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Trivia / Highlander

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Highlander multimedia franchise trivia:

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  • Approval of God: Panzer-Davis, approved four fan-made films: Highlander: Dark Places, Highlander: Hans Kirshner, Highlander: The Watcher and its sequel slash comedy companion Highlander: Bad Watcher.
  • 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). Lambert had a very limited grasp of English at the time the first film was made. Though born in New York, he was raised in France and it was his first real English role, so had to learn his lines phonetically. This is obliquely referenced in his interrogation scene.
    • 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.
  • Referenced by...: Originally known as The Interrogator, WWE renamed Robert Maillet "Kurrgan".
  • Trope Namer: Highlander named the following tropes:


    The first movie 

  • Acclaimed Flop: None of the films turned a profit in cinemas. The first movie only made $5 million and change during its theatrical run vs. a $16 million budget.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: Clancy Brown came up with most of the Kurgan's personality, as he didn't like how the role was originally written as little more than a cold-blooded Implacable Man.
  • California Doubling: Most of the scenes in New York were shot in London.
  • Cast the Expert: Peter Diamond, who played Iman Fasil in the first film, was also the stunt coordinator.
  • Cast the Runner-Up: According to Clancy Brown, Sean Connery was originally offered the role of Connor MacLeod, but was interested in playing Ramirez, so he was given that part instead.
  • Enforced Method Acting:
    • Clancy Brown was highly-allergic to the material used to make his character’s neck scar prosthetics.
    • According to Russell Mulcahy (though Clancy Brown swears it never happened), when they first shot the scene of The Kurgan bursting through a door to cut the table in half, Brown instead ran in, cut through the candelabra and nearly decapitated Connery. Connery was fuming and stomped off the set. Later, Connery returned and Brown apologized, saying he was very nervous.
  • Executive Meddling: For the U.S. release, 20th Century Fox cut five minutes out of the film (which included some valuble character moments), and used a grainy, black-and-white close-up of Christopher Lambert's face for the poster. Naturally the movie bombed there, but did better overseas thanks to a less half-assed marketing campaign.
  • Friendship on the Set: Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery became such good friends that Lambert would only return for the sequel if Connery did.
  • Inspiration for the Work: Gregory Widen was inspired to write the story while visiting Scotland on vacation. He was visiting a museum in Edinburgh, came across a suit of armor, and wondered what it would have been like if the man who wore the armor were alive today. He also cited The Duellists as an influence.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Christopher Lambert is very nearsighted and couldn't wear his glasses for the role. He is half-blind throughout his fight scenes.
  • Missing Episode: Some scenes were deleted from the movie and ended up being lost forever when they were destroyed in a warehouse fire. One of these was a duel sequence that introduced an Asian immortal named Yung Dol Kim. In this deleted scene, Kim was working as a night security guard in a New York City office building at the time of the Gathering, where he was challenged by the Kurgan. Kim fights Japanese two-sword style. During the fight, Kim surrenders, wearying of Immortal life and is willing to suicide himself. The Kurgan takes his head and the body explodes out of the fortieth floor of the building. In the continuity of the movie, the Kurgan's duel with Kim takes place before his duel with Kastagir. A few stills from the sequence, some in color, and others in black-and-white, did survive and were later used in the collectible card game based on this movie for cards featuring the Kim character. Other deleted and lost scenes are a flashback where Connor meets with Thomas Jefferson, a bar scene when Connor and Kastagir go out for a drink and are partying in the bar, where they meet Detective Walter Bedsoe, who ends up drinking and partying with them. This scene also expanded more on Kastagir and Connor's relationship, and revealed that they met during the American Revolutionary War. There was also a scene in which Connor shows Brenda his katana, the sword she was so intrigued about after finding metal shards from it in the parking garage after their sex scene.
  • Multiple Languages, Same Voice Actor: Lambert did his own dubbing for the French language version.
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: Russell Mulcahy said that filming the stag "was a nightmare". Because at the time of filming, all stags had lost their horns, it was decided to glue on antlers. A veterinarian put the animal to sleep, the horns were glued on and then, they had to wait for it to awaken; once it did, all the deer wanted to do was shake off the antlers. During filming, the stag ran away and never came back. It was found later, twenty-five miles away and without the horns. Some of the stag scene (standing in water) is National Geographic stock footage.
