Lionsgate Taps ‘John Wick’ Director For ‘Highlander’ Reboot

By November 22, 2016
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John Wick Chapter 2 will hit theaters in February, but it’s up-and-coming director may have already lined up his next project.

Chad Stahelski is tapping into his teenage nostalgia, committing to resurrecting Lionsgate’s Highlander once and for all, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“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 was created by Gregory Widen, later known for his work writing films like 1991’s Backdraft as well as 1995’s The Prophecy with Christoper Walken and Amanda Plummer.

His 1986 film, however, was not exactly a huge box office success. It starred Christopher Lambert, Roxanne Hart and Sean Connery, but managed just $5.9 million domestically, just enough to crack the top 100 films of that year.

Yet, it was the international box office that propelled Highlander, earning $7 million, and ranking it sixth for the year, according to The Numbers.

Americans also found interest and love for Connor MacLeod’s adventures through home video, becoming an early hit in the VHS market. That was enough to convince producers to try again, releasing Highlander II: The Quickening in 1991, which not only was a bomb with critics, but a bomb at the box office as well.

Yet why give up? Lambert’s version of Highlander continued in Highlander III: The Sorcerer or whichever of the several names you want to pick. And once again, it embarrassed critics and moviegoers.

highlanderpaul-inset112216During that time, however, Rysher Entertainment began producing a television series starring Adrian Paul that aired in first-run syndication. Unlike the films, the television series was a success, lasting six seasons and 119 episodes.

Stahelski’s version is expected to ignore everything that has been established in the past and give us a new story on the 16th century-born immortal Connor MacLeod.

Lionsgate has been working on this reboot since 2008, bringing in a number of directors over that time, according to THR. They included Justin Lin, who has since worked on the Fast and the Furious franchise, as well as this past year’s Star Trek: Beyond.

Stahelski is still a long way from filming, however. Lionsgate will need to find a writer or two to get a script together, and then casting will be key. While Lambert continues to act, including a role in next year’s Kickboxer: Retaliation, it is likely Stahelski will look for a younger actor to take on the immortal Scotsman.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael has spent more than 18 years of his way-long journalism career in entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based in New York City.