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->''"In the end, [[ThereCanBeOnlyOne there can be only one]]."''
-->-- '''The Immortals' motto'''

A [[LongRunner long-running]] HistoricalFantasy [[SeriesFranchise franchise]] about a rare collection of beings known as The Immortals. They can live forever, but with a catch -- When one Immortal [[OffWithHisHead takes the head]] of another, the winner gets the loser's power, while the beheaded Immortal is dead for good.

This power exchange manifests as an explosion of energy called The Quickening, in which [[MadeOfExplodium everything within 50 yards]] [[StuffBlowingUp blows up]]. Drifting invisibly through the history of the world, they battle each other in [[SwordFight swordfights]] until only one Immortal remains; the last one standing gets "The Prize", the exact nature of which is unknown.

The above paragraph contains the agreed-upon facts. Beyond that, [[ContinuitySnarl things get a bit fuzzy]]. Calling it "a canon" is being charitable. More accurate would be "an assortment of films, sequels, spin-offs, and remakes, all with only one connecting concept and made with very little regard for continuity." But hey, [[CashCowFranchise who's counting]]?

The various film and television incarnations of ''Highlander'' include:
[[index]]
* It all started with a single film: '''''Film/{{Highlander}}''''' (1986) introduces Connor [=MacLeod=] (Christopher Lambert), an Immortal born in the [[TitleDrop Scottish Highlands]]. In a series of flashbacks, Connor is mentored by Juan Ramírez (SeanConnery), a [[TheObiWan wise]] Immortal who teaches him the basics before being beheaded by Connor's sworn enemy, [[BigBad the Kurgan]] (Creator/ClancyBrown). The film's other half takes place in [[TheEighties Eighties]]-era [[BigApplesauce New York City]], where all the world's Immortals, whose numbers are now growing thin, are drawn together to [[ThereCanBeOnlyOne battle to the last man]] [[DuelToTheDeath in a final showdown]] dubbed "The Gathering". By the end of the film, Connor and the Kurgan are the only Immortals left. Connor kills him in a FinalBattle, [[DistressedDamsel saves the girl]] (Roxanne Hart), and gains The Prize. This film is currently undergoing preparations for a remake.
* '''''Film/HighlanderIITheQuickening''''' (1991) borrows liberally from both ''Film/BladeRunner'' and Tim Burton's ''{{Film/Batman}}'' by flashing-forward to [[BadFuture the year 2024]]. Connor is a wealthy man, having parlayed The Prize (the ability to read the minds of all the world's mortals at once) into building a vast planetary [[DeflectorShields force field]] to repair the [[GlobalWarming ozone layer]]; the downside is that the entire planet is now [[AlwaysNight permanently dark]], but nothing's perfect. In other news, the Immortals are revealed to be [[HumanAliens space aliens]] from planet Zeist, while the evil General Katana (Creator/MichaelIronside) has come to Earth to kill Connor off. While it enjoyed a much bigger budget, it was panned by critics, scorned by the fans and rode high on "Worst Movies Ever" lists for a long time. It should be noted however, that these bizarre changes were due to ExecutiveMeddling and the film running out of budget halfway through shooting. Several years after the theatrical screening, the director re-edited the film into ''The Renegade Cut'' for release on home video -- ''twice''. The edits had all references to Zeist removed. The troubled history of the film's production is explained in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMcXvG_DoiY this mini-documentary.]]
* '''''Series/{{Highlander}}: [[RecycledTheSeries The Series]]''''' (1992-1998) follows the life of Duncan [=MacLeod=] (Adrian Paul), an Immortal who happens to be a cousin of the movies' Connor [=MacLeod=] (then again, who isn't?). The series was originally intended to be a {{prequel}} to the first movie (resolving the continuity issues the screen was plagued with), being about the larger body of Immortals in the time of the Gathering coming together and doing combat in the large scale ladder match that would ultimately lead up to Connor [=MacLeod=] versus the Kurgan. After the first season it became clear that the Series was doing quite well in its own right. This made the canonicity of the original film, and the inevitable necessity of Duncan's death, problematic. The first film as straight canon began to fade from the Series continuity; Currently in the Series' fandom, the original film is considered to be canon apart from Connor winning The Prize. Naturally, The Game is still ongoing. (Events suggest it may ''never'' end, due to millions of people harboring the 'potential' to become immortal.) The series introduces the Watchers, a [[AncientConspiracy mysterious group]] which has observed and chronicled Immortal activities throughout history. It also coined the term "The Game", which refers to the Immortals' ongoing battle. For the most part it was well-received and internally consistent.
