Like one of its titular immortal characters, the Highlander franchise has lived many lives over the last several decades. It's been a film series, a TV series, even an animated series. However, we haven't heard much from the Highlander franchise since the ill-fated Highlander: The Source, the second feature film based on the TV series, failed to connect with audiences. However, the attempts to reboot Highlander from scratch began almost immediately after that film flopped. And, now the Highlander reboot looks like it may actually happen with Henry Cavill.
The attempt to reboot Highlander began back in 2008, and now, over a decade later, it looks like the movie might finally happen, now that Henry Cavill has officially signed on to star in the new film. Considering that Cavill wasn't the household name he is today back when this all started, it shows just how far things have come. Here's a look back the long road for the Highlander reboot and everything fans went through to get here.
Fast and Furious' Justin Lin Was Originally Set To Direct
After announcing back in 2008 that a reboot of Highlander was in the planning stages, it was revealed in the fall of 2009 that Justin Lin, then coming off the success of the fourth Fast & Furious movie, had been hired to direct. A couple of years later however, when Lin was even bigger following the smash success of Fast Five, he revealed he would not direct the movie, but would stay on as a producer (though he does not appear to be anymore). The hunt then began for a new director.
Highlander Found A New Director In A Zombie Franchise
With Justin Lin now on board as a producer, things actually seemed like they might be moving quite quickly. Only about a month after Lin announced he would not direct the reboot, 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo was confirmed to be helming the film. However, it seems that Fresnadillo and Summit entertainment, the company that owns the Highlander license, ultimately didn't see eye to eye on film, and about a year after signing on, Fresnadillo left the project.
Ryan Reynolds Was Originally Set To Star
In between director number two entering and leaving the picture, however, the Highlander reboot did at least have somebody they were looking at to play the lead. In May of 2012 the word was that Ryan Reynolds was on board to play the film's hero. This was post-Green Lantern but pre-Deadpool Ryan Reynolds, so he may have been looking for a franchise to call his own. However, like the director, this wouldn't last, as just over a year later Reynolds left the project.
Director Number Three Directed Chris Hemsworth Instead
After two directors walked away from the Highlander reboot, and there was no longer any star, the movie tried to start over with an entirely new director. Cedric Nicolas-Troyan had never directed a film himself before. His biggest gig prior to Highlander had been as the second unit director on Snow White and the Huntsman. He signed on in 2013, five years into this whole thing. It's not even entirely clear when he left, but it was likely prior to 2016, as that's when Nicolas-Troyan directed the The Huntsman: Winter's War instead
Tom Cruise Was Approached For A Role, And Could Maybe Still Appear?
Producers were looking for cast at the same time they were looking for directors and it has to be said the Highlander reboot wasn't afraid to aim high. In 2014 it was confirmed that Tom Cruise had been approached, not to play the movie's hero, but rather to play the role of the Highlander's mentor, the same role played by Sean Connery in the original film. Nothing ever came of this one way or the other, and there wasn't even a final script at the time, so if Cruise was even a little interested, it's at least possible this could be revisited.
Dave Bautista Was Going To Play The Villain, And Maybe Still Could?
Following on the news that Tom Cruise was being courted for Highlander, came news in early 2015 that the film had found its villain in Dave Bautista. Bautista certainly fit the mold of The Kurgan, the villain played by Clancy Brown in the original film, so the idea had merit. The casting was never officially confirmed, and this was over five years ago, so even if Bautista was on board then, there's no guarantee he still is. But, as with the Tom Cruise report, there's always the possibility this could still happen.
Highlander Found Its Final(?) Director In The John Wick Franchise
After the game of musical chairs that was finding a director up to this point, things finally seemed to settle down in 2016 when yet another director came on board. This was Chad Stahelski, one of the co-directors of the original John Wick, who has remained as the director of all the subsequent sequels. The good news here is that, while it's been five years since Stahelski sighed on, he's still on board, which implies he's in for the long haul.
The Writers Of Twilight and Iron Man Tried To Pen The Script
As with directors and stars, Highlander went through a variety of writers as well as trying to find the right story for the film. Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, who wrote the original Iron Man, penned the original draft of the script. Cormac and Marianne Sellek Wibberley, who wrote the National Treasure movies also did some work on it. At one point, Melissa Rosenberg, who wrote the screenplays for the Twilight movies was also involved. What appears to be the working script however, was written by Rampage writer Ryan Condal in 2018. Alex Cross writer Kerry Williamson is also credited.
Finally, The Movie Found Its Highlander In Henry Cavill
The word that a script was done three years ago is basically the last thing we heard about the Highlander reboot until a couple of weeks ago when it was reported, and eventually confirmed, that Henry Cavill, Superman himself, had signed to play the lead. While this certainly doesn't mean the movie is set to go into production anytime soon, and until cameras role anything is possible, especially these days, it is the best sign to date that after more than a decade a new Highlander movie may actually happen.
At this point the biggest hurdles to the Highlander reboot may no longer be the movie itself, but rather that director Chad Stahelski has a couple of John Wick movies he's supposed to direct very soon. If the Highlander movie can wait a little while, however, this project may prove that it is, in fact, immortal and worthy of the name Highlander.