The Highlander movie and the subsequent TV series (there were no movie sequels, their can be only one) all had a profound effect on my life. It was my first real exposure to the urban fantasy genre and it really inspired me. Later, of course, things like vampires, demons and wizards became all the rage but to me, they were nothing like the original Highlander, and the subsequent TV series. Now, I am not saying that a movie and TV change my life or anything. I am not that type of fanboy (although my friends would say I was) but I definitely inspired me for a long time. Between all the LARP characters and the fan-fiction I wrote, it was my thing for a while.
The news of a remake has been around for a while. But now it seems like it is happening. The guy in charge – the John Wick director Chad Stahelski – seems to be serious about it. He is fan of not only the movie but the series. Now, I realize that there are way too many failed remakes to count, way more than successful ones. Robocop comes to mind, as does Planet of the Apes, Total Recall and Godzilla (1998). I do think that directors tend to focus too much on bringing some new and original that they can call their own to the franchise, and not on telling a good story. Assuming that’s what Stahelski wants to do, I fear that this “something new” could really kill the concept. Highlander 2 anyone? You really have to appreciate the original concept before you decide to add something new.
Here is my thoughts on the direction of a new movie:
Explore the unexplored: After watching the original film again, I found a few aspects that were never explored in either the following sequels that should not have existed or the TV series. First and foremost was the scene with Connor and Ramírez on the beach where they spot the stag. He says something about tapping into the lifeforce of the animal and somehow feeling its heart beat. Then they go off running implying their are tapping the animal’s speed. In another scene later, in the New York Zoo, Connor and Brenda are standing in front of a cage holding two very agitated lions. Connor stares at them and they calm down. Why was this never explored?
This implies that the power of the Immortals – the Quickening – has the ability to tap all life on Earth. This is later expanded when Connor receives the Prize. Perhaps they through it out when they through out the whole end of the Highlander movie to allow for the series. Who knows? But it can be explored if done right.
Don’t kill Ramírez: I consider Ramírez as one of the greatest characters of all time in movies. Perhaps because it was played by Sean Connery. Casting for him is going to be very difficult. But if you get the right person, then don’t do what they did in the movie – kill him off way to early. Make him more integrated into the story. Perhaps make us think he’s dead, only to find out he is not and come in at the last minute to save Connor. At the same time, reveal something new about Immortality. What happens when an Immortal falls into a pool of lava? What happens to an immortal burned at the stake? (again, exploring the unexplored).
Altantis Connection: While poorly executed, the Highlander 2 director’s cut had a good idea. Here is an idea I came up with while in the shower (a shower thought?):
The origins of Immortality is explored over a trilogy while the Highlander runs from the Gathering. Perhaps a tri,logy that spans 3 major eras of the HighLander’s life – the 1500s, the early 1900s (WWI) and modern 2000s. During this time, he faces enemies and makes friends, and the Kurgan is a constant main bad guy. The Watchers are also introduced as he is drawn into an ancient series of clues that leads to the origins of the Immortals.
What it ends up leading to was the lost city of Altantis or something like that. This lost civilization was influence by ancient aliens, and had access to advanced technology. Perhaps this city’s population was made up of aliens and human. Experiment performed by humans or aliens cracked the genetic mystery of immortality and while working it into the gene pool of humans, the disaster that destroyed the lost civilization occurred, leaving only a handful of human survivors with that genetic trait. This was passed down generation after generation and started the Immortals.
Something about this genetic trait not only made them immortal, but also tapped nature and the power of life in general (the Quickening). It allows Immortals to absorb the lifeform of other immortals making them more and more powerful. How does this power manifest, outside of immortality? Other abilities? Perhaps that is too much of a change? They did introduce sorcery in one of the sequels, so perhaps that. Either way, I think the “power” needs to manifest in some subtle way. I am not sure I want to go full-on Jedi or anything but something interesting. Healers and creators? Destroyers and Corrupters? Light side and Dark Side? Yea, I know, it gets too much like the Force, but something like that.
Reveal that many great figures were actually Immortals. Merlin, Einstein, and other great or mythical figures. This was sort of hit upon in the series here and there, but it can explored more in a trilogy. Show that the Immortals have influenced our history on many levels- good and bad. Maybe Hitler’s closest friend was an Immortal and he’s still around. Our Stalin’s first girlfriend or football buddy. Perhaps Teddy Kennedy found out about the Immortals and a conspiracy was started to remove him from office. Just spit-balling.
The Watchers: The Watchers would be an incredible change to a movie. And perhaps too much of a change. I think to introduce them almost forces you to create a trilogy.
I know my ideas go pretty far out there, but it can’t be any worse than what was given to us. It is a little original while at the same time has a few nods to the old stuff. After watching the original movie with my kids, I just had all these thoughts in my head and decided to write them down.