* '''''Film/HighlanderIIITheSorcerer''''' (1994) -- [[LousyAlternativeTitles alternatively titled]] '''''Highlander: The Final Dimension''''' -- ignores the second film and the TV series, making it a direct sequel to the original film. It turns out that The Kurgan was ''not'' the only [[BloodKnight savage]] Immortal out to claim Connor's head, as Kane (Mario Van Peebles) and two {{Mooks}} were trapped in a cave for 400 years and so didn't quite make it to The Gathering. The Gathering did happen anyways, though, as Kane and company were considered by whatever governs Immortals to be "dead" as they were trapped [[RocksFallEverybodyDies in a cave under a rock slide with no air,]] allowing them to be resurrected as if the universe were saving them for a sequel. Despite following a similar formula to the first film, ''Highlander 3'' was better received than ''The Quickening''.[[/index]]
* '''''Highlander: The Raven''''' (1998-1999) was a short-lived [[SpinOff spin-off]] of the TV series and centered on Amanda (Elizabeth Gracen), Duncan [=MacLeod=]'s sometime love interest. By all accounts [[http://www.dvdverdict.com/reviews/highlanderraven.php a disastrous shoot from start to finish]], making it the ''[[Creator/TerryGilliam Lost in La Mancha]]'' of spinoffs.[[index]]
* '''''Film/HighlanderEndgame''''' (2000), the fourth film to be made, followed on from the TV series continuity but attempted to incorporate the events of the original film into its {{backstory}} as well (although ultimately it ended up contradicting both). Duncan and Connor [=MacLeod=] team up to face Jacob Kell (Bruce Payne), a [[ChewingTheScenery scenery-chewing]] Immortal with a [[ItsPersonal massive grudge]] against Connor. ''Endgame''[='=]s poor editing left fans confounded and casual viewers completely adrift. Like ''The Quickening'', ''Endgame'' saw an extended cut which gives it at least some semblance of order. Notable mainly for being the one where [[spoiler: Connor is KilledOffForReal.]].
* '''''Film/HighlanderTheSource''''' (2007), released as a [[SyFy Sci-Fi Channel]] [[MadeForTVMovie Original Movie]], marks (probably) the final appearance of Duncan [=MacLeod=] and the rest of the TV series' gang. Following an [[AfterTheEnd apocalyptic event]], the dissolution of the Watcher's Council, and a lot of other, [[TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot more interesting stuff not explored in this movie]], Duncan, Methos (Peter Wingfield), and the last few immortals on Earth go on a quest to find "[[TitleDrop The Source]]" of immortality. Standing in their way is The Guardian (Cristian Solimeno, the only actor who looks like he's [[HamAndCheese enjoying himself]]). All of it culminates in yet another final battle in which Duncan wins what may be the lamest interpretation of The Prize yet -- [[BabiesEverAfter he gets to be a daddy]], which means the whole point of the game was one [[GainaxEnding gigantic, cosmic case of penis envy]]. Amazingly enough, it does not directly contradict ''Endgame'' -- though ''II'' and ''III'' are still out of luck. WordOfGod is that it was AllJustADream.[[/index]]
* As it turned out, Wingfield wasn't burned out on playing Methos just yet. In 2008, he and two other ''Highlander: The Series'' alumni (Jim Byrnes and Elizabeth Gracen) released a ShortFilm entitled '''Reunion''', depicting the characters 10 years after the series finale. Wingfield shot the entire episode [[NoBudget in his house]] (and it shows), but as far as send-offs go, it still beats ''The Source''.
* And apparently someone has bought the rights to (insert drumroll here) [[TheRemake remake the original]] ''Highlander''. The script for the remake was written by the screenwriter of the ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' films. Yay?