  • Star-Making Role: The Kurgan for Clancy Brown and Connor McLeod for Christopher Lambert.
  • Throw It In:
    • Queen were offered first pick for a scene to do a accompaniment for. They enjoyed the film so much that they scored the whole thing. Brian May wrote "Who Wants to Live Forever" on the way back to the hotel from their private viewing.
    • 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 cast had such a good time doing the movie, they agreed to film additional scenes detailing Macleod's relationship with his assistant for free. These scenes were cut from the version shown in theaters; years later, they turned out to be revelation on DVD.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The original script for the first film was much Darker and Edgier 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 steely killer who only played The Game because it was the only thing he had left after thousands of years. 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 ice hockey match, but the NHL refused to let the crew to film them because, by the crew's own admission, they intended to play up the NHL's reputation for violence.
    • David Bowie, Sting and Duran Duran were all considered to do the soundtrack.
    • Richard Dean Anderson, Nicolas Cage, Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Richard Gere, Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Ron Perlman, Burt Reynolds, Christopher Reeve, Mickey Rourke, Gary Sinise, Sylvester Stallone, Patrick Swayze, John Travolta and Bruce Willis were all considered for Connor Macleod.
    • Michael Caine, Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Malcolm McDowell, Peter O'Toole and Lee Van Cleef were considered for Ramirez.
    • Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Rutger Hauer, William Hurt, David Keith, Nick Nolte, Sam Shepard Peter Weller were considered for the role of The Kurgan.
    • Karen Allen, Rosanna Arquette, Jennifer Beals, Lorraine Bracco, Kate Capshaw, Glenn Close, Linda Fiorentino, Linda Hamilton, Diane Lane, Demi Moore, Annette O'Toole, Elizabeth Perkins, Tanya Roberts, Sigourney Weaver, and Sean Young were considered for Brenda Wyatt.
    • 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 modern-day 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.

    TV series and related movies 

  • Ascended Fanon: The name Seacouver was a fan-made portmanteau of Seattle and Vancouver which ended up being used as the official name of the North American setting.
  • Cast the Expert: Adrian Paul was cast in part because he was already way more adept at sword-fighting than Lambert and thus wouldn't need a stunt double for every duel. 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.
  • Cast the Runner-Up:
    • 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.
    • The actor who played Caleb Cole in "Mountain Men" was originally in the running to play Connor Macleod.
    • Alexis Denisof was considered for Duncan Macleod. He guest-starred as Steve Banner in "Diplomatic Immunity".
  • The Character Died with Him: Werner Stocker as Darius.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • The Raven was a misconception. The showrunners were already burnt-out, and the series was hobbled from the beginning by an uncooperative lead actress and a normie sidekick whom nobody wanted to write for. Panzer in particular hated how stodgy the show was in comparison to the hipper Adrian Paul show. He detested the cliffhanger (the aptly-titled "Dead on Arrival") where Nick gets ambushed by "a weirdo wearing a cape" and wielding poison gas-balls. No one has anything positive to say about that ending.
      David Abramowitz: The character of Amanda was never meant to be a heroic lead. She was always meant to be the gadfly, the character—the little angel on your shoulder that says, 'Go on, have that extra drink.' 'Go on, put that in your pocket.' 'Go on, sleep with that woman even though you're not married to her. Have a good time!' And to make that character heroic, you have to twist her and turn her, and it didn't play into Elizabeth's strengths, which is that kind of bounce and that kind of comic stuff.
      Panzer: I will take my share of the blame. I hope there are others who will stand up next to me.
    • The Source. Among the film’s many problems was the fact that Adrian Paul wanted nothing to do with it. He hated the way Endgame had turned out and wanted to pursue other things. So the producers went back to Lambert, hoping to bring Connor back somehow, despite the fact that they had just killed him in the last film. Lambert said no—or, based on his negotiations before the TV series aired, probably just asked for too much money, knowing his demands wouldn’t be met. In order to bring Paul back onboard, they gave him an executive producer credit. Paul would later go on record prior to the film’s release and say that The Source "missed the mark." That’s rare for a lead actor to do when promoting his own movie.
  • Dawson Casting: Not so noticeable at first, but by the end of Richie's tenure, his actor 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.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Adrian Paul wore hair extensions in season one. They were painful and hard to maintain, so he grew his hair long for season two through six. He was tired of caring for it by then, so Duncan got an Expository Hairstyle Change after Richie died.
