In Hollywood, the catchphrase from the first Highlander, “There can be only one,” would never fly. Russel Mulcahy’s popular 1986 cult film – about immortal warrior Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) competing for the power of all other immortals – spawned four sequels (two via television), as well as two live-action TV shows, and an animated series. The first Highlander launched the career of its star, Christopher Lambert, before the film franchise faded into the annals of cult film annals in 2007.
Director Cedrick Nicolas-Troyan (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) was most recently attached to reboot the hot-potato project, with rumors that Dave Bautista (who recently joined the cast of Blade Runner 2) would play the Immortal, Kurgan. However, since then, there’s been no word on the film’s progress - until now.
Nicolas-Troyan recently spoke with Slash Film about the Highlander reboot. The project is apparently still moving forward - and although he doesn’t delve into the details, the director, who’s been working on the project since 2013, says there will be a few surprises in the updated script:
“As far as I know… I’ve been working on this movie for quite a while. I’m still involved in it, very much so. In fact, I just talked about it yesterday with Lionsgate. You know, there are going to be some surprises there, for sure. I’m going to say that it’s very close to the original story, but there will be surprises. The characters you love in the first movie are back. There are definitely some changes, for sure.”
After the poorly received SyFy Channel anime film (2007), a franchise reboot has been in the works since at least 2008. At one point, Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) and directors Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6) and Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) were on board the remake. The studio even sought Tom Cruise to reprise Sean Connery’s Ramirez mentor-character. At this point, aside from Nicolas-Troyan, and the screenwriter who penned older script drafts for the project - including Melissa Rosenberg (Jessica Jones), Matt Holloway, and Art Marcum (Iron Man) - no actors have been cast.
With Hollywood gnashing at the bit for more cash-cow shared-cinematic-universe franchises, Highlander probably seems like a viable addition to the running. Although the franchise as a whole has a poor critical reputation, it already has a fan base and a preexisting shared universe of sorts. A reboot could meddle with the tenuous mythology behind the series, since the poorly regarded sequel, Highlander 2: The Quickening, already damaged continuity by bringing a ridiculous sci-fi element into the equation.
Since the Nicolas-Troyan claims the reboot will keep most of the same characters and some similar story elements, he and the writers would be wise to stay remotely close to the original film and TV show's mythos. However, franchises with a number of weaker entries like Highlander can benefit from fresh ideas and serious reimagining. The right script and angle stands a real chance at reviving the franchise.
We’ll bring you more information on Highlander when we have it.
Source: Slash Film