''Highlander'' in other media:
[[index]]
* '''WesternAnimation/HighlanderTheAnimatedSeries''' (1994-1996) mostly ignores the established canon, though Connor [=MacLeod=] and Ramirez (from the original film) both make an appearance. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where the Immortals have agreed to a truce. Once everyone else has taken the oath, however, a {{jerkass}} Immortal named Kortan [[ILied takes advantage]] of the binding truce to become [[TakeOverTheWorld ruler of Earth]]. Several centuries later, new Immortal Quentin [=MacLeod=] is born. He is [[CurseEscapeClause not bound by the oath]], making him the sole warrior able to face Kortan. His mentor Vincente Ramirez leads him on a quest to find the other Immortals and receive their knowledge, before Kortan does. Tagging along is Clyde of the Dundee, Quentin's adoptive sister. The series eventually spawned a game ''Highlander: The Last of the [=MacLeods=]'' for the ill-fated AtariJaguar CD. Seriously.[[/index]]
* In 2001, a [[WebAnimation Flash animated]] fan series entitled ''The Methos Chronicles'' was [[http://www.highlanderworldwide.com/world/animation/methoschronicles/index.html made available]] online. The eponymous character is voiced by Peter Wingfield, reprising his old role from the TV series.
[[index]]
* '''''Anime/HighlanderTheSearchForVengeance''''' (2007) is an {{Anime}} unrelated to any of the films or other adaptations. It starts in AD 125, somewhere in RomanBritain. A small village is wiped out by Roman troops led by Immortal Marcus Octavius. He is a WellIntentionedExtremist who thinks an Empire is [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans necessary to build a utopian society]]. This battle leads to the rise of another Immortal, Colin [=MacLeod=]. He is mentored by Amergan, the ghost of a druid. Colin devotes his life to seeking vengeance by killing Octavius. The film follows them in brief scenes taking place during a period of two millennia. The film was a critical hit and is thought to have a far more complex plot than most of the live-action sequels.
* They also announced a videogame for the current generation a while ago, and after numerous release pushbacks, it was set to be released but was cancelled in late 2010.[[/index]]

Here are the character sheets for the [[Characters/{{Highlander}} film series]] and [[Characters/HighlanderTheSeries TV series]].

----
!! This series provides examples of:

* AfterTheEnd: A strangely popular setting for ''Highlander'' spinoffs, for no explicable reason. ''Highlander II'', ''Highlander: The Source'', ''Highlander: The Search for Vengeance'', and the animated series all occur in post-apocalyptic settings. It's justifiable in ''The Search for Vengeance'' and the animated series, as they take place in the far future and immortals are one of the few likely to survive the end of the world, but less so in the case of ''The Quickening'' and ''The Source''; both take place TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture and have most ''normal'' people living through the apocalypse as well.
* AlternateContinuity: There are at least three -- the (first three) films, the TV series (plus spinoffs and sequel movies), and the animated series. These are the broadest possible divisions as each one contains multiple {{Retcon}}s within themselves.
%%* AlternateUniverse
%%* AllOfTheOtherReindeer
* AllThereInTheManual: While the flashbacks do supplement some of the information, the [=DVDs=] (at least, for the Series) have the Watcher Chronicles, which include date of birth/first death, first teacher, background on the immortals, notes from the watchers, and information on the different swords used.
%%* AnimatedAdaptation
* ArcWords: "There can be only one!" - also a PreAssKickingOneLiner.
** The fifth movie's only remotely redeeming moment is the Guardian subverting this with a gleeful "There can be only '''''me!'''''"
** "It's a kind of magic" is also used as a call-back between Connor and Rachel (and a reference to the theme music).
* ArtisticLicenseAstronomy: In ''The Source'', concerning planetary alignment: "Well that could just be... orbital wobble."
** Surprisingly subverted. The very next line is (paraphrased) "that's not how orbital wobble works; this is clearly magic."
*** DoubleSubverted when all the the gas giants pass within Mars' orbit without [[NoEndorHolocaust causing any damage to Earth, themselves, the solar system as a whole, or about twenty other delicate astrological systems.]]
%%* AudibleSharpness
* BadassLongcoat: A warehouse of them. The coat at least [[HandWave waves a hand]] at how the Immortals carry swords around unnoticed, and [[{{Hammerspace}} where they come from]] when they pull them out.
* BigNo: The series has a [[SayMyName Big]] [[{{Narm}} DAARRRRIIIUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUSSS!]]
* BlackAndWhiteMorality: Despite Duncan insisting that "There are no all good or all bad Immortals, we run the spectrum just like you," The series has a clearly defined sense of right and wrong, heroes and villains, and only blurs it on occasion.
