The shower scene from the first episode of John Wick, starring Keanu Reeves, was the film’s defining sequence. After an unfortunate occurrence, the anti-hero takes his time to shower quietly, suit up, and prepare for the fan-favorite gunfights.
While the image represented the quiet before the storm, the audience got a glimpse of the assassin’s incredible ink job on his back. Wick’s modest and soft-spoken persona had been on display up until that time, but the tattoos and their significance spoke volumes about Wick’s shattered past.
‘Fortune Favors The Bold’
The “Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat” tattoo on John Wick’s back was the first tattoo the gun-fu aficionados saw. “Fortune favors the daring,” says the shoulder-to-shoulder inscription, which are apt words for the world’s deadliest assassin.
The language is a small variation of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines motto, according to Screenrant. Their rendition is titled “Fortes Fortuna Juvat,” but the meaning is the same. On that topic, some have hypothesized that Wick’s skill with firearms stemmed in part from his military experience.
Others say his back tattoo meant “Fortuna arrives to save only the strong.” Fortuna was a Roman goddess of fortune and good fortune who served as a guide for chance and fate. As a result, it was speculated that Wick was a Pagan. The Pagan idea is refuted by the presence of two hands folded in prayer before a cross directly beneath the Latin scripture.
John Wick was a dissident
The assassin elite has a howling wolf tattoo on his back. The hostile inmates in Russian jails are usually shown as a snarling wolf, tiger, or leopard. Wick might have received the tattoo “oskal,” Russian for “a huge grin,” from a variety of sites.
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Wick most certainly ended up in a Russian prison at some point because of his colorful life. If not, he could have been tattooed for insubordination in his early years by the Ruska Roma, the criminal organization that reared Wick.
Another option is that he was tattooed by the Russian mob while working for them; it’s possible that everyone’s favorite dog-loving assassin was a rebel at one time or another.
He also has a crucifix on his arm and a face in flames on his back, in addition to these tattoos. Reeves, however, has never gotten tattooed in real life, contrary to popular belief.