Did the entire story of Highlander 2 ever come out?

I mean the making of the movie. Wait, there is no Highlander 2! Ha!

Certainly, looking back on this movie, the makers must realize that the script was outrageously bad, contradicts the first movie completely, doesn’t even make sense as its own movie, and that no good movie could ever come from it.

However, unlike most terrible movies, this one shares the same writer and the same director as the original. I mean, these people were there when the first one was being made, only 5 years earlier.

Has the behind-the-scenes ever come out revealing the problems with making this movie? Has the making-of ever been shown or discussed? I have to think the creators are aware of how bad they messed up.

Has their debacle ever been addressed/explained in an interview or documentary? Or did they take the George Lucas Phantom Menace route of insisting the movie is really good?

There is, apparently, a documentary about why the film went so wrong: Highlander 2: Seduced by Agentina. I have not seen it.

Highlander II: The Quickening did not, in fact, have the same primary screenwriter. The story concept for Highlander was credited to Gregory Widen, who wrote the pitch draft while in film school. After the studio bought the script they had Peter Bellwood and Larry Ferguson substantially retool the script, including adding the elements of “the Quickening” and associated phenomena. the story concept for Highlander II was credited to Brian Clemons (who appears to have done mot of his writing for television) and William N. Panzer, whose short list of other writing credits are almost all in the Highlander franchise (which almost his entire career has revolved around producing). Peter Bellwood is credited with the screenplay for Highlander II, which despite its poor reputation is probably the best thing on his resume. It will be left as an exercise to the reader to research the careers of these writers on IMDb but suffice to say that the likelihood of any of them being invited to the Academy Awards is slim. Widen gets only a “characters created by” credit for the second movie which pretty much means he totally dissociated himself from the production. The director of both films, Russell Mulcahy, was a music video director (and it shows) who has mostly directed B-movies, sequels to dying franchises, and television movies. (I personally like The Shadow and thought he did a great job of capturing the sensibility of the character from the radio series, but it is nowhere near high art.)

To be fair, there was really no way to make a good sequel of this film without contracting the “rules” laid out in the first film, so of course the sequels make no sense. The aliens from planet Zorg or whatever will a ridiculous addition, of course, but that is what happens when you extend something that really doesn’t bear a sequel to begin with (e.g. The Godfather, Part III or 2001: A Space Odyssey). That the film was totally over the top in awfulness is more a tribute to the desperation to do something that would match the outlandishness of the first film than ineptitude; a good writer and director would likely have passed on the basis that there was no essential story to continue.


I’m betting on cocaine and other drugs.

Of course, that’s probably the history of the production of the first and every other film Highlander. None of the films are really all that good, they just had a cool concept.

It’s like Stargate. Not really a great film, but a concept that makes people want more of it.

Probably the movie most ripe for a reboot. I’m not sure why it never happened.

It has just had a really hard time getting going.

I would suggest a new TV show, actually. Outside the continuity of all previous Highlander material. It could even feature Connor McCloud.

There’s been one in development hell for a decade or more.

The real mystery of the Highlander franchise isn’t why the second one sucked by why they kept making movies at all. Even the first one that people liked bombed at the box-office. The second one made its budget back (barely) but was universally panned. The third and fourth were even bigger financial failures.

Usually unnecessary sequels get produced for successful movies because the studio wants to milk their success. Highlander seems to have kept going because someone felt they hadn’t quite lost enough money yet.

Don’t forget Highlander 5, which aired straight on TV.

Spoony describes Highlander fans as being like victims of spousal abuse who refuse to press charges. “No, I can’t leave him! I love him! I really do!”

It feels to me like they were caught by surprise by the popularity of the first one, and hastily slapped a new paint job on some other movie already in development to turn it into a sequel. This sort of thing happens a lot with video games (hence why Super Mario 2 and Zelda 2 were so unlike the rest of their franchises).

Actually, there was.

