There can be only one. And in the hearts of fans, acting like the sequels never happened, there is only the original Highlander.
That hasn’t stopped Hollywood from pushing a reboot as they have for over a decade. The director attached, John Wick’s Chad Stahelski, told Discussing Film he still hopes to make it and is working on it.
Stahelski said the film is in “heavy development” even now during the shutdown:
“We’re in heavy development mode on Highlander. Tweaking the scripts, writing, conceptualizing sequences, how we’re going to do everything. We probably have a lot more in-person kind of things, but it hasn’t slowed down our development process at all.”
Highlander has been in some form of development since at least 2016 under Stahelski.
In 2018, he explained to Entertainment Weekly how gung ho he is about making it. “I still very much want to go in and do Highlander,” he said.
He also remarked around that time to Collider the rating doesn’t really matter as long as he does with swords what he did with guns in Wick:
“Ratings are second to what we’re going to do. Highlander, I think the action is — at least what’s in my head — is going to fall on a line, for sure. We want to design it what we think is aesthetically cool, and so far I’ve met no resistance, they’re like, ‘Look, whatever you did with John Wick with the gun stuff, we want you to try and do with the sword stuff. We want you to make something cool and something unique, and something that’s going to make audiences say ‘Wow, I haven’t seen that before.’”
One reason Stahelski stood by the project for so long is he’s been a huge fan since high school. Here is what he said to THR when he landed the job:
“I’ve been a huge fan of the original property since I saw it in high school. Such great themes of immortality, love, and identity are all wrapped up in such colorful mythology. I can’t think of a better property that gives the opportunity to create interesting characters, mythic themes, and action set pieces.”
Neal H. Moritz and Peter Davis will produce the reboot with Lionsgate and Original Film. According to IMDb, screenplay duties are being handled by Ryan J. Condal (Rampage) and Kerry Williamson (Alex Cross).
Directed by Russell Mulcahy (hot off his underrated and under-celebrated debut, the “Jaws on land” monster pig hunt opus, Razorback), 1986’s Highlander tells the story of Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert).
One of a dying race of immortals that includes his mentor Ramirez (Sean Connery), MacLeod must face his old enemy the Kurgan (Clancy Brown) to become the last. Winning comes with “the Prize” of knowledge and power. Lots of windows blow out too.
Several sequels, a TV spinoff, and some comics followed. Sean Connery returned for part 2, the Quickening, where it turned out Ramirez and MacLeod were aliens. A later installment was titled Endgame, years before Avengers or Marvel dominated the landscape, and starred wrestler/actor Adam “Edge” Copeland.
The Highlander remake was once slated tentatively for 2019. That year came and went with precious little swordplay between eternal warriors to show for it. If Chad Stahelski has his way, a trilogy may spawn from this to make up for the waiting.