Lionsgate’s long-in-the-works Highlander reboot has gained a new lease on life with a new director. According to The Hollywood Reporter, John Wick co-director Chad Stahelski has been tapped to helm the movie about a bunch of immortals getting into epic duels (and beheading one another with swords) in a quest for the ultimate "Prize."
Which is really, really cool, considering the fact that the other half of the John Wick directing duo, David Leitch, has just landed the Deadpool 2 directing gig. Also, I’m thinking the Highlander motto should be changed from “There can be only one” to “Never give up, never surrender!” from Galaxy Quest. But I digress.
The movie has been in the works since 2008, when Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment acquired the rights. Various directors have been attached to the project over the years, including Justin Lin, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and Cedric Nicolas-Troyan. Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) was at one point tapped to star in the iconic role of Connor MacLeod (a role originally played by French actor Christopher Lambert in the 1986 movie) before the actor ultimately dropped out in the wake of Fresnadillo's departure.
In 2014, the studio was said to be looking at Tom Cruise to play the role of the immortal Scottish warrior’s mentor, Ramirez (originally played by Sean Connery), but nothing ever came of it. The following year, in early 2015, Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista was all set to play the role of the Kurgan (played by Clancy Brown in the movie) when Nicolas-Troyan was still attached.
With Chad Stahelski now sitting in the director’s chair and injecting new blood into the project, it feels like Highlander is back on track, and as a huge fan of the original movie (not so much the horrible sequels) and the TV series starring Adrian Paul as Connor MacLeod’s kinsman, Duncan MacLeod, this news is making me super excited for the reboot, and it sounds like it's in good hands. Here’s what Stahelski told THR:
“I've been a huge fan of the original property since I saw it in high school. Such great themes of immortality, love, and identity are all wrapped up in such colorful mythology. I can't think of a better property that gives the opportunity to create interesting characters, mythic themes and action set pieces.”
With Stahelski locked and loaded (pun intended) as director, THR also reports that a search for new writers will soon kick off, and I'm crossing my fingers and toes they'll get someone who really understands the franchise. What do you guys think about Chad Stahelski coming on board the Highlander reboot as the new director?