* BlessedWithSuck: Immortality is presented as this more than a few times, especially when it comes to having mortal lovers and friends who will eventually either die of old age or get killed from hanging around with Connor or Duncan. [[spoiler:Starting with Connor's wife Heather, to the tune of Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever?"]]
%%* BraveScot / ManInAKilt
* BurnTheWitch:
** In the series, happened to John Garrick.
** A general reason why Immortals never stay for too long in one place. (Shading into TheyWouldCutYouUp in modern times.)
* CanonDisContinuity:
** ''Highlander II: The Quickening''. Parts of the plot of this film are so poorly received that numerous edits of the film have been released on DVD, and most of them completely ignore the "Zeist/Immortals are really aliens" sub-plot. To the point that some editions of the third film have it titled as ''Highlander 2''.
** [[WordOfGod The filmmakers themselves]] agree that ''The Source'' isn't {{canon}} and [[AllJustADream supposed to be a nightmare]] Duncan is having.
%%* [[CantGrowUp Can't Grow Up]]
* CapeBusters: In the series, rogue Watchers called Hunters track and kill immortals, even on holy ground.
* CaptainErsatz: The X-ternals, a group of mutants in Marvel's X-Men comics, were obviously based on the Highlander concept: they had powers that could only be accessed after they "died" and came back to life. Cannonball of the NewMutants turned out to be one. All of them were wiped out by Selene (herself an ancient immortal.) Rumor is that Marvel decided to get rid of them before they got sued.
%%* CartwrightCurse
* ClassyCatBurglar: Amanda.
* ClothesMakeTheLegend: Connor wears a beige overcoat during the majority of the first film. In the PilotEpisode of ''Highlander: The Series'', you can probably guess what he's wearing in his cameo. (He's even shown wearing it in [[GhibliHills grassy Scotland]].)
** At least the long coat makes it somewhat plausible that he can carry a katana concealed in his clothing (see Hammerspace below).
* CombatPragmatist:
** If the fight's going against him, Methos is not above feigning helplessness (such as pretending to slip) and then, when his opponent moves in for the kill, drawing a hidden dagger and stabbing him.
** In one of ''Highlander: The Source''[='=]s only intelligent moments, the BigBad is shown wearing heavy armor around his neck designed to make decapitation almost impossible. Because this idea makes far too much sense for such a terrible movie, the resulting Quickening of his ''first battle'' makes it vanish for no reason, and he spends the rest of the film unarmored.
* {{Confessional}}: A long, long confession.
* CycleOfRevenge:
** Immortals can hold blood feuds and grudges that last centuries - and usually the same guys fighting throughout history.
** Think about that for a second...if you were immortal and made an enemy of a fellow immortal, spent centuries tracking them down to avenge yourself on them, only to find they got their head chopped off sometime last year, how would you feel?
%%* DeadlyClosingCredits
* DecapitationRequired: Immortals can only be killed this way.
* DiedInYourArmsTonight: [[spoiler: Charlie]].
%%* DoesNotKnowHisOwnStrength
* EstrogenBrigadeBait: ''Highlander: The Series''
%%* EverythingsLouderWithBagpipes
* EvilAlbino: The Guardian.
** The novel ''The Element Of Fire'' has an Immortal albino woman named Nerissa who is the BigBad's companion.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Among the rules, fights on holy ground like a church are forbidden, though some villains like the Kurgan attempt to do it anyway.
%%* EvilIsHammy
* EvilSoundsDeep: Kalas, due to a throat injury, though his voice has more of a raspy quality to it.
* ExpositionOfImmortality: Let us count the ways that this happens. No, let's not; there's too many of them. The first film is a principal source, between [=MacLeod=]'s many memories of times gone by; saving Rachel from Nazis, dueling drunk in 17th Century England, or the sizable collection of antiquities he's picked up over the years from their original time period. Ramirez' sword is a particular example, especially since it's older than it should be.
* FacialCompositeFailure: The news media, unaware of The Gathering or what is happening, attributes each of the original film's beheadings to a single killer. The newspapers release a composite sketch of The Kurgan, dubbing him the "Headhunter".
