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Leeds UK
 March 10-12, 2006

Special thanks to Julie
for sharing her great pics!

Reprinted with kind permission by Chris.

March 10-12, 2006

Hi Guys. Just got back from the first day of HLWW7 a few hours ago.
Big news is Bill Panzer was there and we did get to see a 5 minute promotional video of The Source!

It featured an introduction to all the main characters, a look at some of the action and what I presume was the villain of the movie. The sound was a little off in parts so it was hard to hear all of what was said, but this new enemy doesn't seem to give off a "Buzz" like a normal Immortal, and he's REALLY fast moving. MacLeod gets beaten down and is saved by Joe driving into the guy and ordering Mac to get in the car! There was also a small scene showing what appears like it may be a major spoiler. Bill and David didn't really comment on it more than saying loss happens and is part of Highlander.

David called it an Quest with friends. It's consistent with the mythology of Highlander whilst moving the franchise in a new direction and opening the door for more movies. Adrian was very involved, even sided with David telling Brett that Duncan wouldn't do something. They said they want a cinema release but that's up to the distributers in each country. Bill said Lions Gate has been great, they've given it full backing and are looking at theatrical release (that's what they budgeted for) and they've not seen anything since the script!

There was more news scattered throughout the following panels and I'll post that either later tonight (when I've gone through all my notes) or asap with everything else from the con tomorrow. Peter Wingfield did say in the last panel that there is a possibility of more filming later this year and that a release date isn't set yet (he said maybe Summer or Fall).

One last tease that was mentioned. They're meeting with Fox soon about the possibility of a new TV Series!

It does look like a wicked film! And when I spoke to Bill Panzer in the lunch break I did ask about the promo being put on the web. He said it was possible but it would have to go through Lions Gate and it would be up to them when it was posted and it what form, but he did say it would probably be a bit shorter (Im guessing to cut out the spoiler looking scene amongst other things).

March 11, 2006, 02:05 PM

There was a great panel on the upcoming video game as well. Sounds like it's gonna be great. Your mentor is, in the words of David Abramowitz, "he's very old".

More Source bits from my notes as I've been looking through them; It features more special effects than any of the others. Bill Panzer is seeing a cut of it on Monday.
It was mentioned that Anna is not like other Highlander girls. She has softness but also strength. She has a special quality that makes her different to the others. It sounds like (and looked like) she plays a bigger role than other Highlander movie women have done in the past. They are trying to appeal to a new audience with this film, to widen the fan base. David said he runs everything by his kids as they tell him when it's bad.

Commenting on Methos' attitude to life (in relation to doing what he must to survive in the Horsemen episodes), Abramowitz commented that he's lost his core values and that's why he likes Duncan so much - he still has those values and that honour. He linked this to The Source saying that there's a scene where Methos tells Duncan that he can't give up as he's the only Immortal who still has Faith. When Duncan asks about the Priest Immortal who's on the quest with them Methos says his faith is based on vanity, whilst MacLeod's faith is (to Abramowitz) based on Honor.

In the final panel of the day Peter Wingfield did comment that he and Adrian were worried listening to that as they didn't think they'd filmed it! Then said they had, but they had changed some of the dialogue.

They commented on the post-apocalyptical world of The Source. It's in the "near future", probably 10-15 years after Endgame. They noted how easy it was for the world to go that way should the wrong things happen (Adrian noted that a French Minister commented to him that in 70 years all gas and oil would be used up, and Adrian asked the audience what they think would happen if someone blew some or all of that up - no power, no communications, etc.). David said Highlander is, to him, heavily linked with resurrection mythology, and that with The Source where better to begin that an the end of life as we know it. The world has changed, so has Duncan, both are darker in The Source.

Someone commented on this darkness currently in TV and film, and David linked it to the success of 24, and also said drama needs conflict. But that the ending of The Source was about optimism, light prevailing over darkness, and "hope".

Does Endgame affect the Source? Connor's death is part of the reason he's darker now. But Adrian also commented on how for 400 years he's been told that he's special, he's going to do something important (like Prophecy and the Ahriman arc, etc.) and now the world has gone to hell and he was powerless to stop it, and that's affected him as well.

I think that's everything from the 1st half of the day.

There were a few more bits in the afternoon sessions (when commenting on Duncan's loves Adrian comments that Kate died sometime between Endgame and The Source). I'll post those tomorrow (some stuff from the talk on the Watchers as well as Peter's Q+A) along with any Source stuff mentioned in tomorrow's Q+A with Adrian and The Source panel with Adrian, Peter and David.

We have a panel on the Anime movie tomorrow as well. Hopefully we'll learn if it's connected to The Source/current continuity or if it's a totally seperate thing.

Hope that's enough info for now. There was loads more about the Horsemen (Marcus and Richard were great in their panel, especially when Marcus was asked what it was like to be the unloved Horseman!) but I'll write that up when I'm not as worn out and don't have to get up so early!

spoke with David briefly at the autograph table and told him I'd passed on a lot of The Source news and that the reaction had been largely positive. He was very happy, said thank you and "that's wonderful" when he heard that.