  • Edited for Syndication: The famous “Eurominutes” that were cut from the US version due to American TV having more commercials. At least once, it caused a bit of confusion. Duncan's kinswoman Rachel brought him his father's sword during the dark quickening arc but a couple scenes with her were cut, leaving Americans a bit surprised when she was still in Paris in the following episode.
  • Enforced Method Acting: The abandoned hospital in "Turnabout" was a real closed-down former mental hospital.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • Kenny wasn't killed because the networks wouldn’t allow a child character to die violently onscreen, even a 1,000-year-old child.
    • The Raven had a promising start, but as the series went on, David Abramowitz admitted to mentally checking-out since, despite being billed as a showrunner, he had no creative say in the matter. On repeated occasions, Dennis Berry and other directors criticized the attempts at "Restoration Comedy"; they tried telling Gaumont that it was incongruous with The Game.
  • Hey, It's That Place!: Camelot Castle is where the nobleman whose daughter Fitz was supposed to be protecting lived in 'Star Crossed'.
  • Hostility on the Set:
    • Adrian Paul apparently didn't get along with David Robb (Kalas) while they were filming Season 3.
    • The behind-the-scenes featurette for The Raven examines this in detail. Gracen didn't get along with anyone (least of all her male co-star) because it had recently come out that she had an affair with then-Governor Bill Clinton back when she was "Miss Arkansas" and was terrified of being subpoenaed during the impeachment hearings. She got roped into an unhealthy romantic relationship with a con-man who took over as her agent and brainwashed her into thinking her co-star was an undercover government spy. All of which sounds more-interesting than the finished product. Gracen has since expressed regret over the whole ordeal.
  • Life Imitates Art:
    • Tragically. Myles Ferguson, who portrayed child Immortal Kenny, died at the age of 19.
    • Methos spent time as as a medical doctor in the early 19th century. Peter Wingfield started medical school before becoming an actor and more recently returned to complete his degree. His specialty is cardiac anesthesiology.
    • Kind of with the Stone of Scone. The real artifact was returned to Scotland in 1996 as Britain decided to make a conciliatory gesture to the Scots. It now sits in Edinburgh though it will be brought beck to London for coronation ceremonies.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Lambert didn’t want to do TV on a regular basis; in fact, his price had gone up. The producers caved, and the obscene amount of money that they threw at him was only good for one episode, the pilot.
  • Multiple Languages, Same Voice Actor: Multilingual actors Alexandra Vandernoot (Tessa), Peter Hudson (Horton), and Michel Modo (Maurice) performed their roles on-camera in English and voiced their own lines in the French dub.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Adrian Paul's brother has small parts in a couple of episodes.
    • Adrian's wife at the time played the woman who has plastic surgery to look like Tessa in "Counterfeit". Alexandra Vandernoot took over the role after the "surgery" was done.
  • Recycled: The Series
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: Unfortunately, Lambert's lack of a second appearance also forced the editing-out of Connor in the footage of Little Deer’s funeral, which was filmed for the pilot and reused in “Line of Fire”.
  • Throw It In:
    • In one early episode, the final scene has Duncan and Richie looking at each other and laughing outside the barge. The actors thought the scene was over. It fit and was left in.
    • In another episode, Duncan's and Amanda's failed kiss (which ends in a headbutt) is a flub which was left in. The episode was comedy-heavy and it fit well.
  • Troubled Production:
    • Adrian Paul dealt with a crazy stalker for a time and there was a period where filming locations and such had to be kept secret.
    • The costumes from “Band of Brothers” actually disintegrated after filming due to the actors rolling around in the sulfur piles the fight took place in.
    • All of the prop swords broke at times and multiple copies were always kept on hand. But Richie’s sword was notorious for breaking. Stan Kirsch begged for a new one for several years before Richie finally got one in “End of Innocence.” The trouble was that all of Richie’s remaining fight scenes were flashbacks from when he used the old sword. The new sword was only able to be used in his fight vs. Duncan where he died.
    • 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. The last season was partly spent on a revolving door of potential Highlanderettes. (Paul was not contractually-obligated to appear for the whole season, and six or seven episodes were fronted by his would-be replacements, none of whom stuck around.) They finally settled on the recurring character Amanda (Elizabeth Gracen) as "The Raven". Simple, right?
