Why Does It Exist? is a new column here at SuperMarcey.com that questions why something in film and/or television exists when it probably shouldn’t. Straight forward huh? Let’s get to the first edition shall we …
Why Does The Highlander Series Exist?
In 1986 a film hit cinema’s called Highlander, it was (in my opinion) one of the best sci-fi/fantasy films of the decade and honestly it still holds up well today. It had everything you could want, action, Sean Connery, immortals (whose origins were unknown and their enigma worked) and sword fights. The film captured the imaginations of so many people, and it become a classic. It came off of the heels of The Terminator and it really set itself a part from the other films that came out around that time.
Highlander had a beginning, a middle and an ending; it actually finished its story and it did so successfully. It answered everything that we needed it to, we didn’t need all the answers and that was part of the charm. However because the film was popular and made money, a sequel ended up coming along … and it really didn’t need to.
The beauty of Highlander is it was meant to be a stand alone film, there was no need for a follow up. A prequel may have worked just fine, but instead we got Highlander II: The Quickening. The film took place in the future, and our hero of the first film Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) is an old man. He’s invented a shield that is meant to protect the Earth from the now dangerous Sun. Then a few minutes in, we get the piece that completely took a poo poo on the original. It decided the immortals were actually aliens from the planet Zeist. It only gets weirder and more face-palming ensues as the film goes on. It really contradicts everything that first film established and some how brought back Ramirez (Connery) to the future.
I am sure director Russell Mulcahy never intended this, and he basically disowned the theatrical cut. He did get his own cut of the film, which does salvage things a little and it removes all traces of Zeist. But it honestly has no reason to exist aside from being a ‘cash grab’. It did not stop there, another film was made, Highlander III: The Sorcerer and it was slightly better than II but again it had no reason to exist. It did ignore II and I guess they were trying to do damage control, but you know we all could have forgotten II existed and just enjoy the first film.
Then we got the TV series, and yes that isn’t too bad and I could see what they were trying to do with it. It was better than both the sequels and Adrian Paul was rather decent as Duncan MacLeod. I could live with it okay if we had the first film and the show. But nope, they went on to make Endgame, the film that would bring in both MacLeod’s and again like II it pretty much ignored what came before it and did what ever it wanted.
Another TV show was made and another awful film that decided to go with the continuity of II with Zeist being a thing. AVOID! With all this rubbish, I really have to ask why does all this exist? It should have ended with Highlander, the original film, the way it was intended.