Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: When the franchise is referenced in pop culture or reviews, Immortals are almost always referred to as "Highlanders", which In-Universe refers only to the MacLeod clan.
Fake Nationality: Christopher Lambert (French) plays Connor MacLeod (Scottish). Sean Connery (Scottish) plays Ramirez (ancient Egyptian pretending to be Spanish). Clancy Brown (American) plays the Kurgan (ancient Indo-European). 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 an accent.
Accidentally Correct Writing: As explained by Diamanda Hagan in this video (which happens to namedrop this trop), Ramirez's obvious Scottish accent isn't too outlandish, as some mythologies and historians believe that the Scots are named after descendants of an Egyptian princess.
Box Office Bomb: The first movie only made $5-some million during its theatrical run (vs. a $16 million budget), but has since become a Cult Classic.
The cast had such a good time doing the movie, they filmed additional scenes for free, detailing Macleod's relationship with his assistant.
Queen was offered first pick for a scene to do a song on the soundtrack. They enjoyed the film so much that they did the whole thing. Brian May wrote "Who Wants to Live Forever" on the way back to the hotel from their private viewing.
Fatal Method Acting: Averted. According to Russell Mulcahynote though Clancy himself swears it never happened , when they first shot the scene of The Kurgan bursting through a door to cut the table in half, Clancy Brown instead ran in and cut through the candelabra, nearly decapitating Sean Connery. As a result, Connery stormed off the set. Later, Connery returned and Brown apologized, saying he was very nervous.
Inspiration for the Work: Gregory Widen was inspired to write the story while visiting Scotland, on vacation. He was visiting a museum in Edinburgh, and came across a suit of armor, and wondered what it would have been like, if the man who wore the armor was alive today. He also cited The Duellists as an influence.
Missing Episode: A number of scenes were deleted from the first film, sadly lost due to a fire. Among them was a scene where the younger detective played by Jon Polito was shown encountering Connor and Kastagir in a bar and getting drunk with them, the Kurgan fighting and killing an Asian immortal security guard and a post-love making scene where Brenda got Connor to talk a little bit about his past. The Blu-ray release of the film compiles remaining photos of the deleted scenes together to explain what happens.
Throw It In!: Clancy Brown improvised the line in which he poignantly addresses the sparse congregation and clergy in the Church, "I have something to say! It's better to burn out... Than to fade away!!!"
The original script for the first film was much darker, scarier and more violent than the film that got made. Connor was born in 1408 instead of 1518. He lived with his mother and father. In the draft, Heather (Connor's beloved wife in the film) does not exist; Connor was promised to a young girl named Mara whom he loved with all his heart, but who later rejects him after he becomes immortal. Connor leaves his village instead of being banished. His alias in the draft was Richard Tupin and he used an assortment of swords rather than the katana he took after Ramirez's death in the film. Ramirez was a Spaniard rather than an ancient Egyptian born more than two thousand years earlier. The Kurgan was known as the Knight using the alias Carl Smith. He was not a savage, but a cold blooded killer. Brenda was known as Brenna Cartwright. Other major aspects were later changed during rewrites. Initially, Immortals could have children; in the draft Connor is said to have had 37. The film was originally set in Washington DC and Pennsylvania in the present day rather than New York City. The final showdown took place in a museum.
None other than Kurt Russell was initially cast for the role of Connor MacLeod. He turned it down because his then girlfriend, Goldie Hawn, advised him to.
The opening scene was intended to take place during an NHL hockey match, but the NHL refused to allow the crew to film there because, by the crew's own admission, they were intending to emphasize the violence of the hockey match.
Virginia Madsen auditioned for Heather MacLeod. She later appeared as Connor's love interest in the sequel.
Hulk Hogan was offered the part of Connor MacLeod, but he turned it down in order to focus on his wrestling career. Ironically, in the beginning scene, Connor is at Madison Square Garden watching a wrestling match involving The Fabulous Freebirds.
The original script contained more dialogue reflecting on the Immortals' long lives.
In the scenes following Connor taking the Kurgan's head, Russell Mulcahy had originally envisioned an animated dragon with the Kurgan's skull battle helmet emerging from the Kurgan's decapitated body and challenging Connor again. Only after Connor had defeated this Ghost-Dragon would he have received the final quickening and subsequent Prize. This idea was eventually cut due to budget restraints.
The film's climax was originally intended to take place on top of the Statue of Liberty. This was then changed to an amusement park, and finally changed to the rooftop of the Silvercup Studios building.
Clancy Brown originally wanted The Kurgan to be dressed in a suit and bowler hat.
Sunda Kastagir was originally written to be an Asian Immortal (Mongolian or Chinese) in the original script.
Working Title: Shadow Clan. The script was originally called Dark Knight.
For the series:
Cast the Expert: Sword master F. Braum McAsh played Hans Kershner in "The Modern Prometheus" and actor/fight co-ordinator Anthony DeLongis appeared as Immortals Lymon Kurlow and Otavio Consone.
Ron Perlman was considered for Methos. He would later guest-star in "The Messenger", ironically playing an Immortal pretending to be Methos.
Alastair Duncan auditioned for the role of Duncan, and later appeared as Terence Coventry in the episode "Dramatic License".