* FakeNationality: Christopher Lambert (American, raised French-speaking Swiss) plays Connor [=MacLeod=] (Scottish). Sean Connery (Scottish) plays Ramirez (ancient Egyptian pretending to be Spanish). Clancy Brown (American) plays the Kurgan (early Russian or Ukrainian). Adrian Paul (English of Greek parentage) plays Duncan [=MacLeod=] (Scottish). However, Lambert pulls off a decent Scottish accent for Connor's early days, then puts on a deliberately vague "layered" accent for the present-day scenes, having lived all over the place. Brown doesn't attempt a Russian accent.
** Brown's accent, after all, would be only hypothetical: temporally speaking, the Kurgans lie close to the source of the Indo-European language family itself, dating roughly 4000-5000 BC (and which today includes all varieties of Celtic, Romance, Greek, Slavic and Indo-Iranian languages).
** The Kurgan was from a group of people called the Scythians, whose burial mounds were called kurgans. Extremely vicious people. But yeah, they were essentially early nomadic horse-riders from the steppes of Russia.
** Although since, if you believe the second film, they're all [[spoiler:aliens]], the characters' supposed nationalities really becomes a moot point.
** For ''Highlander 3'' Lambert doesn't make even a token attempt at a Scottish accent for the scenes in Japan, which take place only a few years after the flashbacks in the first film. Likewise for the scenes in ''Endgame'' taking place ''during'' the flashbacks from the first film.
** SeanConnery [[NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent doesn't even try]] for Spanish or originally-Egyptian-and-by-now-Spanish. Scottish all the way.
* {{Flashback}}: Ahh, the ''Highlander'' flashback. Usually designated by being shown in DeliberatelyMonochrome.
** Generally the case when a mortal has a flashback; flashbacks of immortals are undoctored. Possibly meant to reflect mortals having imperfect memories, while immortals remember everything?
*** Early on in the series Mac's flashbacks to his first days of immortality were in a sort of sepia tone, suggesting that those moments are the hardest to recall. Later on they abandoned this.
** Usually with interesting framing, like a window the scene enters becoming a flashback for example.
* {{Flynning}}: Almost all of the sword fights.
** Although this may be justified as the Immortal style of swordplay is very different from the mortal's idea of "find a vital place and stab it." To an Immortal, there's only one vital place, and merely poking it isn't enough; you need a good, firm, unimpeded swing. Furthmore, the ''really'' old Immortals have an incredibly high tolerance for pain and stabbing or slashing barely slow them down. In fact Duncan himself seems very fond of disarming his enemy first before deciding to take their head or not. Conversely, Connor was only able to beat the Kurgan by wearing him out and inflicting enough minor wounds on him quickly enough that it slowed him down at the final moment.
* FriendlyRivalry: What any friendship between immortals can be.
* GoodScarsEvilScars: The Kurgan and General Katana. For the latter, the filmmakers applied makeup to the [[RealLifeWritesThePlot already-existing scar]] on MichaelIronside's head, exaggerating its grotesqueness.
* {{Hammerspace}}: In the series at least, this is where the Immortals appear to store their swords when not in use. It's referred to as "Katanaspace" by the fans.
** Colin Macleod in the finale of ''Vengeance.'', who after 2000 years of atheism and mortally wounded, is about to witness his rival kill a city of innocents with a super-virus, hears the dying voice of his resurrected love calling to him from Heaven...
--> (Picks up his Katana) "God... please give me the strength... [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming for them]]... [[LoveRedeems for her....]]"
%%* HollywoodHistory
* HotScientist: Brenda Wyatt the forensic scientist, Louise Marcus the environmental scientist, Dr. Alexandra Johnson the archaeologist. Connor seems to have a thing for sexy nerds.
* IAmXSonOfY: "I am Connor/Duncan/Quentin/Colin [=MacLeod=] of the Clan [=MacLeod=]."
* IconicItem: Connor's sword ([[AncestralWeapon given to him]] by Ramirez in the distant past) and Duncan's katana both count.
* IdiotBall:
** Ramirez cuts the Kurgan's throat in their duel, but instead of finishing the Kurgan off while he's staggered, he stands there and taunts him. The Kurgan gets his second wind and kills Ramirez, and goes on to commit atrocities for centuries, including raping Connor's wife Heather.
