As far back as 2008, Hollywood has been trying to kickstart the Highlander franchise. Now it looks like it’s finally going to happen, with a new report stating that Henry Cavill (Man of Steel, The Witcher) is in talks for “one of the lead roles” in a new version to be directed by Chad Stahelski, the stuntman-turned-director behind the John Wick movies.
Deadline reports that Cavill, most recently seen in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, may end up starring in a planned relaunch of the fantasy adventure films that began in 1986 with a movie starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery. Neal H. Moritz (The Fast and The Furious), Josh Davis, and Stahelski’s former directing partner David Leitch (Deadpool 2, Hobbs & Shaw) are producing the new movie, with Amanda Lewis, Patrick Wachsberger, and Gregory Widen on board as executive producers.
Here’s a trailer for the first movie, which shows off its soundtrack by the inimitable rock band Queen:
The original Highlander, which memorably featured the tagline and catchphrase “There Can Only Be One,” focused on a warrior named Connor MacLeod (Lambert) who is resurrected and discovers that he is essentially immortal. He studies under Connery’s character, a fellow immortal, and learns about the “Quickening,” a power that connects a select group of people to nature and allows them to survive forever – unless they’re beheaded. The immortals who are scattered across the world fight each other to the death in an attempt to steal the others’ power, which can only be accomplished by beheading their opponents. That sounds pretty grim, but I recall the movie itself being surprisingly goofy – the kind of film that fully embraces its ridiculous premise. That earnest approach earned the movie a cult following, and the Highlander franchise grew to a surprising degree before it ended, encompassing four theatrical movies, one made-for-TV film, an anime movie, three TV shows, comics, and multiple original novels.
Cavill obviously has the build of an immortal warrior, and while he wouldn’t be my first choice for this movie, I suppose he might be able to lean into the absurdity of this story and embrace the cheesiness at its center. It’s unclear if he’s going to be playing Connor MacLeod or if he’ll be a new character introduced in this universe.
Stahelski was hired to direct this movie all the way back in 2016, and previous failed iterations involved people like the writers of Iron Man, Fast & Furious director Justin Lin, the writer of Twilight, 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Ryan Reynolds, the effects supervisor of Snow White and the Huntsman, and Dave Bautista. We’ll see if this version actually makes its way to the starting block.
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