We’ve been patiently waiting for Lionsgate’s Highlander reboot film to finally get made and their is a new update from the project’s director. Collider was able to speak with John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum director Chad Stahelski in the edit bay and was able to update on his Highlander reboot, which could be his next project as he’s been developing it for years.
Chad talked about hoping to flush out the mythology of immortals before moving directly into “there can be only one” aspect of the franchise, which means that the last immortal wins the prize as they increase their powers with each kill of a fellow immortal via “the quickening”. The catch there is that if there is only one, there aren’t anymore immortals for the lead to fight anymore, a problem that plagued the film franchise for ages until the television franchise added new mythology and another Scottish Highlander named Duncan MacLeod (Connor and Duncan would eventually meet up in Highlander: Endgame).
“Still fighting the good fight. Highlander is an interesting property. It’s through Lionsgate as well and Neal Moritz. We’re trying to get it done. Anyone who knows anything about the property knows it has a lot of meat to it. It’s a good property. It’s got a lot of potential. We’re just trying to figure out the best way not to fuck it up. Not to try and fit it into a 1 hour, 45-minute movie, which, when your pitch is, ‘There can be only one,’ and in your first movie you kill everybody but the one, sequels have a problem of happening. So we’re trying to design in a way that gives us a little more lead in, a little more time with the mythology and see some of the best characters. They did seven seasons of TV, and even though the TV show may not hold up today, the idea of it and the characters they brought in were super cool. So we’re trying to devise a methodology that leads up to The Quickening. You just don’t end with a one-on-one battle in New York, cut off a guy’s head, and that’s it. We want to do this in such a way that it becomes more of a series whether it’s short form or long form that would let us explore that in the best way. I have a huge, heartfelt love and respect for the project, so we’re trying to find the best way to do it to give fans what they want.”
He also reveals the potential to move into Highlander to help accomplish the mythology, not unlike with other mythology-heavy franchises. It’s not terribly shocking with Chad getting ready to shoot his John Wick spin-off series The Continental, which will further explore the hotels in the universe and reveal more of that world of assassins. Chad Stahelski has always been a champion of combing the existing film and television stuff into one single narrative, so moving into television (whatever that looks like) makes a lot of sense from that standpoint.
“We’re well past the script phase in terms of what we want to accomplish with a feature-length version of what we want and based on there being more after that. We want to tell the complete story of The Quickening, the Immortals, and all that. But the overall environment is changing so much. Look what Netflix is doing with TV now. As an action designer myself, there are two or three episodes of Game of Thrones that blow away 90% of features. Netflix has a whole new delivery system with features on that coming off differently and letting filmmakers and directors expand out without being crushed by opening weekend box office. So there’s a couple different mediums we want to explore and what is the best way to bring this out in.”
If they’re pursing the mythology of the TV series (which lends itself to a franchise a little easier) we could see two-factions being explored The Immortals, who are looking to kill each other to increase their powers/longevity and the second group, the Watchers, who track/record the events of the immortals and are overseen by mortal humans.
Watchers were first introduced in the television series.
The Watchers is a secret society of mortal humans that observes the lives of the Immortals without revealing themselves. While the Watchers seem to have the resources to function independently, there are Watchers like Joe Dawson who run their own businesses to provide a cover as well as income. Each Immortal is assigned a Watcher whose sole job is to monitor and record daily activities. The network of Watchers generally keeps careful tabs on subjects and tracks even the casual movements of the Immortals. Most Immortals are unaware of the Watchers.
When filming will take place is unknown, but I previously reported at OmegaUnderground the studio was considering filming in Cape Town, South Africa.
Anyways, Chad’s next film John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is set to be released on May 17th and looks like another installment that will keep action fans on the edge of their seats.