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Derek Kolstad

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Derek Kolstad
Born (1974-04-04) April 4, 1974 (age 50)
  • Screenwriter
  • film producer
Years active1987[dubiousdiscuss]–present
Known forCreator of the John Wick franchise
StyleAction thriller films

Derek Kolstad (born April 4, 1974) is an American screenwriter and film producer. He is the creator of the John Wick franchise, which began in 2014. He continued to write for the first two sequels of the franchise and is mainly known as a screenwriter of action films and shows.



Originally from Madison, Wisconsin, Kolstad attended Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart and later studied business administration at Taylor University in Indiana. He moved to California at age 24 to pursue screenwriting. He says he started writing films when he was a teenager, but he struggled to find success in Hollywood at first.[1]



The first script he sold was called Acolyte, which was purchased by Voltage Pictures in June 2012. After that, he got some writing and re-writing work, including work on One in the Chamber, starring Dolph Lundgren and Cuba Gooding Jr. He then wrote The Package, which also starred Lundgren.

Kolstad sold a script titled Scorn to Thunder Road Pictures, which signed Keanu Reeves for the lead role in April 2013. At Reeves' suggestion, the film was renamed John Wick after the title character,[2] whom Kolstad had named after his maternal grandfather.[3] The film was released in 2014 and was followed by John Wick: Chapter 2 in 2017 and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum in 2019.[4] Kolstad wrote the video game John Wick: Chronicles and was involved with the creation of a comic book series.[5] However, he was not asked by the studio to continue writing for the fourth or subsequent films.[6]

In 2017, it was reported that Kolstad would write a live-action television adaptation of the Hitman franchise as well as an action-thriller titled The Steward.[7][8][9] In 2019, it was reported that Kolstad would write and produce a live-action film adaptation of the Just Cause franchise.[10] In 2020, Netflix announced that Kolstad would be an executive producer and writer on a Splinter Cell anime series.[11] In 2021, Kolstad was hired to write the screenplay for a live-action adaptation of Hellsing for Amazon Prime Video.[12]

Kolstad wrote the screenplay for the 2021 film Nobody starring Bob Odenkirk, and two episodes of the 2021 Marvel Studios television series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Personal life


Kolstad lives in Pasadena, California with his wife Sonja and twin children.[3]



Also credited as "characters created" in the John Wick franchise.

Film writer

Year Title Director Notes
2012 One in the Chamber William Kaufman
2013 The Package Jesse V. Johnson
2014 John Wick Chad Stahelski
David Leitch
2017 John Wick: Chapter 2 Chad Stahelski
2019 John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
2021 Nobody Ilya Naishuller Also executive producer


Year(s) Title Executive
Writer Notes
2020 Die Hart No Story Also creator[11]
2021 The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Co-executive Yes Episodes: "Power Broker" and "The Whole World Is Watching"[13]
2023 The Continental: From the World of John Wick Yes No


  1. ^ Doug Moe, Doug Moe: John Wick, hit man, Madison.com, January 6, 2014.
  2. ^ Giroux, Jack (February 10, 2017). "Interview: 'John Wick: Chapter 2' Screenwriter Derek Kolstad on Expanding the World and Paying Homage to 'Open Range'". /Film. Archived from the original on June 15, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Carlson, Julie (April 21, 2020). "How Pasadena Resident and John Wick Creator Derek Kolstad Achieved "Overnight" Success After 20 Years". Pasadena Magazine. No. March/April 2020. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  4. ^ Gary Collinson, An interview with Derek Kolstad, screenwriter of John Wick, Flickering Myth, October 24, 2014.
  5. ^ Kit, Borys (June 1, 2017). "'John Wick 3' Brings Back Writer Derek Kolstad (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 27, 2023.
  6. ^ Sharf, Zack (March 23, 2021). "'John Wick' Creator says Studio Making Next Sequels Without Him: 'It Wasn't My Decision'". IndieWire. Retrieved January 12, 2021.
  7. ^ Dave McNary, ‘John Wick’ Writer Derek Kolstad Sets up ‘The Steward’ With Cristal Pictures, Variety, June 19, 2017.
  8. ^ James White, Hitman Targets A TV Relaunch With John Wick's Derek Kolstad, Empire, November 13, 2017.
  9. ^ Borys Kit, 'John Wick 3' Brings Back Writer Derek Kolstad, Hollywood Reporter, June 1, 2017.
  10. ^ "'John Wick' Writer Derek Kolstad Tackling 'Just Cause' Video Game Adaptation". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "'Splinter Cell' Anime Series From 'John Wick' Writer Derek Kolstad Set at Netflix (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  12. ^ "Amazon Develops Live-Action Hellsing Film With John Wick Writer". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  13. ^ "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Production Brief" (PDF). Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 15, 2021. Retrieved March 15, 2021.