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Donnie Yen has joined the cast of 'John Wick 4'

Donnie Yen in 'xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.'
(Image credit: Paramount)

Hugely exciting news out of the John Wick franchise today! Donnie Yen (Ip Man, Rouge One, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage) will be joining the much anticipated sequel. According to Deadline, "Yen will play an old friend of Reeves’ super assassin John Wick, who shares his same history and many of the same enemies." The announcement of Yen's casting follows the news that Japanese-British pop superstar Rina Sawayama would be taking on a lead role in the project.

Director Chad Stahelski and Producer Basil Iwanyk provided comment on the casting decision. “We are very lucky to have Donnie Yen join the franchise,” said Stahelski. “I am looking forward to working with him in this exciting new role.”

“Donnie Yen will bring a vibrant and powerful energy to the franchise," Iwanyk added. "We were determined to bring him on board to John Wick 4 and are thrilled for the opportunity to have such a major talent to collaborate with Keanu.”

John Wick 4 begins production later this summer in France. Later franchise projects will confirm The Continental a prequel series following a young Winston in 1970s New York prior to Wick's involvement with the organization of assassins. Ian McShane will not be playing his role for obvious reasons. Kevin Beggs, chairman of Lionsgate TV, spoke to deadline about the spinoff back in April.

“What we’re exploring in The Continental is the young Winston and how it came to be that he and his team of confederates found their way into this hotel which we have met for the first time in the movie franchise 40 years later,” Beggs said. “That’s the arena. I won’t give away more than that, but Starz really leaned into this take also, and they have been great collaborators. And how we’ve approached this first season is as three essentially 90-minute events, which you could construe as a limited series or a limited event series.”