Director Chad Stahelski has had his hands full for the past five years or so overseeing the John Wick franchise, whose latest entry, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, is released Friday. But the filmmaker has simultaneously been developing a new version of Highlander, the 1986 action-fantasy movie which starred Christopher Lambert as an immortal Scottish warrior. Stahelski had initially discussed the possibility of turning the property in a film trilogy and later talked about maybe bringing the Highlander mythology to the small screen. When EW recently visited Stahelski in the John Wick 3 editing suite, the director gave an update on the project.
“Still working on the development of that,” said Stahelski. “Highlander is such a massive property. Luckily, the studio (Lionsgate) is really behind me in this. I truly believe this is one of those properties that could actually sustain a good universe, meaning a TV show or something. And to go out there, and just haphazardly throw together what we think would be a quick sword fighting-immortal movie, I think would be a mistake. And honestly, the people behind this, the studio behind this, they’re dying for this to go. If anything, I’m the one holding it back, and trying to creatively lay out everything. We just don’t want to paint ourselves into a corner creatively, like happened with the original.”
Stahelski was referring to 1991’s Highlander II: The Quickening, in which it is revealed that Lambert’s character is actually an alien. While the franchise would birth more films and several TV shows, both live-action and animated, Highlander II has developed a reputation for being among the most misguided sequels of all-time.
“We’re trying to really lay out this universe and not f— it up to the point where you cannot continue this story,” said Stahelski. “We love it so much, we’re trying to treat it with a lot of care.”
Does Stahelski know who he would have star in a new Highlander? “I have my wish list, yeah,” he said.
Watch the trailer for the original Highlander above.
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