Chad Stahelski talks about the challenge of a Highlander remake

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John Wick director Chad Stahelski has been chatting about the difficulty in adapting the cult movie Highlander for modern audiences.

Director Chad Stahelski is riding high with the release of John Wick: Chapter 4 in cinemas. The film has scored series-best reviews (here’s ours) and is performing very well commercially too. Both Stahelski and star Keanu Reeves have said that the mainline John Wick series will be taking a ‘rest’, although given how well this latest chapter is doing, we can already hear Lionsgate backing up the money truck to each man’s door. Still, should they stick to their guns, Stahelski has a full slate of projects to turn his attention to, including a long-gestating remake of the 1986 cult favourite, Highlander. 

Whilst it’s unlikely that Stahelski’s take on a world of secret immortals who do battle with blades is unlikely to be next on his list, the project does have a star attached in the form of Henry Cavill. What’s more, Stahelski has been chatting about one of the key challenges of tackling the property, that being respectful of the lore created by years of Highlander movies and TV shows.

“I’ve worked on Highlander for years now, for Henry Cavill,” Stahelski told Deadline (as part of a long and excellent interview that covers Wick, stuntwork and lots of other interesting topics). “Being retroactive is hard. What’s different between Wick and that? With Wick, you weren’t serving seven seasons of TV plus two spinoffs plus five films.”

Serving that much lore is tricky for Stahelski, who clearly enjoys world-building, as the successive development of mythology in each subsequent John Wick film has shown. “If I were to do a remake of Highlander right now,” he adds, “you’d expect a lot of mythology in those first two hours … Now, Highlander as a TV show now would be amazing. You’d have time to build it out, see all those flashbacks and the potential of it.”

Is that a hint that Highlander might be headed to the small screen? Perhaps the idea is still floating around at the moment, but we’d certainly agree with Stahelski’s perspective that the property might be better served in serial form. As he says, “it’s trickier when you’re trying to do something with that big of a mythology. But I agree, that would be one to take a really big stab at. Here, we just had the opportunity to really learn as we went on with Wick.”

We’d definitely recommend reading the interview which has all sorts of interesting nuggets, including an impassioned breakdown of why stuntwork should be an Oscars category. John Wick: Chapter 4 is in cinemas right now.

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