Ask even the most stalwart fan of Highlander about the progression of a new feature film – a proposed reboot of the core concept and characters – and they’ll likely give you a sigh and knowing look that echoes the fact that the film sequels were a series of ever-decreasing circles, that the triumphant tv series has been in reruns for twenty years and that the movement of the new film has been so painfully built on rumour and lack of movement that they doubt it would ever happen.However, there’s now some genuine, if virtual, movement on the reboot reported through industry site Deadline. Due to be directed by John Wick‘s Chad Stahelski and feature Superman star Henry Cavill, it appears that Lionsgate is actively moving the production forward and is intending to launch interest in sales of the film at the key industry marketing event, the AFM (American Film Market) confirming that they hope to start filming the feature sometime in 2024. The sales aspect comes at a time when the industry is still reeling from the recently-settled WGA strike (Writers’ Guild of America) and with the SAG (Screen Actors’ Guild) still continuing their action in search of a resolution. While this means that many films and shows have been overtly -affected, it also means that studios are looking ahead to what they can be getting ready in the meantime. Cavill and Stahelski’s involvement and their intention to make the film has been known for several years, so the AFM move falls into a strategic move hammocked between known players wanting to progress a project and the fact that it wouldn’t be possible to begin shooting immediately even if the production was ready to go… but can start the necessary, pragmatic aligning of resources.
Stahelski is a well-known fan of the Highlander franchise – in which select human beings through the centuries are revealed as Immortals who, after their first human ‘death’ can only be killed by decapitation and are left fighting down through the ages until their numbers dwindle in combat and only one is left who will get ‘the Prize’ – and has indicated in past interviews that he would ideally like to weave in elements of the original film that starred Christopher Lambert (as Connor MacLeod), Sean Connery (as Ramirez) and Clancy Brown (as the Kurgan) with later elements introduced in the television series (such as, possibly, fellow clansman Duncan MacLeod – originally essayed by Adrian Paul, perhaps Methos, originally Peter Wingfield… and the idea of the Watchers, a group that warily observes the Immortals but tries never to interfere).
The producers onboard for the reboot are Stahelski (thru his 87Eleven Entertainment production company), Joshua Davis (son of Peter S. Davis), Fast and The Furious producer Neal H. Moritz, and Louise Rosner with the most recently-known version of the script penned by Mike Finch. Further rumours suggest that the proposed film is looking for a solid budget of over the $100million mark and with the studio seeing it as an eventual tentpole release.