If Hiroyuki Sanada isn’t a household name, he certainly should be at this point. He’s been in so many big movies and big TV shows that he’s basically a one-man franchise, and if he stays at the pace he’s been holding for the past few years, he could someday threaten Samuel L. Jackson’s title as the highest-grossing actor in Hollywood. Sanada played rich guy Bly Tanaka in Army Of The Dead, he played Scorpion in Mortal Kombat, he played robot samurai Musashi in Westworld, he played Akihiko (the yakuza boss who gets killed by Ronin/Hawkeye) in Avengers: Endgame, he played Shingen in The Wolverine, Dogen on Lost, Oishi in 47 Ronin, Mr. Musha in Speed Racer, Kaneda in Sunshine, Ujio in The Last Samurai, he’ll be in Brad Pitt’s Bullet Train, and also he had recurring roles on shows like The Last Ship and Extant. And that’s not even counting the decades of big roles in Japanese movies like The Twilight Samurai and Ringu! We’re saying the man fucking works, and when he works he usually plays characters who tear shit up.
Now, he’s going to continue to tear shit up in John Wick: Chapter 4, appearing alongside Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgård, Rina Sawayama, Laurence Fishburne, and his 47 Ronin co-star Keanu Reeves. That comes from Deadline, which says Sanada has signed on to the fourth John Wick movie in “an undisclosed role.” However, internet rumors have suggested that he’ll be playing “Mr. Watanabe,” who was teased by Laurence Fishburne last week as “the heart and soul” of the movie, and longtime guests at The Continental might even recall that Sanada was originally cast the villain in John Wick: Chapter 3 back in 2018. It sounds like that version of the film would’ve been totally different, though, with John Wick: Chapter 2's Common and Ruby Rose reportedly set to reprise their roles, so he’s not necessarily going to play the same person who he would’ve played in that movie, but he is well-suited to play someone who gets on John Wick’s bad side.
John Wick: Chapter 4 is starting production soon and will be released in May of next year.