** General Katana carries one to complement his VillainBall in ''Highlander 2''. For no apparent reason, he sends a couple of assassins to Earth after [=MacLeod=], then goes himself. Never mind that [=MacLeod=] won The Game ''years'' ago and had no intention of going back to Zeist - within less than a decade, he'd be dead by old age. Instead, the new arrivals make him immortal again, makes him young, and also alerts him ahead of time that he has to deal with Katana. One of the assassins even ''points out'' how pointless this is, and gets smacked for it. [=MacLeod=] practically [[TheyJustDidntCare spells it out]] for Katana what a huge, stupid, meaningless mistake stirring up this trouble really was.
* ImmortalityBeginsAtTwenty: Averted, the Immortals seem to stop aging at the age where they first experience a violent death. Can lead to NotGrowingUpSucks if one meets their end at a significantly young age.
%%* ImmortalityInfertility
* KatanasAreJustBetter: They're the weapon of choice for every [=MacLeod=], as well as Connor's mentor Ramirez. At various points in the series, Duncan did occasionally use a different type of blade, but the katana was his 'default' weapon. Subverted in ''Highlander: The Source'' where Duncan's katana is broken in half by the Guardian, and he goes into the final confrontation with a pair of knives. Could be partly justified by the katana's effectiveness as a cutting weapon; when the only way to kill someone is to decapitate them, a sword specifically designed for slashing comes in handy. Additionally the katana is a lot easier to carry around and hide in a trench-coat the way Connor did.
** Discussed in the original, when Brenda carbon-dates the ivory in the handle of Connor's katana back to 500 BC, loooong before folded-steel katanas had been developed (''steel'' was new to the scene in India then). According to Ramierez, the sword was forged by Masamune (presumably an ancestor), and was probably the first steel katana ever made.
*** While Connor and Duncan both prefer katanas, it is mostly for sentimental reasons. Other Immortals are shown to carry a large number of different types of sword. The ones that show up more than once aren't always using the same sword from episode to episode either.
* KilledOffForReal: [[spoiler: Tessa, Darius, Charlie, Fitzcairn, Richie, Connor, Joe]] [[spoiler: [[WordOfGod Not Joe.]]]]
%%* KillSteal
* LargeHam: The Kurgan, Ramirez, the Guardian, Katana.
* LivingForeverIsAwesome: The opinion of a few, as illustrated by Queen's "Princes of the Universe".
%%* LoadBearingHero
%%* LoveHurts
* MasterSwordsman: FridgeLogic would imply that ''any'' Immortal who lives long enough would eventually have to become one, but the [=MacLeods=], Ramirez, and Graham Hash (Ramirez's teacher) are explicitly referred to as such.
* MayflyDecemberRomance: Any love interest for an Immortal. Duncan and Amanda are both immortal, but they come and go over time, not willing to be attached to each other for centuries.
* MeanCharacterNiceActor: Many of the villains from ''Highlander: The Series'' count. In fact, when Kronos and Horton were KilledOffForReal the cast and crew were reportedly very bummed out.
* MortalityEnsues: In the original continuity, part of the Prize is the option to live as a normal human; Connor states that this is his intention at the end of ''Highlander''. ''The Series'' stated that the last Immortal will be powerful enough "to rule this planet forever".
* MySignificanceSenseIsTingling: Immortals can sense the nearby presence of their kind.
* NewOldFlame: Duncan gets one in ''Endgame'', and a completely different one in ''The Source''.
%%* NotGrowingUpSucks: Kenny.
%%* NotQuiteSavedEnough
* OddlyNamedSequel2ElectricBoogaloo: ''Highlander 2: The Quickening'', ''Highlander 3: The Sorcerer'', ''Highlander: Endgame'' and ''Highlander: The Source''
** "The Quickening" is probably the second most parodied subtitle after "Electric Boogaloo". RogerEbert spent a third of the televised review time complaining about how stupid a subtitle he thought that was.
** These may seem unusual but actually make sense, as ''Endgame'' and ''The Source'' are actually set in the TV series continuity and so could be considered "separate" enough to warrant a change in title format. (''Highlander 3'' [[{{CanonDiscontinuity}} ignores the existence of]] ''Highlander 2'', but let's not get into that.)
*** In the US market, ''Highlander III: The Sorcerer'' was titled ''Highlander: The Final Dimension'', making it clear that removing the numbering from the titles was mostly an attempt to pretend ''Highlander II'' never existed.
