Winston & Charon's Origins Before The John Wick Movies Explained


Winston & Charon’s Origins Before The John Wick Movies Explained

The John Wick prequel series The Continental is about Winston taking over the titular hotel, and episode 1 reveals his and Charon’s origins.


  • The Continental: From the World of John Wick is a prequel series that explores the origins of Winston and Charon, shedding light on their relationship in the John Wick movies.
  • Charon originally worked for the show’s villain, Cormac, in the 1970s, but his loyalty seems to shift when he witnesses Winston standing up to Cormac.
  • Before becoming the manager of The Continental, Winston was a conman in London, using his cunning and manipulation to scam the wealthy elite. He returned to New York to protect his brother and avenge his death.



The Continental: From the World of John Wick is a prequel to the John Wick movies, and the series reveals Winston and Charon’s origins. The new series, which consists of three 90-minute episodes, is set 40 years before the first John Wick film, as The Continental takes place in the 1970s and follows Winston as he becomes the iconic hotel’s manager. In the John Wick film franchise, Winston (Ian McShane) is the hotel manager and Charon (Lance Reddick) is the hotel’s concierge and Winston’s closest confidant. One of the most endearing parts of the John Wick franchise is Winston and Charon’s relationship, which became more prominent with each consecutive release.

Where John Wick: Chapter 2 simply saw Charon looking after John’s dog, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum saw him working closer with Winston and protecting the fort from the Adjudicator. John Wick: Chapter 4 saw Charon get killed by Marquis Vincent Bisset de Gramont because the Marquis knew Charon’s death would have the biggest impact on Winston. The Continental cast features Colin Woodell and Ayomide Adegun as younger versions of Winston and Charon, respectively. While the three-episode show mostly follows Winston’s relationship with his estranged brother, Frankie (Ben Robson), and how he takes over The Continental, the series finally reveals Winston and Charon’s very different origins.

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The Continental Reveals How Winston & Charon First Met

At the beginning of The Continental episode 1, Winston is kidnapped and brought to the titular hotel to speak with the current manager, Cormac (Mel Gibson). When Winston enters Cormac’s overly elegant office, Charon is standing by the manager’s side. It’s established that Charon is working for Cormac and follows his orders. Charon stays quiet during this meeting, and it isn’t until he is ordered to walk Winston to the elevator that they share their first conversation. They share a couple of smiles too, and Charon seems immediately impressed by Winston’s manner and the way he isn’t intimidated by Cormac, but this conversation is kept brief.

Charon Originally Worked For The Continental’s Villain Cormac

Charon standing by the elevator in The Continental

Charon is introduced in The Continental before his interaction with Winston, as Cormac reveals his relationship with the concierge. Cormac notes that the John Wick character is a teenager in The Continental, likely 18 or 19. Cormac explains that Charon is the closest thing the manager has to family, which is interestingly similar to Charon and Winston’s relationship in the movies. Just like how Charon is loyal to Winston in the 2010s, he is loyal to Cormac in the 1970s. However, based on Charon’s positive reaction to Winston talking back to Cormac, the concierge’s loyalty to Cormac is seemingly waning.

Cormac is a much different hotel manager than Winston, as he isn’t respectful of the hotel’s rules and cares more about the power that comes with being the manager of The Continental. It isn’t clear how Charon became a trusted employee of such a powerful, villainous man at such a young age, but series director Albert Hughes gave some background and commented on Charon’s The Continental backstory. The filmmaker noted, “You have this more naive, young teenage Charon who just wants a better life and who’s under the influence of a psychotic sociopath, Mel Gibson’s character, Cormac.

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Winston’s Job Before Becoming The Continental Manager Explained

Colin Woodell standing in front of a wall of guns in The Continental: From the World of John Wick

Before Winston was the manager of The Continental, he wasn’t even in New York, as he was living a very bourgeois life in London. He managed to live such a lifestyle by scamming those with elite wealth. The beginning of The Continental sees Winston in a lavish restaurant trying to convince the wealthy Mr. Davenport to invest in car parks that don’t actually exist. Winston convinces Davenport to invest by telling him that Tony Defries, The Who and David Bowie’s business manager, has also agreed to invest and pretends to have the music industry mogul on the phone. Cormac also convinces Davenport’s wife to help with the con.

While few would have predicted that the classy ascot-wearing Winston seen in the John Wick movies was a conman in his early days, the career is perfectly in keeping with Winston’s character. He’d always been conniving and treated his meetings with characters working for The High Table as a chess game. The character outsmarted the Adjudicator in John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, and he totally played the Marquis by getting his hotel back and getting the Marquis killed in John Wick: Chapter 4. The Continental shows Winston playing characters like they’re pieces on a chess board and benefiting from it, just like he did in the John Wick movies.

Winston Returned To The Criminal Underworld To Protect & Avenge His Brother

Frankie looking over the edge of a building before his death in The Continental episode 1

Winston didn’t decide to return to New York in The Continental, but he was kidnapped and taken to the city after Frankie stole the coin press in The Continental episode 1. The reason why Frankie stole the press isn’t clear, but given that it can create the John Wick universe currency, the missing press could potentially create chaos. As a result, Cormac is on the hunt for Frankie and hires assassins to kill him. However, with Winston back in New York, even though he and Frankie have a fraught relationship — Frankie didn’t even tell his wife about his sibling — they’re still brothers, and Winston will do anything to protect him.

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During Winston and Cormac’s meeting, Winston tells the hotel manager that he doesn’t know where Frankie is and that he doesn’t care, but only one of those remarks is true. After Winston leaves The Continental, he immediately sets out to find where Frankie is hiding. Despite their differences and not having seen each other in years, Winston still protects Frankie and works with him to evade Cormac’s men. After Gretal (Marina Mazepa) kills Frankie in The Continental episode 1 ending, Winston vows to get revenge for the death, as he proclaims in the final line of the episode that he needs “guns, lots of guns.”

Winston Has Been Connected To The Continental Since He Was A Child

Young Winston and Frankie getting arrested in The Continental episode 1

Before taking place in the 1970s, The Continental opens with an even earlier scene of Winston and Frankie in custody. Winston looks like a child and Frankie is in his early teens, meaning that the flashback could be set in the 1950s. What happened between that scene and the 1970s isn’t clear, but the show hints at Cormac having a hand in raising the brothers and Winston somehow already being connected to The Continental. Based on Winston’s immediate uneasiness when reuniting with Cormac, the hotel manager obviously did something dreadful when Winston was a child, teasing that Winston was linked to the titular hotel way before he became manager.

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