I also asked Adrian what it was like to be back as Duncan. He said it was "odd". It wasn't an instant feeling like Peter had, it was a much more gradual feeling of "I'm back."
From the Anime panel:

David views the Highlander various franchise arms as like the Legend of Zelda. They have the same theme, the same core ideas and values but are all slightly alternate worlds. The Movies are one world (or two, or three, or ), the TV seris is another (though heavily linked with Endgame, The Source and future movies), the anime is another,
and the coming video game and new TV series will also be slightly alternate worlds. He said forgive him but he couldn't keep it all to 1 perfect continuity.

Personally I think it works better like this, especially with a new TV series coming (I'll talk more about that later) if that works they can't be tied to the post-apocalyptic world of The Source in the "near future". You have Highlander, Series, Raven, Endgame, The Source, final 2 in trilogy if made, as one timeline (with the exception of Connor winning the Prize that really works well) and the rest are all slightly alternate worlds to that one.

When asked if we will ever see 2 Immortals fight on Holy Ground and  the consequences he said The Source will look a this a bit but not directly and we'll probably never see a beheading and what would actually happen. Though it was mentioned in the game panel yesterday that you may be fighting in Pompeii in the lava.....
Not Source related but in a video interview Valentine Pelka did comment that he'd love to do a Four Horsemen movie and if Bill Panzer ever offered to let him play Kronos again he's jump at the chance.

Ok the final panel. The auction overran so the Adrain Paul Q+A and The Source Panel (which had been moved to the afternoon as Marcus had to catch a plane before lunch) were condensed into 30 minutes each rather than an hour each, but they happily over ran a bit.

When asked about the potential trilogy and whether or not The Source was a stand alone film Adrian replied "it can stand alone but it shouldn't". He said, without spoilers, The Source is about a journey to a place and from that place is born a new idea. I'm guessing this "new idea" is what would lead into the next 2 films.

Here's a perfect quote about the trilogy from Adrian;"It's a trilogy in the sense that if this one works there will be two
others."That sound be word perfect but if it's not then I apologise to Adrian for misquoting him.

Adrian said he never distanced himself from Highlander and that he came back for The Source after Endgame because he was given the role of Executive Producer and therefore had control to ensure (as much as
possible) that this film isn't has disjointed as the last and stays true to the characters (as was mentioned yesterday he agreed with David when he told Brett Duncan wouldn't do something).

He said after Season 6 he would only do a film if the quality was there and it was as good as the series. Endgame didn't get that but he feels that the new film is closer to the quality of the series and that both the characters and the story are good. But now he has to wait to see the end product to see how it turned out. He mentioned he's seeing the film this week (presumably with Bill Panzer tomorrow) and will see if he wants any changes made. He would never do a Highlander where he had no control (like Endgame) again.

Peter repeated what it was like to be Methos again; meeting an old and close friend, really nice. A phone rang and he joked "That's Methos calling now. "That's bull****, I wasn't happy to see you!""

Adrian expanded on what he'd already mentioned to me at lunch. He said he'd been involved since July with pre-production work and going over the script. He only looked at the script from a Duncan perspective in September, shortly before filming started. He said MacLeod is different, darker, even closer to the Evil Duncan in some
ways (no MacLeod won't be a villain, just much darker, lost a little hope). He said he felt "ok" on the first day.

David expanded on the Evil MacLeod comment Adrian made saying that it was impossible for Duncan to internalise what had happened to the world and that he believe good would always prevail so he couldn't understand that evil might actually win. It hurt his heart and his soul to see the world as it has become.

When Anna, his new love, vanishes Mac feels despair. It makes him darker.

When asked if there would be a book on the making of the film David said that's up to D-P. Peter joked that it would be "very dark" and Adrian asked if we wanted the truth or the political version to which everyone responded "truth".

They were asked why they went in a more mythical and magical direction after Arihman didn't work out. Some fans were worried and felt that this wasn't Highlander enough. It was said that it looked like a Buffy thing in some parts of the promo. David said the film can be wonderful and that the promo was missing a LOT of special effects, was a work in progress version of the film and was done simply to show traders there was a movie coming to get distributors interested.The mythical stuff was part of the mix early on as they want to revitalise the franchise and appeal to new audiences (which is essential for the franchise to survive). But at the same time it stays very true to the core of Highlander. David said there are wonderful scenes and it's a movie about the relations between the
characters, and they are targetting a broader audience.

It was said there is no magic, it's all mythology. There's nothing like Ziest. It's more about Rebirth and it will hopefully all work out when it's completed properly. David firmly believes it will be a good film.

The faith thing was just a typo, Kate is as dead as Richie from the sounds of it!

Iron-Maiden, the new villain (I'm guessing it's the Guardian) is definatley the Doomsday to Duncan's Superman. The guy seems to move as fast as Superman does! In the scene where he surprised Reggie, who commented about not being able to sense him, Reggie pulled a gun on him and put it to his head, before he could fire the villain was standing behind him again! His speed is how he beat Duncan in the fight where Joe saves him.

