The ‘John Wick 3’ Director Hopes To ‘Reinvent Swordfighting’ While Rebooting The ‘Highlander’ Franchise

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Of the many films to look forward to in 2019, John Wick 3: Parabellum shall be huge for those who can’t wait to see how the antihero will shoot his way out of NYC after his “excommunicado” order goes into effect. Franchise director Chad Stahelski has already teased how the movie not only involves Wick on a horse but also “dogs, cats, a raven, a bunch of pigeons, a motorcycle chase, car chase … shotguns and ninjas.” Stahelski recently told Entertainment Weekly how he’s prepared to crank out Wick sequels until people stop buying tickets, but he also discussed outside plans that might thrill fans of a certain fantasy franchise who would enjoy swordplay on steroids.

Stahelski, who served as the second-unit director on the stunt-heavy Captain America: Civil War and The Hunger Games, wants to stick with his action-and-stunt-coordinating roots while rebooting the Highlander franchise that revolved around immortal Connor MacLeod. Naturally, folks will best remember the first movie (starring Christopher Lambert), which arrived in 1986 and was followed by six sequels. Two Highlander TV series, one starring Adrian Paul (as another member of Clan MacLeod, Duncan) straddled the 1990s, but Stahelski believes he’s the guy to “reinvent swordfighting” in an amped-up reboot:

“I’m very interested in doing the Highlander property,. It’s scarily similar to John Wick. There’s a great mythology, it’s got an action-design challenge. What would a guy really be like after 500 years of practicing sword-work? I’m still a stunt guy at heart. You want to reinvent gunfights, how do you do it? You want to reinvent swordfighting, how do you do it? And that’s where we are at now. I love the first Highlander and I think I’m in a pretty good spot. The creative team, the producers and the studio that’s behind it have kind of said, ‘It’s yours to play with.'”

So much for “There Can Be Only One,” right? This actually isn’t the first time Stahelski has discussed his desire to reboot the franchise. He started making noises in 2016 about wanting to map out a trilogy of films and spoke again in 2017 about those dreams. Yet at that point, John Wick 2 hadn’t arrived in theaters to more than double the box-office receipts of the first sleeper hit of a film. As a direct result, Stahelski’s star has grown, and Lionsgate is now moving toward beginning production on a Highlander reinvention sometime this year with Stahelski at the wheel and a script from Colony writer Ryan Condal.

In other John Wick news, fans will also be delighted to hear Stahelski’s revelation that Parabellum‘s Wick kill count will be the highest yet of the franchise. The first film’s number hit 77, and the sequel notched 128 dead baddies, so there’s no telling how many will soon fall at the hands of the immortal Keanu Reeves. John Wick 3: Parabellum will blaze into theaters on May 17, 2019.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)