      1. Unbeknownst to Bill Panzer or his staff, Elizabeth Gracen had quietly gone off the deep end, believing she was being shadowed by the U.S. government. (This was the real-life reason for Amanda's Annie Lennox makeover: Gracen dropped off the grid for a while before filming and bleached her hair to avoid detection.) She only agreed to participate in the show because it was shot in Paris. Gracen was being fed lies by her new "manager": he claimed to be "the Ambassador to the Cayman Islands from the Vatican", but was actually some kind of grifter.
      2. The music director kept missing his cues and went out drinking.
      3. The film crew handled the series in a regimented style which prolonged shooting.
      4. 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.
      5. Amanda wasn't believable as a crime-fighter, and discovered that her past thievery had accidentally led to the deaths of over a hundred people.
      6. The co-star, Paul Johanssen (One Tree Hill) was gradually downgraded to Amanda's bumbling sidekick (Diet Richie), to his dismay. He was constantly at loggerheads with the writers over his shrinking role.
      7. 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.
      8. The two leads hated each other, killing any romantic chemistry between the characters.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Christopher Lambert wanted to continue the series, and he thought a TV series was a good move. But he himself wasn’t interested in doing a weekly TV series. So when offered a chance to reprise his role as Connor MacLeod, he asked for an absurd amount of money and was turned down. As the series was being developed, it was going to be a direct sequel to the first film; but without Lambert on board, it was decided that Adrian Paul would take over the role of Connor. Paul pragmatically asked to play his own character, fearing fans would unfavorably compare him to Lambert. The gamble worked and Duncan MacLeod was created.
    • The series was originally intended to be a prequel to the first film in order to side-step the obvious continuity issues. It was going to be about the larger body of Immortals coming together prior to The Gathering in a large-scale ladder match, which would ultimately lead up to Connor vs. 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 began to fade from the TV series' canon.
      • In fact, the producers had already decided on abandoning the first film's ending as early as the eighth episode of the first season. That episode, Revenge is Sweet, opens on a flashback to New Year's Eve 1988 which sets that part of the story three years after the end of the first movie.
    • 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.
    • Gary Daniels was considered for Duncan Macleod.
    • Michael York and David McCallum were considered for the role of Joe Dawson, who was originally named Ian Dawson.
    • John Rhys-Davies was considered for Methos.
    • Rae Dawn Chong auditioned for Dr Anne Lindsey.
    • 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 credited for inspiring them to go in a darker direction than they might have otherwise.
    • A spinoff starring Immortal FBI Special Agent Matthew McCormack (played by Eric McCormack) 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 after the producers enticed Christopher Lambert to make a second guest appearance. But the scene was cut once Lambert changed his mind and declined. Adrian Paul's reaction shots to the non-existent Connor were filmed and included as DVD extras. Connor and Duncan's first meeting would eventually be featured in Highlander: Endgame.
    • The Raven. Five failed on-screen auditions and, as we all know, Elizabeth Gracen got the job by default. Initially, the Nazi-hunting Alex Raven (Dara Tomanovich) was considered, which is why the spinoff is confusingly-subtitled The Raven. Claudia Christian (of The Hidden and Babylon 5 fame) was probably one of the strongest tryouts, but she didn't get the role for some reason, either creative or contractual. Abramowitz claimed he auditioned Carrie-Anne Moss for the role, but that Panzer shot it down, saying she couldn't act convincingly.
    • There was thought given to finishing the arc of Richie with a movie set about 20 years after his apparent death.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Many guest actors were recycled, e.g. Callum Keith Rennie, who had a bit part in "Eye For An Eye" and was recast as the Villain of the Week in "The Innocent".
    • Nicholas Lea likewise appeared in a fairly small guest starring role in the "The Fighter" before returning as an Immortal Lovable Rogue in "Money No Object".
    • The writers briefly toyed with having the character of Lymon Kurlow survive his encounter with Duncan so they could continue working with actor/stuntman Anthony De Longis. It was decided that Kurlow wasn't interesting enough to warrant being a recurring villain. De Longis later returned as Otavio Consone.
  • The Season Five episode with Xavier St. Cloud’s apprentice was filmed for Season 4, but was held over so that both seasons would have an equal number of episodes.