‘Highlander’ Reboot: Everything We Know About Henry Cavill’s Upcoming Fantasy film

There have been talks of a reboot of the 1986 movie Highlander for quite some time. The project has been in development for years in the hopes that it could be revived.

And it looks like it’s finally happening with John Wick director Chad Stahelski at the helm and Henry Cavill in front of the camera. The movie is set to begin filming this fall in the United Kingdom, and details are already starting to surface.

Here’s everything we know so far about the upcoming Highlander reboot.

The History of the Highlander Reboot

Fans of the original 1986 Highlander film and its franchise have long anticipated a remake of the movie. Plans to remake Highlander have been confirmed since 2008, when Summit Entertainment first bought the rights. The original plan had Justin Lin directing with the title Highlander: Reckoning. However, in 2011, Lin stepped down from the project and was replaced by 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, who eventually withdrew as well.

In 2016, John Wick director Chad Stahelski was confirmed to be part of the Highlander reboot. The reboot would be Stahelski’s first movie outside the John Wick franchise. Michael Finch, who wrote the script for John Wick 4, also wrote the script for the upcoming Highlander reboot. Highlander would also be another franchise that Stahelski is tasked with overseeing alongside John Wick.

“I am pleased to be able to grow my relationship with Lionsgate in this new oversight role for the John Wick universe and its further expansion,” said the filmmaker in a statement in 2023. “John Wick is so close to my heart and to be able to continue shepherding it will be a blast for me. I’m so happy to also be launching another franchise with Highlander, a world that is so rich with engaging stories to be told.”

The original film began the Highlander franchise that expanded to sequels, a live-action television series, and an animated feature. It’s from the movie that the famous line “there can only be one” came from. The movies also boasted a lineup of actors, including Christopher Lambert, Clancy Brown, and Sean Connery.

Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in ‘The Witcher’ / Photo Credit: Netflix

The Highlander Cast: Who Will Star

So far, only Henry Cavill is confirmed to star in the Highlander reboot. Cavill has been part of the project since 2021. After starring in The Witcher series as Geralt, Cavill will likely be playing Connor MacLeod. Not long after the studio revealed the release window for the reboot, Cavill confirmed that he started to train for his character.

“It’ll be a very long training process, and I’m very excited to get into it,” said Cavill, who is no stranger to having to transform physically for his roles.

Cavill also shared in the Happy, Sad, Confused podcast that he’s watched the Highlander films and the series.

“Obviously, I watched it when I was a lot younger and have since rewatched it. But also the TV show. I really enjoyed the lore behind it. That sense of a tragic warrior, with more of a story to tell than just a cool guy with a cool sword doing cool things. And this goes even deeper into that,” said Cavill.

But even if Cavill is the only one confirmed, Stahelski revealed that the film will use many of the same characters from the original. This would make it easy for fans to speculate on which characters will reintroduce themselves on the big screen. The main antagonist of the Highlander movie is the barbarian Kurgan, who Clancy Brown portrayed in the original movie.

Vinnie Jones and the late actor Ray Stevenson were rumored to be considered for the part. Dave Bautista was also an early contender to play the character.

Production notes have also field rumors that Michael Fassbender’s name has been mentioned for the role of a Mongol Warrior. However, nothing has been confirmed.

The Storyline

As for what the Highlander reboot will be about, fans can return to the original films’ premise. The original film centers on a Celtic warrior who was part of an ancient race of immortals battling each other over the centuries until one is left. The titular hero, Connor MacLeod, battled Iman Fasil with a sword following one of his matches as he’s a wrestler in the modern day.

Connor’s backstory revealed that he’s been around for centuries as an immortal being. When Juan Sanchez-Villalobos Ramirez reaches out to him, he warns that “there can only be one” immortal as their community needed balance.

Photo Credit: Loredana Sangiuliano

What to Expect

In an update, Stahelski said the reboot would combine elements from the 1986 movie and the television series to bring a new story. The new story is set to become the start of a new Highlander franchise.

“We’re trying to do a bit of a prequel, a setup to The Gathering, so we have room to grow the property, “said the filmmaker.

Back in 2020, Stahelski talked about the upcoming reboot with The Hollywood Reporter.

“It’s just a tough nut to crack because the Highlander property is so involved and the mythology is so deep. But to try and make it our own, and be somewhat true to the original, yet do it in a way that makes it ours, is a little tricky. We don’t want to do a remake, we don’t want to do a reinvention. We want something that’s fresh, that utilizes the mythology of what everyone loves from the first movie,” said Stahelski.

Cavill also hinted at what fans of the Highlander franchise can expect from the reboot.

“I’m not going to answer that just yet,” Cavill told Comicbook.com. “There’s a lot of work to be done yet on my part. It’s going to be a serious ride, I’ll tell you that much.”

Highlander Reboot Release Date Planned for 2026

While there’s no exact release date yet for the Highlander reboot, there is a confirmed release window. During a company investor call, Lionsgate Chair Joe Darke said the studio is looking to a 2026 premiere. Production is already expected to start in the fall of 2024 in the United Kingdom.

In a 2023 interview with Collider, Stahelski revealed when the Highlander reboot plans to start filming.

“We do not have a date yet, but let’s say within a year. Soon. Soon as I can. I’ve been developing two shows side by side: Ghost of Tsushima and Highlander,” the filmmaker said.

“Those are the ones that I love. I have a couple of other ones that I really love. I have Rainbow Six and a few other things. But they’re still in development in the script phases. I’ve been trying to do Highlander now for eight years. I’d really love to do it. All the tumblers seem to be in play and if everything goes well, we get finished with this strike, and our schedules all work out, it looks very, very probable,” said Stahelski.

If production sticks to its fall 2024 schedule, then it’ll be on track for a 2026 release. Fans can rewatch the original Highlander movie on Prime Video and Peacock.

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