite having no actual speaking lines, Ares remains a memorable character. Silent characters are always fun to watch in action films because of the adage, actions speak louder than words. Although she technically uses sign language, she certainly stands out amongst the rest. If this list were based on a coolness factor, she would undoubtedly be in first place. The director and writers knew what they were doing as a sense of hype could be felt from the first scene in which Ares and Wick meet. While these two have more than one fight scene together, it’s their final fight that makes the wait worth it. No overabundance of dialogue or cheesy one-liners, just action. This character serves as the right-hand woman for the antagonist of this film. Unfortunately for him, she easily overshadows him despite having less screen time and no actual voice lines. This in turn makes her even more memorable.

6. Winston (Ian McShane)

The manager and one of the few friendly faces in the franchise, this character certainly attracts intrigue. This particular character stands out as one of the oldest faces in the series which begs the question, how? After just the first two films, it should be clear how hazardous being involved in this line of work can be. How can one not only live to his age but also achieve such power? In John Wick 2, the viewer is taken to Europe where a similar institution exists with another figure in charge similar to Winston. How does one achieve such status? The third entry of the franchise establishes the inner workings of this institution which implies that the politics surrounding this underground organization make it harder to survive for very long. Any slight deviation from the rules can lead to the termination of such an individual. This shows a well-disguised ruthlessness unique to this character.

5. Cassian (Common)

If it were not for the fact that this character only appears in one film, this character could easily achieve a higher spot on the list. Similar to Ares, Cassian achieves a level of hype from the audience. From the moment he and Wick meet, there is an immediate tension in the air. While not immediately hostile towards one another, the viewers can predict the unavoidable conflict sure to ensue. The most intriguing part about this character is how he seems to reflect Wick from the previous film. Similar to Wick, Cassian is out for revenge and is on a ruthless hunt to achieve it. The scenes that these two share are ruthless and some of the highlights of the trilogy as a whole. Their chemistry as rivals is applaudable and impossible to imitate. Just like with the character Ares, the team does a fantastic job of hyping up this rivalry and every fight that ensues between them.

4. Zero (Mark Dacascos)

A truly ruthless killer, this character stands out from the rest for many reasons. Except for Wick himself, no other character can claim to have such a high body count under their belt. From the introduction of Zero to his run-in with Wick, he is responsible for so much death. Something else that sets this particular character apart from the rest is that he is one of the only ones out to kill Wick without any monetary gain in mind. Instead, he seems to be obsessed with Wick as a role model and is his biggest fan. Somehow, the idea of being killed by a fan is less appealing than by a greedy stranger. The end result of this fight is absolutely perfect for a final fight. The only thing to drag this character down from ranking higher is the hype leading up to this fight could have been handled a little better.


3. The Twins (Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman)

Since these two are in every scene together, they should naturally be included as one character, right? Serving under Zero as students, the Twins should seem familiar to any action movie aficionado. Both of these Indonesian actors have starred in the Indonesian film series, The Raid. Hailed by many as one of the best modern action movies, it’s easy to see how the John Wick franchise may have been inspired by the hyper-violence and meticulous choreography of The Raid series. Wick’s encounter with these two is phenomenal with its choreography and callbacks to the Raid. This is also a rare case where a lack of hype leading up to a fight was more beneficial. Seeing and recognizing these two come out of seemingly nowhere is such a pleasant surprise that’s hard to replicate. If there is just one scene for the viewer to take away from the franchise, this should undoubtedly be it.


2. Marcus (Willem Dafoe)

Ironically his least foe-ish role to date, Dafoe plays an old friend and acquaintance of Wick in the first film. While his allegiances may seem blurred at first, there is an unspeakable bromance between these two characters that is hard to deny. With Marcus saving Wick’s life on multiple occasions. One of Wick’s only true friends, Dafoe’s character could easily fit in as the protagonist himself. Every bit as cool and collected as the main character John Wick, it is fun to watch Marcus act as a guardian angel of sorts for Wick, a practical grim reaper. The character can best be described as the human embodiment of deus ex machina. What pushes this character to second place is what amounts to his final moments. Without spoiling the entire scene, Marcus goes out in typical badass behavior. It is a refreshing change of pace to see someone with no negative motives aimed toward the titular character.


1. Charon (Lance Riddick)

Regardless of how the other entries on this list may leave the reader feeling, the number one spot on this list should come as a surprise to absolutely no one. Brought to life by the late great Lance Riddick, the number one spot could only ever belong to him. While some might attribute this to Riddick’s shocking death only a few months ago, his character would be deserving of this placement regardless. This is largely due to his ability to steal whatever scene he is in. Similar to Winston, this character can capture the audience’s imagination. How could such a character exist in the same universe as Wick? The concierge at a hotel meant for assassins could stand unphased in front of the likes of John Wick without batting an eye. John Wick, a character who strikes fear in all who hear his name couldn’t scare a hotel concierge. If this list were to be considered a room full of badasses and degenerates, then Charon would be the only gentleman among them.

If this article ignited the urge to rewatch this franchise, films one through three can be watched on streaming services Amazon Prime and Freevee. For those who have already watched the newest entry in the series, feel free to read Dead Talk New’s Top Ten Characters Of John Wick 4.


John Wick 2014 Lionsgate Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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A lover of gore and over the top violence, no movie can make my stomach squirm. The only thing better than a bloody death scene is a well choreographed stunt. Whether it be action or horror, if it has blood in it, then I've likely already seen it.