* ObstructiveCodeOfConduct:
** Immortals are only allowed to fight one-on-one, and are forbidden to do so on "holy ground". These rules are [[RetCon malleable]], to put it lightly.
** Watchers are not supposed to interfere in Immortal conflicts. Joe Dawson spends a lot of time bending, breaking, or just plain ignoring this rule.
* OffWithHisHead: When chopping off someone's head is the only way to kill an Immortal, you end up with a lot of these.
* ParentalAbandonment: All Immortals are orphans.
* PopStarComposer: We were born to be Music/{{Queen}}s of the universe.
** The second film had Stewart Copeland of ThePolice providing the music. Fortunately, it's one of the few genuinely good aspects of the film.
* PoliceAreUseless: Especially in the first film.
--> "What does "in-com-pee-tant" mean?"
* ReallyDeadMontage: The series does this many times when a supporting character or recurring character dies, most notably [[spoiler: Darius, Tessa, Fitz, and Richie]].
** [[spoiler: Connor]] gets one in ''Endgame'' as well.
%%* RatedMForManly
* RealMenLoveJesus: Both Connor and Duncan are, astoundingly, still devout Catholics in spite of the fact that the superstitious xenophobia of their Catholic kin is precisely what caused them them to be hated and feared exiles driven from their homes.
** To be fair, ''they'' were pretty freaked out themselves with what was happening to them. They just don't seem to hold a grudge (maybe because they ''are'' devout Catholics) and, well, the "driven from their homes" part probably had less to do with the people being Catholic than the fact that both Connor and Duncan had somehow come BackFromTheDead- it was the people who had the problem, not the faith.
* ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: Obviously, but invoked most strongly with Methos. Despite being at least [[TimeAbyss five thousand years old]], he appears to be in his late twenties to early thirties.
* ResurrectiveImmortality: Immortals can die just like anyone else, but their bodies then heal and they revive. And it can turn into a cycle if conditions are bad, which can lead to an insane immortal or at least an immortal with a huge desire for revenge.
* RetiredBadass: Duncan is almost always trying to retire from "The Game" to various degrees of success. On the one hand he probably has more immortal friends than any other, but he also has countless enemies who come looking for him too. He refuses to "hunt" other immortals unless they personally threaten those he cares about and keeps a cabin on Native American holy ground he's been known to live on for very long periods of time.
** Connor tried as well.
** Darius and Brother Paul where Badasses who retired from the Game and into holy ground.
* {{Satan}}: Ahriman, the supernatural Big Big of Season 6, is described as being the source of all evil in the universe.
* ScarsAreForever: Subverted. None of the immortals' severe wounds appear to leave scars, except neck wounds (the Kurgan's slashed throat in the movie, and Kalas' slashed vocal cords in the series), probably due to the connection between decapitation and death for them.
** Also Xavier St. Cloud's entire hand.
** Colin in the anime retains a scar across his face from when he very nearly got his head cleaved in two.
* ScaryImpracticalArmor: The Kurgan (and later Kane) are seen wearing this dring their glory days.
* {{Scotireland}}: Averted. They generally go out of their way to note the difference, and in ''Endgame'' Connor and Duncan are reminiscing about Scotland while travelling through Ireland.
* ShaggyDogStory: ''The Source''. [[CanonDiscontinuity It's not canon now]], but its interpretation of The Prize renders all the fighting in the series practically pointless.
* SkywardScream: When Duncan finds [[spoiler: Darius's body]] in the season 1 finale.
** Connor manages to resurrect Ramirez in ''Highlander 2'' by screaming his name to the heavens.
* {{Squick}}: In-universe; Ramirez's reaction to Connor's explanation of Haggis.
* SuddenSequelDeathSyndrome: ''The Source''. Nearly every character from the television series, nay, the ''franchise'' is presumed dead in the film's dystopian world. Yes, even [[spoiler: Connor]], who bit the dust in ''Endgame''.
** Rather heartlessly, [[spoiler: Methos]], a highly popular character, is last seen running off in to the woods, presumably to be ''killed offscreen.''
** [[spoiler: WordOfGod states that ''The Source'' isn't canon and just some kind of trippy nightmare Duncan is having. Don't know if that helps, but there it is.]]
