Chad Stahelski to Oversee Highlander & John Wick Franchises for Lionsgate!

Pop quiz, KFK readers – what do John Wick and the immortals of the “Highlander” franchise have in common? Both are seemingly invincible, nigh-unkillable warriors wielding the deadliest of weapons with the greatest of skill.

Both have been the subject of popular action movie franchises with a deep and expansive lore. And most importantly of all, both the “John Wick” and “Highlander” franchises are not only continuing, but expanding as full-fledged cinematic universes, with none other than stunt veteran and “John Wick” director Chad Stahelski overseeing both franchises for Lionsgate!

What the Future of “John Wick” & “Highlander” has in Store

ICYMI, Per Variety, Chad Stahelski’s 87 Eleven Action design will shepherd both the “John Wick” and “Highlander” universes with a “comprehensive multiplatform content strategy for both franchises”.

Stahelski and 87 Eleven will also “guide the short- and long-term creative direction, franchise strategy and strategic growth of these two iconic properties to ensure that quality, tone and vision remain consistent.”

Commenting to Variety on his role in the “John Wick” and “Highlander” franchises, Chad Stahelski said that:

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…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.

John Wick breaks out nunchucks in John Wick Chapter 4

John Wick breaks out nunchucks in John Wick Chapter 4

Of course, speculation has already hit the stratosphere on what this could entail for both “Highlander” and “John Wick” among fans of both franchises.

What this Means for “Highlander”

Stahelski was already signed on to direct Lionsgate’s new “Highlander” movie with Henry Cavill attached as leading man, and the talents of both men already suggest the new gathering is in the right hands.

Stahelski’s pedigree in stunts and fight choreography and role in directing the “John Wick” franchise already indicates that the new “Highlander” could have some of the best world-building and fight choreography the franchise has ever seen, with the latter possibly expanding beyond the franchise’s staple swordplay and into many different kinds of weaponry and martial arts disciplines.

Henry Cavill as “Highlander” Leading Man

Meanwhile, Henry Cavill’s action movie background exemplifies how game he is for the “Highlander” franchise.

Cavill has long excelled in extremely physical roles and fight scenes, including in 2011’s “Immortals”, the 2018 spy-action film “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”, and his role as the sword-wielding Geralt of Rivia in Netflix’s “The Witcher”.

That level of grit, physicality, and warrior’s drive are also qualities seen in spades in Cavill’s performance as Superman in “Man of Steel”, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, and “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”.

The Future of the Highlander Universe

In essence, without any further casting or story news, the new “Highlander” already is exciting purely on the sales pitch of “From the director of “John Wick” with Superman as its sword-wielding hero”, but Stahelski’s larger role in the franchise clearly indicates that there must be world-building at work with other immortals and the franchise’s overall lore.

It can also safely be assumed, from both Variety’s press release and a general analysis of the “Highlander” universe, that the template for Stahelski’s new take on “Highlander” is predicated much more on “Highlander: The Series” than “Highlander 2”!

What this Means for “John Wick”

As for the “John Wick” franchise, the news of Stahelski’s role on building the Continental-verse out raises possibly even more questions than the “Highlander” news.

The “John Wick” franchise has already been expanding beyond the core series with Peacock’s three-episode prequel mini-series “The Continental: From The World of John Wick”, while the upcoming spin-off “Ballerina” will take place between the third and fourth chapters of “John Wick”, with Keanu Reeves’ Baba Yaga lending a hand to Ana de Armas’ new protagonist Rooney.

The bigger questions of where “John Wick” is headed in light of this news all go back to the ending of “John Wick: Chapter 4”.

(Spoiler Warning!)

“John Wick: Chapter 4” ends with the apparent demise of the Baba Yaga, with Donnie Yen’s Caine being confronted by the vengeful Shimazu Akira (Rina Sawayama) in the movie’s end credits scene.

Ramirez teaches Connor how to focus his mind in Highlander

Ramirez teaches Connor how to focus his mind in Highlander

John Wick Spin-Offs

With the “John Wick” universe being inherently primed for spin-offs for its supporting characters, it seems like a foregone conclusion that a spin-off centered on Caine’s confrontation with Skira (which Donne Yen himself has also expressed interest in) is on the docket of Stahelski’s “John Wick” universe roadmap, especially with “John Wick: Chapter 4” all but outright confirming it.

With some many other characters and corners of the “John Wick” franchise that can be dove into, the elephant in the room is what this could mean for John Wick himself.

Despite seemingly meeting his end in “John Wick: Chapter 4”, reports have been rampant of “John Wick: Chapter 5” being in varying levels of development by Lionsgate.

The Truth: John Wick Never Actually Dies…

Speculation has been equally heavy that John Wick merely faked his death with the help of Caine, with “John Wick: Chapter 5” possibly centering on the Baba Yaga’s final confrontation with the High Table.

At any rate, with Chad Stahelski and Keanu Reeves themselves giving multiple statements indicating they intend to take a break from “John Wick” for a while, the news of Stahelski’s role guiding both the Baba Yaga and “Highlander” for Lionsgate could offer some context to that.

High Table Showdown

With “Highlander” and numerous “John Wick” universe spin-offs kicking off, both could give John the breather he needs before returning for one last epic showdown with the High Table.

In any case, action fans have plenty to get excited about with both “Highlander” and “John Wick”, with the possibilities being limitless for both and the sharpest martial arts, gun-fu, and swordplay action around a guarantee for each, as well!

Stay tuned for more exciting news on the “John Wick” and “Highlander” franchises as it arrives!

Are you excited for more “John Wick” and “Highlander”? Are you excited to see the “John Wick” approach to action applied to the swordplay of “Highlander”? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

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Brad Curran

From the earliest days of childhood, Brad Curran was utterly fascinated by martial arts, his passion only growing stronger after spending time living in the melting pot of Asian cultures that is Hawaii. His early exposure developed into a lifelong passion and fascination with all forms of martial arts and tremendous passion for action and martial arts films. He would go on to take a number of different martial arts forms, including Shaolin Ch'uan fa, Taekwondo, Shotokan Karate and remains a devoted student, avid and eager to continue his martial arts studies. Brad is also an aspiring writer and deeply desires to share his love for martial arts and martial arts movies with the world!

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