Chad Stahelski has directed all four John Wick movies, but his upcoming reboot of an old franchise could be an exciting change of direction for him.
- Chad Stahelski’s upcoming Highlander reboot has the potential to surpass the success of John Wick, thanks to his mastery of action directing and the ensemble of martial artists he brings together.
- Stahelski’s knack for assembling talented action stars in the John Wick franchise aligns perfectly with the premise of Highlander, where immortal warriors engage in sword battles.
- The John Wick universe’s intricate hierarchy and rules could serve as a template for a refreshed Highlander, allowing for a more complex and layered exploration of the culture of immortals. Stahelski’s versatility as a director would shine in this new world.
Chad Stahelski’s upcoming reboot of the Highlander franchise could be even better than John Wick: Chapter 5. After many years in the stunt world, Stahelski made his directorial debut alongside fellow stunt professional David Leitch on 2014’s action hit John Wick, with Stahelski solo-directing the next three movies in the series. Stahelski’s name has since been attached as director to numerous projects, with his Highlander reboot with Henry Cavill officially set to move forward.
Despite the seemingly definitive ending of John Wick: Chapter 4, John Wick: Chapter 5 has also entered development. However, while the John Wick franchise has elevated action movies practically single-handedly, the potential of what Stahelski could do with Highlander makes it sound like an even more exciting prospect. Moreover, much of that potential relates directly to Stahelski’s work in helming the John Wick franchise.
Chad Stahelski’s John Wick Formula Works Perfectly For Highlander
One of the best characteristics of the John Wick franchise is the ensemble of martial artists and action movie stars that it has accrued under Stahelski’s direction, to the point of the John Wick franchise besting the promise of The Expendables. Well-respected martial arts stars like Donnie Yen, Scott Adkins, Mark Dacascos, Marko Zaror, and many others have appeared throughout the John Wick franchise, and for far more than just brief, throwaway appearances as random henchmen. The John Wick franchise is one where the talents and physical skills of every action star on board are used to their fullest potential, which could very easily carry over into Stahelski’s Highlander reboot.
With the premise of Highlander predicated on immortal warriors clashing with swords and other weaponry, Stahelski’s predilection for bringing scores of martial artists into the John Wick movies is a no-brainer for his take on Highlander. Martial arts stars like those already seen in the John Wick franchise would be perfect for Highlander, with Stahelski also having a vast pool of martial arts stars not yet seen in the John Wick series to also bring aboard. Even better, Stahelski’s Highlander could bring Donnie Yen back as an immortal after Yen’s underutilization in 1998’s Highlander: Endgame.
A John Wick Approach To Highlander Could Give The Franchise New Life
In addition to the level of action-oriented talent the Highlander reboot could enlist for its action scenes, the general layout of the John Wick universe might provide a template for a strong re-imagining of the franchise. The world of John Wick is comprised of an entire hierarchy of assassins ruled over by the High Table, complete with its own currency, bylaws, legal structure, and other societal hallmarks. While the Highlander universe certainly has its own sub-culture of immortals, Stahelski’s Highlander reboot with Henry Cavill could make it even more layered and complex, with immortals effectively having the equivalent of their own High Table to govern their own culture.
Curiously, John Wick and Highlander also share one significant parallel in each having a designated area in which its respective characters are forbidden to do battle. For Highlander‘s immortals, they are barred from engaging in combat on holy ground, while the Continental hotel chain is the one area where assassins in the John Wick franchise are barred from conducting “business.” While it would hardly be surprising for Stahelski to maintain the holy ground element of the rules of immortal in his Highlander, the reboot could extrapolate upon that to show the rules and world of the entire society of immortals like the franchise has never done before.
Why Highlander Could Be Better Than John Wick 5
While the John Wick series has become arguably the premiere action movie franchise, John Wick’s apparent death at the end of John Wick: Chapter 4 has left the series at a crossroads. The news of John Wick: Chapter 5 entering development does admittedly raise questions about how John’s death will seemingly be retconned. Even so, Stahelski’s undeniable talent as an action movie director has thus far only been seen in the John Wick franchise, while Highlander could enable him to showcase his versatility with an entirely different story, premise, and collection of characters.
John Wick: Chapter 5 is still not guaranteed to move into production despite being in early development.
To be sure, the John Wick director has clarified the franchise’s future, stating he has ideas for “John Wicks 5, 6, 7, 8, 9” jotted down. This could indicate that while Stahelski seems poised to take a break from the John Wick universe, both Stahelski and the Baba Yaga himself could make a return to the John Wick franchise in the future. However, with Stahelski’s skill at both world-building and action direction seen in the John Wick franchise, his Highlander reboot is primed for both, which makes it best suited as his next world to dive into as director ahead of John Wick: Chapter 5.