In our current Great Age of the Reboot, the 1986 cult classic Highlander seems like a no-brainer. The film’s sequels and spinoff TV series have not exactly stood the test of time, but the original is one of the great sci-fi/fantasy yarns of the era. Combining larger-than-life performances and swordplay with a fascinating universe, Highlander feels overdue for a revamp.
The long-gestating reboot found new life in 2016 when John Wick co-director Chad Stahelski climbed aboard in 2016, bringing plans for a trilogy and ambitious intentions to delve deeper into the world of the Immortals than we’ve previously seen. Stahelski previously promised to keep some of the more dubious elements forced on the reboot through years of Hollywood development – like alien origins for the Immortals – out of it, which is heartening for fans who might be craving a grounded, John Wick-style feel to the action.
One aspect of Stahelski’s vision sure to please Highlander‘s base following – the block that is crucial to how the reboot will be perceived – is his intention to bring back the franchise’s key original main character, Connor MacLeod… in some form, at least.
And I know that you’re doing something with Highlander. Any word on that, and are the MacLeods involved?
Chad Stahelski: Yes, Connor MacLeod will make a comeback. Right now we’re in creative development, which means, when I was brought onboard there was an idea, I brought a different idea, so we’re trying to flesh that out and find the right creative team to put pen to paper and make this come true.
The first question any fan will have is whether or not Christopher Lambert will reprise the role… and just how they plan to bring the character back, since he died at the end of 2000’s Highlander: Endgame. Will he be recast and the franchise’s continuity – established over the course of the films, television series and comic book series – ignored? This seems likely and probably for the best, even if some other recent 1980s reboots have not fared as well taking this route (Ghostbusters stands out).
Given how effortlessly John Wick introduced a fully fleshed-out universe, Highlander fans may find that this update is in the right hands. While it does sound like the project has yet to take full shape, specifically naming Connor MacLeod as a returning character feels like a move in the right direction.
Stay tuned for more information on Highlander as it becomes available.