In 2014, the world was introduced to one of the latest action heroes in cinema. Quickly rising up the ranks of legends such as James Bond, Jason Bourne, and John McClane is John Wick. No matter which chapter you enjoy watching, you’ll quickly discover that Wick is an absolute force not to be messed with, delivering impressive moves and demonstrating mastery of his weapons. This has led many to wonder what deeper secrets lie within the lore of the character, including speculation that Wick is a U.S. Marine. His “fortuna fortis adiuvat” tattoo has sparked debate about his fictional ties to one of the world’s most respected military branches.
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What Does Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Mean?
The “fortis fortuna adiuvat” meaning comes from its Latin origins which translates to “fortune favors the bold.” However, it may also translate to “fortune favors the brave.” The saying “fortuna fortis adiuvat” is used in various circles including the military as an expression of courage and good luck when facing an upcoming challenge.
These discrepancies in translation have brought on conspiracies about the background of John Wick. This is because Wick has a tattoo on his back reading “fortes fortuna juvat.” This is a known motto used by the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines.
This translation does mean “fortune favors the bold” but surely, it’s just semantics, isn’t it? There remains a lot of speculation about not only the correct translation but the other factors surrounding Wick’s lore, yet the tattoo remains the focal point of discussion.
Fortune Favors the Bold vs. Fortune Favors the Brave
A Latin proverb from a Roman playwright named Publius Terentius Afer, or Terence for short, continues to influence the acting world thousands of years later. His play Phormio is where we first see the phrase.
Adding to the controversy is a Roman poet named Virgil who translated “fortuna fortis adiuvat” as “audentis fortuna iuvat.” This would change things from “bold” to “brave.” Language being as it is, both phrases remained.
Today, we continue to examine both sayings. Not simply as quotes or sources of inspiration, but to determine whether or not John Wick is a Marine. Perhaps the new movie, John Wick: Chapter 4 which hit theaters on March 24 and is now streaming on VOD services, gives more information. Right now, everyone seems to only be adding to the speculation rather than clarifying the canon.
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Was John Wick a Marine? Fortuna Fortis Adiuvat and Part 4 Fuels Theories
Fans of John Wick are in luck as Keanu Reeves just hit the big screen again as his iconic character for the new instillation in the saga. The legendary assassin isn’t quite done, and neither are the theories fueling the idea that Wick is a Veteran of the U.S. Marines.
Stars of the series, including Reeves himself, Willem Dafoe, and even the film’s director Chad Stahelski, have made reference that Wick was trained in the military. It doesn’t take much to see in the fights he has overcome that this is not a farfetched idea.
When you throw in the various language skills, real-life training Reeves did with Navy SEAL Shawn Ryan to prepare, and again, the tattoo, it’s impossible to say for sure. It’s possible that eagle-eyed fans of Chapter 4 may provide more background and finally solve this long-speculated mystery.
Whether or not the fortuna fortis adiuvat is a mistranslation or direct tie waiting to be discovered, Wick is back for another round of high-flying action.
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