“There Can Be Only One” may be the famous catchphrase of the Highlander franchise, but it hasn’t carried over to Lionsgate’s big screen reboot of the 1980s-born fantasy/action series. Directors Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond), Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) and Cedric Nicolas-Troyan (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) have all been set to helm the project at different points in time, before they eventually stepped down. The same goes for such prospective Highlander reboot cast members as Ryan Reynolds and Dave Bautista, among others.
Nicolas-Troyan indicated earlier this year that he was still onboard to direct the Highlander reboot, but we can now confirm that is no longer the case. The project is instead being overseen by longtime stunt expert (and second unit director)-turned filmmaker, Chad Stahelski, who is starting with a clean slate on the reboot.
Stahelski made a bigger name for himself in 2014 by co-directing the cult action movie hit John Wick with his longtime collaborator, David Leitch. While Leitch then went on to solo direct the upcoming Cold War-era thriller The Coldest City, Stahelski served as the sole helmsman on next year’s sequel, John Wick: Chapter Two. Things continue to look up for the duo too, now that Leitch is set to direct Deadpool 2 next and Stahelski is lined up for the Highlander film reboot.
THR received the following exclusive statement from Stahelski, regarding his involvement with Highlander:
“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.”
The original Highlander movie was released in 1986 and stars Christopher Lambert as Connor MacLeod/Russell Edwin Nash, a member of the Highlanders: a group of semi-immortal warriors who can only be killed by decapitation and battle one another over the centuries in order to gain more power, until there is only one Highlander left to collect the legendary “prize”. Highlander spawned multiple film sequels and a TV spinoff during the 1990s (titled Highlander: The Series), so it’s easy to see why Lionsgate would remains invested in resurrecting this particular franchise after so many starts and stops, given its multi-platform potential.
Stahelski, who also recently served as a second unit director on Captain America: Civil War, is certainly an intriguing pick to direct the Highlander reboot – one whose involvement all-but guarantees that the film will have top-notch action and fight sequences, if nothing else. THR is reporting that the search is now underway for a new pair of screenwriters to put together a fresh script draft for the movie. Hopefully then, whoever is hired to write the reboot will be able to work with Stahelski and ensure that the film offers an interesting new twist on the Highlander mythology, to go along with its (John Wick-style?) hard-hitting combat sequences/set pieces.
We’ll bring you more information on the Highlander reboot as it becomes available.