* SuperStrength: While they don't display it as consistently as they should, the Immortals in ''Highlander'' are more then just Humans with the ability to regenerate and recover from fatal injuries and potentially live forever. Immortals are stronger, faster and tougher then Humans, and this grows as they age, train and acquire more Quickenings. Being able to cut off the heads of other Immortals, much less any Human being requires a great deal of physical strength, seeing as how hard it is to do consistently. The Kurgan himself displays this when He's able to chop down a huge chunk of the tower that Connor lives in, and when He manages to stab a man and lift him up into the air with his sword. It's much more obvious how much more stronger and more powerful Immortals are, in ''The Search for Vengeance''; when you're not constrained by a special effects budget like they would in live-action films.
%%* SwordAndSorcery
* SyntheticPlague: In the series, Kronos plots to unleash one of these more or less ForTheEvulz.
%%* TakeUpMySword
* TechnicolorDeath: The Quickening that occurs when an immortal dies.
* ThemeNaming: ''Highlander'''s [[BigBad Big Bads]] tend to names beginning with a "K" (The Kurgan, General Katana, Kronos, Kell, etc). This earned them the FanNickname of "K'immies".
* TheRevealPromptsRomance: The 1986 film set one of these up between the secretly-immortal Connor [=MacLeod=] and his love interest. Made more remarkable by the fact that Connor made his reveal by stabbing himself in the chest.
* TrainingMontage:
** In the original film, it takes place over the course of a few years.
** Richie gets two of them in "Eye For An Eye."
** The third film includes a sequence in which Connor returns to Scotland, and several beats from the first film's montage (running on the beach, rowing on the lake) are re-created with solo Connor.
* TranslationConvention: During flashbacks to previous eras, the [=MacLeods=] and other immortals are often seen in various countries, speaking English (sometimes accented, sometimes not) with people who may not have actually been speaking English at the time (again with the on-again, off-again accents.) During segments of the series which take place in Paris, the majority of the bystanders and bit characters will speak plain English, with one or two characters speaking in a French accent.
* TruceZone: Any "holy ground" is a safe zone for an immortal. (But only from other immortals. [[spoiler:Poor Darius.]] Jacob Kell also breaks it.)
* UndeadTaxExemption: Averted: Connor has to change his identity every so often to blend in with society. Though he doesn't move on, just transfers his home and assets to the next identity. This is what eventually gets him found out once there are enough government records signed with the same handwriting over two centuries to backtrack over. Duncan takes a different tack; whenever he 'dies', he moves to another country and sets up shop there for 50-60 years, which he also advises Richie to do after the latter dies in a motorcycle racing accident.
* VictorGainsLosersPowers: One of the side effects of the quickening after one Immortal beheads another one. Not that pronounced in either the films or the series, but it's implied that the major villains (particularly The Kurgan) have so much skill and knowledge due to their high number of kills.
** May be more of a case of KillOneOthersGetStronger, but this seems unlikely.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: If you pay attention to the histories of some of the Immortals and where they've been their particular WeaponOfChoice makes so much more sense.
* WaxingLyrical: The Kurgan - "I have somethin' to say! It's [[NeilYoung better to burn out, than to fade away!!]]"
* WeAreAsMayflies: "All love must die" (from the soundtrack.) The Immortals see everyone they know grow old and die while they live on.
* WhenThePlanetsAlign: The impetus of ''Highlander: The Source''.
** ArtisticLicenseAstronomy: A character who is observing the phenomenon warns that the entire Earth will be bombarded with "cosmic radation". Methos, for his part, contends that the planets are merely exhibiting "orbital wobble". In the film's climax, not only do the planets quickly move into alignment, but they're close enough to be clearly visible and huge in the night sky.
* WhoWantsToLiveForever: Although the phrase is older than the movie, it was first used in the context of that trope here, when before it was about not being a coward in the face of danger.
* WorldOfHam: The only Immortal in the first movie who is even the ''tiniest'' bit understated is Connor himself, and once he gets the Prize..."[[AGodAmI I KNOW EVERYTHING! I AM EVERYTHING!]]"
%%* WouldYouLikeToHearHowTheyDied
* WoundThatWillNotHeal: Kalas received a cut to his throat (like The Kurgan) in the series, as well as Xavier St. Cloud's severed hand.

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->''Hey, it's a kind of magic.''
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