"There can be only one!"
Now that John Wick: Chapter 2 is out in theaters, director Chad Stahelski can begin focusing all of his attention on helming the Highlander reboot for Lionsgate — which the studio has been trying to get off the ground since 2008. And it appears as though they've found the right person to take on this challenge.
Ever since Stahelski saw the 1986 cult classic, starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery, for the first time in high school, he embraced its colorful mythology and themes of immortality, love, and identity. So with his reboot, which he hopes will be the first of a trilogy, Stahelski wants to make the property fresh again without stepping on the original.
"Right now, I’m very interested in doing the Highlander property," Stahelski told EW. "It’s scarily similar to John Wick. There’s a great mythology, it’s got an action-design challenge. What would a guy really be like after 500 years of practicing sword-work? I’m still a stunt guy at heart. You want to reinvent gunfights, how do you do it? You want to reinvent swordfighting, how do you do it? And that’s where we are at now. I love the first Highlander and I think I’m in a pretty good spot."
While he doesn't want to step on the original, Stahelski has no interest in making the same mistakes that the four poorly-received sequels — Highlander II: The Quickening, Highlander III: The Sorcerer, Highlander: Endgame, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance and Highlander: The Source — made, such as having the Immortals be aliens from the planet Zeist.
"When I came on, the property had already been developed for a couple of years and, as things happen in Hollywood, yeah, there was aliens, meteors, spaceships, uh, DNA mutations, terrorists," he shared. "I mean, they’d tried to drag every plot into the Immortal world. My personal opinion, I don’t want to see any of that. I’m not interested. I have seen other movies like that. I haven’t seen the Immortal world."
One major and welcomed change from the original will be the inclusion of more Immortals. "What, you met four Immortals on the first movie? I think I can introduce you to an entire world of Immortals," he offered. "Imagine the great characters you could have. I mean, it speaks for itself. So, that’s the plan: to stay as true as we can to the original mythology, and just expand the world, and have fun within the world — without bringing in interstellar travel!"
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John Wick: Chapter 2 is directed by Chad Stahelski and written by Derek Kolstad. The film stars Keanu Reeves, Common, Laurence Fishburne, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, John Leguizamo, and Ian McShane. It's now playing at your local theater!