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Would Highlander Have Worked As Well Without a Definitive Conclusion?

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  • Would Highlander Have Worked As Well Without a Definitive Conclusion?

    With all this talk of the remake and how it's going to go about establishing a new Highlander universe, I've been thinking ("why are you smiling? Because I've been thinking?")—would the original film have worked as well if the Game hadn't been concluded?

    Personally, I think it could have. You could have the exact same film, minus any references to Connor and the Kurgan being the only two remaining. You could still have the same end scene in Scotland, except that instead of a monologue about what it's like to have the Prize, you could have a monologue about the relief of having overcome such an evil adversary, but also a statement about how the Game goes on and that there's no telling how long it'll go on for. So in that sense the film would have a definitive conclusion, because it's really about Connor's war with the Kurgan, but things are still left open for a sequel. In some ways I think that this could have been a superior way to end, because instead of closing everything off, you leave the audience with the knowledge that there are still immortals out there in the world. So even if a sequel never happened, it's still a cool bit of wonder to end on. It would fire people's imaginations.

    Any thoughts on this matter?
    Last edited by David McMurdo; 05-18-2017, 03:40 AM.
    Formerly known as "Quickening"

    My latest video in which I visit an ancient broch and cairns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxY2hYR6GXw

  • #2
    I think you have discovered the perfect solution. Show a few battles but leave it open for more immortals out there. The Gathering to the end limits what can be done with sequels. By having it be a continuing fight between good and evil you open the whole immortal universe up for more stories to tell.
    Last edited by Colleengael; 05-18-2017, 05:59 AM.

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    • #3
      I think the first film was perfect BECAUSE it had a conclusion, and I don't think that precluded further exploration of the backstories. Just not something that was ever done well in the films.

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      • #4
        In hindsight, yes. But at the time I don't think anyone thought about sequels or the possibility of a series. If they had they might have left it open ended. Then everything that happened after would have made sense.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Lady_CJ View Post
          In hindsight, yes. But at the time I don't think anyone thought about sequels or the possibility of a series. If they had they might have left it open ended. Then everything that happened after would have made sense.
          Yeah, it's weird to think that there was a time when people weren't planning a franchise while making a fantasy film. The director's almost exact words on this issue were, "it was considered almost bad luck to think about a sequel while you were making the first one. So we made it, and then it became popular, and we were like 'oops'".
          Formerly known as "Quickening"

          My latest video in which I visit an ancient broch and cairns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxY2hYR6GXw

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          • #6
            I can tell you I've watched a reedit of Highlander 1 with all mentions of the Gathering in the present, the Immortals there being the last, and any mention of Connor winning the Prize removed and it plays exactly the same. Maybe the Game not being won in the movie removes a little "OOMPH!" from the end, but it functions perfectly fine as a personal battle over the ages between Connor and Kurgan.
            Highlander: Dark Places

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            • #7
              It wouldn't work nearly as well. The Kurgan being the last Immortal makes sense, because he was the strongest and played the Game in a steady, focused course. He's really good at it. And Connor winning the Prize is a literal manifestation of his mortal desires - to become more human after a long time of being enclosed from others. Plus, the final fight actually has a personal stake at it.

              Its why I think its a mistake the remake features the Kurgan from the get-go. He HAS to be the ultimate baddie, and the last Immortal MacLeod faces.

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              • #8
                I never quite understood why they didnt take that approach in the first place or even when the talks of a sequel came about. They could have left it open for more stories without any actual plan for a sequel. Similar to how Back to the Future had the TO BE CONTINUED at the end of the movie. They did it as a sort of joke because they had no intention of making another film .When time came to make the sequels , it flows so well with where the first movie left off.
                Power to the Donut!

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                • #9
                  Because they literally thought they were over with Highlander after the original film. At least, that's what they claimed in the HL2 documentary, Seduced by Argentina.

                  And Back to the Future actually DIDN'T have the TBC tag, not until the second film was to be released. It was included in VHS releases of that era, but the DVD revised the film to its pre-BTTF2 state, without the said tag.

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                  • #10
                    We have the perfect version (well, nearly perfect: that walking around underwater was darling, but made no sense). So, let's have another perfect film by having it different from the first, in which Duncan defeats the Kurgan, but isn't the last. Ooh, or he is the last, but only temporarily: Connor is seen enjoying life, but suddenly clutches his chest in horror and pain and says something like, "it's all changed!" And the last scene is of someone finding a foundling under a cabbage leaf. Or one of those convent turn styles that people used to slip unwanted babies in. A nun brings the baby into the nursery and another sister says, "What, another one? "

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Coolwater View Post
                      We have the perfect version (well, nearly perfect: that walking around underwater was darling, but made no sense). So, let's have another perfect film by having it different from the first, in which Duncan defeats the Kurgan, but isn't the last. Ooh, or he is the last, but only temporarily: Connor is seen enjoying life, but suddenly clutches his chest in horror and pain and says something like, "it's all changed!" And the last scene is of someone finding a foundling under a cabbage leaf. Or one of those convent turn styles that people used to slip unwanted babies in. A nun brings the baby into the nursery and another sister says, "What, another one? "
                      Hello stranger. Long time no see.

                      Also, how much were you paid for your consulting work on the Highlander: The Source script? : p If I recall correctly, in an early draft Duncan was going to have a pet monkey called "Connor".
                      Formerly known as "Quickening"

                      My latest video in which I visit an ancient broch and cairns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxY2hYR6GXw

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                      • #12
                        Hiya David, it's good to see you, too! Oh, I didn't consult, I just had opinions. I did talk to Briggs, who rescinded his offer of marriage (made when I told him how much I liked Hellboy) when I said I didn't like his script because it was too cute and had too many James Bondy quips. And Robo Joe, but that was an accident. Briggs said I didn't get the concept.

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                        • #13
                          The only reason to end the original film with a less definitive ending is to serve the needs of a franchise. The movie didn't need a franchise. Most movies don't, and even the ones that do usually don't have to sequel-bait the audience. Wait, what's that: Charles Foster Kane faked his death? Wow, that twist ending makes the movie so much better!
                          __________________________________________________

                          "Really? We are trapped in a room with a machine that can cut off my head. Now that's a longshot."
                          --Connor MacLeod in Peter Bellwood's original Highlander II script

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                          • #14
                            Though technically they could have made prequels to H1 forever. I'd have probably been OK with that. I think the TV show could have even worked with that, had it been set in 1975 or something.
                            Highlander: Dark Places

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                            • #15
                              I still like Andrew's idea of prequels with Ramirez and Kurgan as protagonists in them.

                              Though I'm also a fan of my idea of a post-Prize Connor struggling to understand and utilize the Prize in today's world, with flashbacks to a more classic HL adventure, complete with swordfights and Quickenings.

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