In a time when reboots are more frequent than they are successful, it can be hard to get excited about the news of this franchise or that franchise making a return. However, there are a handful of properties that feel like they’re ripe for a return to pop culture prominence. One such title is the 1980’s cult classic, Highlander.
Although the sequels to Russell Mulcahy’s 1986 adventure failed to do their predecessor justice, the subsequent TV show proved that Highlander possesses enough lore and legend to give the franchise some serious legs. That potential has been recognized by Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment, who have been searching for a way to reboot the franchise for some time now. Towards the end of last year, the studios took a giant step closer to making a Highlander reboot a reality, signing John Wick director Chad Stahelski to helm the project.
If the fact that Stahelski was responsible for one of 2014’s best action flicks isn’t enough to convince you that he’s the right person to take on this mighty task, hearing his plans for the franchise’s future should do the trick. In a new interview with Collider, Stahelski reveals that work is well underway on formulating a new story to bring Highlander into the 21st century.
“We’re currently doing a bit of work on the overall plot structure,” said Stahelski. “When I came on board, they were trying to reinvent the single Highlander property. We’ve gone since back in and we would like to really expand the world, so we consider the same shortcomings don’t happen again that happened on the original project, meaning you have one great movie and four questionable followups. We want to develop a property that can give us — and again it’s not about marketing, it’s not so much about the financials, it’s about how can we make a more mythological, chapter one, chapter two, what’s a great way to tell this story?”
It’s a big relief to hear that Stahelski has managed to steer the story back to a more positive track. The cynic in me is concerned about the idea of formulating a multi-movie story, but that’s the way the industry thinks these days. Besides, if this reboot can be done properly, we’ll all be thankful for having multiple new entries into the franchise to look forward to.
Stahelski goes into great details about which properties are inspiring the reboot. Highlander fans will be delighted to hear that the TV show, and the lore explored within it, will play a major factor in this retelling. Oh, and a little-known franchise called Star Wars is Stahelski’s inspiration for the structure of what he hopes will become a new Highlander trilogy of movies. You certainly can’t accuse him of a lack of ambition.
“I think the TV series hit on a lot of great stuff that wasn’t in the feature, between the watchers and all the different types of immortals. How do we get this into a feature mode before we dribble it into the TV world? Well, let’s restructure it in parts, let’s look at it like it was a TV show, let’s look at it like it was a high-end trilogy. How to we tell the story of the gathering the quickenings, the immortals and how do we really build this world out even more so than the original project. That’s what we’re restructuring right now. It’s taking all the good stuff that we had before I was involved in the project from the script; redeveloping the script to give us really good chapters one, two and three; and expanding the world.
The vision we’re trying to get across and what we’re trying to develop, I equate very close to Star Wars. The first one has a very satisfying ending but it does leave the door open and that’s kind of how I see this. I would really like to expand it over three. I see the gathering happening over three. It’s tricky don’t get me wrong, that’s why we’re still developing it. We want to be able to tell three complete stories that all kind of fit. I think the Star Wars trilogy, at least up to The Empire Strikes Back, is a good example of how we want to process it.”
A Highlander reboot that will combine the franchise’s best elements from both the movies and TV show? Consider us excited.