John Wick co-director Chad Stahelski is the latest director who has been attached to the Highlander remake, which has been in and out of development for over a decade. During a recent interview with Collider, Stahelski talked about the film and explained why the movie is taking so long to get into production and that there’s just so much material to work with. They are taking the best story elements from across the franchise and implementing it all into one story that will be spread out across a trilogy of films:
“I think the TV series hit on a lot of great stuff wasn’t in the feature, between the watchers and all the different types of immortals. How do we get this into a feature mode before we dribble it into the TV world? Well, let’s restructure it in parts, let’s look at it like it was a TV show, let’s look at it like it was a high-end trilogy. How to we tell the story of The Gathering, The Quickenings, The Immortals and how do we really build this world out even more so than the original project? That’s what we’re restructuring right now. It’s taking all the good stuff that we had before I was involved in the project from the script; redeveloping the script to give us really good chapters one, two and three; and expanding the world.”
This is the first time we’ve heard that the studio is looking to develop a whole trilogy for the film franchise reboot. He goes on to talk about their vision for this project, explaining:
“The vision we’re trying to get across and what we’re trying to develop, I equate very close to Star Wars. The first one is a very satisfying ending but it does leave the door open and that’s kind of how I see this. I would really like to expand it over three. I see The Gathering happening over three. It’s tricky, don’t get me wrong, that’s why we’re still developing it. We want to be able to tell three complete stories that all kind of fit. I think the Star Wars trilogy, at least up to The Empire Strikes Back, is a good example of how we want to process it.”
I thought it was amusing that he made a point of letting us know that he’s not a big fan of Return of the Jedi. I hope that Stahelski will get to realize his full vision of the story because as you know, if the first film fails, they won’t get to make the other two chapters. The director goes on to talk about the tone of the film and reveals one element from the ’80s film that he can’t see the remake without:
“The tone of the first one just hit at that weird music video edge in the 80s that had Queen and for some reason, Queen just fits. I don’t think you can do Highlander and bring about that kind of tone again with the mythological world and take it too seriously. Just as we did with Wick, you can’t kill 80 people over a puppy and take yourself seriously. We got to let the audience know that we’re having fun and that there is a world here.
“Point being I can’t see Highlander without Queen, without the queen center, without having Freddy Mercury, ‘Prince of the Universe,’ and all this stuff. I can’t picture the movie in my head without it.”
I love what Stahelski did with John Wick and I hope that he can bring that kind of badassery to Highlander. It’s good to know that he and his team are taking their time developing the film to make sure it will be something that the fans will enjoy. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see what his vision of Highlander turns out to be.