Valentine Pelka auditioned for several roles prior to being cast as Kronos.
Dawson Casting: Not so noticeable at first, but by the end of Richie's time on the show, Stan Kirsch was pushing thirty. Richie became Immortal at age nineteen.
Disabled Character, Disabled Actor: Joe Dawson, Duncan MacLeod's Watcher, lost both of his legs below the knee in Vietnam. Jim Byrnes, the actor portraying Dawson, lost both legs beneath the knee in a car accident.
Distracted by the Sexy: The director, during the Cassandra/Duncan love scene in "Prophecy". The blooper reel shows Tracy Scoggins finally saying loudly "If this goes on much longer, I'm going to need birth control!"
Troubled Production: A spin-off was conceived in Season Seven after Paul left to pursue movies. There was internal pressure to keep the franchise going without any delays, despite the writers and producers being unsure of where to go from there. After testing out a revolving door of potential Highlanderettes — Paul was not contractually obligated to appear for the whole season, and thus six or seven episodes were dedicated to his replacement(s) — they finally settled on Amanda (Elizabeth Gracen) to be "The Raven". Simple, right?
Unbeknown to Bill Panzer or his staff, Elizabeth Gracen had quietly gone off the deep end, believing she was being hunted down by the CIA and President Clinton (with whom she claimed to have had an affair). To top it off, Gracen had a new "manager" whom she met in France: a older fellow who claimed to be an Ambassador/Mob boss/business magnate, but was actually some sort of delusional stalker.
The music director kept missing his cues and went out drinking.
The film crew handled the series in a regimented, somewhat generic style which prolonged shooting.
To appeal to the European market, the French co-producers wanted Moonlighting-style light comedy. The showrunners wanted to stay true to the tone of Highlander.
Amanda wasn't believable as a tortured antihero, and discovered that her frisky antics had accidentally led to the deaths of over a hundred people.
The male co-star, Paul Johanssen (One Tree Hill) was gradually downgraded to Amanda's bumbling sidekick (aka Richie lite), to his dismay.
Amanda's roommate, originally written as a girl in her twenties, was changed to an old matron so as not to upstage Gracen; this resulted in Amanda's apartment being decorated like a retirement home.
The two leads detested each other, killing any romantic chemistry between the characters.
When the series was first being developed, it was meant to be a direct sequel to the first film, with Adrian Paul taking over the role of Connor MacLeod. Adrian pragmatically asked to play his own character, fearing fans would unfavorably compare him to Christopher Lambert. It worked and Duncan MacLeod was created.
In the series, Hugh Fitzcairn was supposed to die at the end of the episode "The Hunters", but the crew ended up liking the character (and Daltrey) too much to just have him killed off.
Methos was slated to die after a single episode. The producers like what the character brought to the series and he became recurring.
The character of Marcus Constantine was intended as a possible replacement for Darius who would advise Duncan and act as a mentor. The producers decided to use Methos in this capacity, and the character never reappeared.
The writers considered having Rebecca Horne (Amanda's teacher) appear again near the end of the series, but the actress was unavailable.
The writers have indicated that the original idea for Methos' past evil deeds was much less severe, "like he was the Sheriff of Nottingham, not that he was Satan in a blue mask." Peter Wingfield's performance is given credit for pushing them to go darker than they might have otherwise.
The writers briefly considered having the character of Lymon Kurlow survive his encounter with Duncan out of a desire to continue working with actor/stuntman Anthony De Longis. It was eventually decided that Kurlow was not sufficiently interesting to become a recurring villain, and De Longis later returned as Otavio Consone.
A spinoff starring Immortal FBI Special Agent Matthew McCormack (played by EricMcCormack) was discussed.
In the original outline for "Timeless", Walter Graham was a much darker character, and was to be killed at the end of the episode.
A final scene was filmed for Danny in "The Immortal Cimoli" that showed him deciding to Face Death with Dignity, but this was left out in favor of a more fearful reaction.
In the commentary for "Comes A Horseman" Gillian Horvath mentions that, instead of Cassandra, it would have been possible to use the character of Ceirdwyn from "Take Back The Night", as she was a similar ancient Immortal whose word Duncan would take seriously. Also that, had Werner Stocker lived, even Darius would have been a possibility.
Duncan's first meeting with Connor was partially filmed when the producers nearly got Christopher Lambert to make a second guest appearance later in the series. But the scene was cut once Lambert turned down the offer. Adrian Paul's reaction shots as Duncan were filmed and included on the DVD extras. Connor and Duncan's first meeting would ultimately appear as a flashback in Highlander: Endgame.
You Look Familiar: Actors were recycled in guest roles several time. Example Callum Keith Rennie, who had a bit part in 'Eye For An Eye' and then was the Villain of the Week in 'The Innocent'.
"Q" for "Quickening," usually preceded by the name of the Immortal whose power the Q copies, "Kurgan Q" for the one that adds a point of damage to your attacks, "Luther Q" for the one that lets you block Power Blows without an exertion, etc.
"Power Block," being just plain easier to say than "block a Power Blow with an exertion" (or " block a Power Blow without an exertion and take no damage"). Became Ascended Fanon in the second edition.