Several years ago, I read an unfinished fanfiction crossover of Highlander and ST:TNG, where the last immortal on earth, centuries after winning the Prize, discovered that there were immortals among various sentient alien races, so the game wasn’t over after all. I thought it was a great premise which flowed very naturally from the phrase, “we are the princes of the universe.”

And besides, as the usually-pretty-good TV series showed, you can get a lot of mileage out of the Highlander franchise without necessarily being a sequel. There were dozens of episodes of the series that were better than any of the movies (other than the original).

Huh. Peter Bellwood’s daughter Lucy is a cartoonist. I remember her saying once her father wrote Highlander, but I didn’t realize how much input he had into the first movie. I just assumed most of the feel of the original movie came from Widen.

Well, and Queen. Queen did a lot to help that movie.

Here/we are
Born/to be kings.
We’re the princes/of the universe.

Without the Queen soundtrack, the film likely would have disappeared without note.


What you describe is indeed how (the American) Super Mario Bros. 2 came to be, but Zelda II was always intended as a Zelda game. Miyamoto just happened to want to make a Zelda game that was quite different from the first one.

Okay, the original question has been answered.

Now explain the cartoon series.

The Super Mario 2 we got in the states was just a Japanese game that had nothing to do with the Mario games with the playable character skinned to look like Mario, Peach, Luigi, and the Mushroom dude. The reason we didn’t get the real Super Mario Bros. 2 is because Nintendo deemed it far too difficult for American players.

I read that one of the reasons Highlander 2 was such a debacle is because Christopher Lambert insisted that Sean Connery be in the sequel. The two became good friends while filming the first movie and didn’t want to do the second without him. I don’t know how true that story is but it makes sense.

Man, I wish I could forget The Source. Makes H2 look like an all time classic piece of cinema in comparison.

Not just the difficulty, but also SMB2j really wasn’t all that impressive. It was less a sequel than it was a hard mode rerelease/expansion. Same graphics and sounds, nearly the same gameplay (Luigi’s physics were changed, and two player removed as a result), same Bowser at the end of every level stuff, etc. They made the right decision to mod Doki Doki Panic instead, and it would have been the right decision even if the game wasn’t so hard.

I haven’t seen it either, but the story I always heard as to how Highlander 2 got to be so terrible was because inflation in Argentina skyrocketed while they were filming there. It got so bad that their insurance company managed to take over the production and if you thought studio executives give crazy notes, imagine the notes you get from an insurance exec. (Well, you don’t have to imagine it- it’s all right up there on the screen.) So, basically, it’s the fault of the insurance company. No idea how much truth there is to that, though.

This. All it took was a tiny retcon (that wasn’t THE Gathering, just A Gathering, and the Prize, but just a really big Quickening) and BOOM, tons of potential. Instead, they pissed on the original and shoved two characters from the first movie into a completely different genre. Even that would have been forgivable if they’d at least made a good movie out of it.

Well, at least it wasn’t The Source…

There were a whole bunch that were better than the original, too. Highlander had a great premise, but the movie had enough story for less than half its running time, and the characters weren’t terribly interesting (except for the Kurgan who is a great OTT villain)…it really should have been a much better movie than it was. It wasn’t as painfully bad as some of the sequel movies*, but on the whole the TV series ran with the premise much more successfully. (Save for the first and final seasons.)

That’s why Highlander is always at the top of my ‘movies that need a remake’ list.

  • I think The Sorcerer was worse than The Quickening, personally…I consider The Source a terrible episode of the TV series, not a terrible installment of the movie series, but it probably ties with The Quickening.

Other than featuring TV series characters, the Source is nothing like the TV series and it’s an insult to consider it an episode of such. Even the mostly bad last season was like 1000x better than that.

Endgame, which still wasn’t very good (alright, it was pretty bad), that I could see considering an episode of the series, but not the Source.

And The Final Dimension worse than The Quickening? That’s crazy talk. At the very least it gets ten bazillion bonus points for ignoring every damn thing about Zeist and a planetary shield and being in the future and magic Ramirez resurrections.