The John Wick franchise has become one of the most popular action franchises in recent years. With a great story and an inspired Keanu Reeves, the (current) trilogy has captivated the hearts of fans around the world, fans who are eagerly awaiting the next two instalments in the series. And while John Wick is relatively straightforward compared to some other recent works, there are still some concepts that need explanation and that is why we, at Fiction Horizon, are here. Have you ever wondered what “excommunicado” means? Keep reading to find out!
In John Wick, “excommunicado” is a state when a former Continental member breaches the rules of the organization and loses all of their rights. This means that he is not protected by the Continental and can be killed without consequences.
In today’s article, you’re going to find out what “excommunicado” exactly means within the John Wick universe and how it manifests. Also, you’re going to find out how the titular protagonist is connected to the phrase and whether he has been labeled as such in the movies. Enjoy!
What does “excommunicado” mean in John Wick?
In order to fully understand what “excommunicado” means, we have to tell you about the Continental hotel chain. They’re a luxurious resort that offers… nah, who are we kidding, you don’t care about the suites and the room service. You want to know how it all ties into the narrative. Well, the hotel chain is actually a sanctuary for members of the criminal underworld, as there is a firm agreement that no “business” is to be conducted on the hotel premises.
So, if you’re a hitman on the run, all you need to do is find a Continental hotel and you’re safe, as long as you can afford to stay there. The rules are quite firm and breaking them means risking the “excommunicado” status.
So, what is the “excommunicado” status exactly? It is a very specific status assigned to those hitmen who breach one of the firmest rules in the universe – “no business” on the premises of the Continental hotels. The implications of the status are many and one would certainly not want to have it assigned to them. Why? Well, the “excommunicado” status means that a hitman loses all forms of protection and that he becomes a target for other hitmen.
It essentially means “open season” for every other hitman to chase and execute the one with the “excommunicado” status. Anyone can do it and there are absolutely no repercussions, since killing that person is somewhat of an obligation and not something punishable.
In addition to this, a member with this status loses all privileges of being a member of the Continental and loses absolutely all access to the hotels anywhere in the world.
What does “excommunicado” mean for John Wick?
The scene we included above shows the moment when Winston rendered John Wick “excommunicado”. It was a difficult moment for Winston, as he had great respect for John Wick, but he was obliged to do it, as John Wick had broken the rules. Contrary to usual practice, Winston gave John Wick – probably due to the immense respect he had for him – an hour to prepare for the “excommunicado”, giving him enough time to do what was needed.
Being skilled, John Wick told Winston to tell everyone that he would be prepared and that he would kill them all if they came after him. Basically, the “excommunicado” status meant that John Wick had to run and hide, as he had become a living target for every hitman in the world, which wasn’t – as you might assume – all too pleasant.
Why did John Wick get “excommunicado”?
Well, in John Wick 2, John Wick goes after Santino D’Antonio to get his revenge. Being the disgusting coward he was, D’Antonio fled to the Continental, where John could not hurt him. John followed him there and eventually approached him in the hotel’s lounge with a gun. Winston tried to calm him down and advised him to walk away, while Santino continued to mock him. Not being able to take it anymore, John Wick turned around and shot Santino in the head, there, in the lounge. Of the Continental hotel. In front of witnesses.
This was it for John. There was nothing Winston could have done, as Wick had not only broken one of the firmest rules, he had also done it in front of witnesses. Winston’s hands were tied, despite his respect and sympathies for John Wick. He had to render him “excommunicado” and that is exactly what he did, as seen in the first linked scene.
Was John Wick killed?
Since he got rendered “excommunicado”, wondering whether John Wick was killed is a pretty valid concern. The third movie chronicles his future adventures, and here is a short synopsis that chronicles these events:
John Wick is on the run for two reasons: he is being hunted by all the killers in the world thanks to a $ 14 million global contract for his head, and for breaking a central rule: taking a life inside the Hotel Continental. The victim was Santino D’Antonio, an Italian crime lord recently appointed a member of the High Summit, who also created the contract. John should have been executed by now, however, Winston, the manager of the Continental Hotel in New York and his close friend, gave him an hour’s lead before declaring him “excommunicado.” Wick’s association with all Continental hotels on the planet will be canceled, as well as any other member services that John may request. The legendary killer will then use the time he has left to stay alive while fighting to escape New York.
For more details on the movie, check out our guide to the John Wick movie series. Since Keanu Reeves is starring in the fourth and fifth chapters of the series, we still have more adventures of Wick’s to look forward to.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!