Ok yesterday afternoon...

No before that something else I remember from the promo, a line from the Guardian to Duncan; "You have spurned your special gift". No idea what it meant or what context it was in. In the promo it came before the "one of us has to die" line. Anna and Duncan were also tied up at one point, suspended above the ground. The logo was much eerier looking than what we've seen before, and a green color.

There was nothing from the Marcus and Richard panel, though I will come back to that when I write up all my notes and post them later in the week panel by panel.

The Ethics of the Watchers panel. It's a new world (as mentioned before) and the Watchers are as disbanded as the world is, structure has gone from both. Joe in The Source is acting on his own, doing it for MacLeod rather than the Watchers. This panel is also the one where Adrian mention there only being 70 years of oil and gas left as I mentioned last night. When asked if the Butterfly Knives for Duncan in The Source were his idea Adrian just smiled, said they were and that that was all he was saying about it. Sounds like it must be a good fight.

Talking about the loves of MacLeod Adrian said that when Duncan loves he loves deeply and it's not a light choice.
Tessa was his true love in the series and he loved Amanda just as much but it was a different type of love. Kate was another love and she, like Tessa and Deborah, was taken from Duncan sometime between Endgame and The Source.

Nothing Source related in the game panel, but I will come back to that later. Peter Wingfield' panel had quite a bit. Most importantly it wasn't Methos we saw in the promo hanging from a crane! The intro to the Methos panel was classic! Methos and Kronos clips to the theme song of "Pinky and the Brain"! It was so comical! It was that popular first time that it was replayed twice today.

He commented that his first day back as Methos on The Source was very emotional for him. He put on his Methos coat that he had taken with him (he wasn't even sure why he took it) and said it was a strange feeling like possession. He said it was very powerful emotionally and he was crying on the way to the set. It was a feeling that "Methos is alive" and was kind of spooky.

Methos FIGHTS in the movie! He said there's one beautiful "Methos" moment in the film later on. He was filming with 1st unit and a stunt double was filming with 2nd unit close by. So he went over. He wasn't meant to do the shot but he did... and he believes that this and the resulting came from the gin he had drunk in the bar earlier. He commented on the multi-national crew, especially the German special effects guys who blew stuff up. They actually blew up a truck and the explosion was that strong that Peter felt it in his trailer before he heard the explosion and it was half a mile away!

He said he loved working on The Source and it was great to see everyone develop a common langauge by working together. After all explosions are a language everyone understands! He said Adrian choreographed most of the fights, including a massive fight in which the 5 leads each fight a group of attackers in the dockyard. There's 4 minor fights and Duncan in the middle fighting everyone with whatever he can pick up (Peter said afterall he is the one, the Highlander). Adrian choreographed it and set up the timing that was crucial for doing close up shots as they needed to make sure the right part of the other fights was happening in the background.

They got very behind schedule filming so Adrian would go with Splinter Unit (himself and a camera) to shoot extra stuff. He said Adrian was insane in this film; he'd be in front of the camera filming a scene with 1st Unit, then he'd go and direct 2nd Unit, and then he'd go out by himself as Splinter Unit! So if he looks tired in the film that's why!
He said it was very hard work and tiring as there was a 10-11 hour time difference and they were filming nights a lot so his body clock was totally messed up and he needed sun light as soon as he'd finished.

He said The Source is a good story with a solid heart to it. There's a lot going on. He also commented that Methos puts subtle changes into the context of it all (glances, subtle looks, etc.) but how/if this works depends on editing. If the edit shows him giving the look to Duncan it means one thing, if its at Anna then it's another. Subtle things can change everything. He also commented that they might not have filmed the end yet. They're filmed what could be a movie, but could film more scenes this summer that would make it a very different movie with a different ending. But it is currently a very strong story.

He said he had a good end line in The Source, but it's not what was in the script. This is interesting as at the same time he also commented how he and Adrian groaned when David spoke about the "faith based on hope and faith based on vanity" quote earlier as they hadn't shot it like that. Makes me wonder if they're the same line and that is near the end of the film. But he did say for sure that Methos' final line in the film, as it stands right now, is not the same as what David wrote.

That's it for yesterday afternoon. Sorry it took a while to type, there was a lot of notes and I nearly burnt dinner as well!

Bill Panzer said he would look at it but it was up to Lions Gate when and what got posted on the net.

It was Adrian Paul who brought David Abramowitz in to do the script. David said Adrian put a lot fo work into the film and we have him to thank if it turns out great due to all the effort he put in. Adrian said before David came aboard the script was a mess and not what he wanted from a Highlander movie. He took it to rewrites and got David brought in to do the script. It was David who made it a good story to tell. Adrian also said that yesterday was the first time he saw the promo as well and his first thoughts were "that's so unfinished". It was done for buyers and sellers not fans or public (hence the possible spoiler scenes).

He said it won't please everyone but they are trying to make it the best film possible. He also said they have to make a film for 2006 not 1986 so it does have to be slightly faster paced, have more special effects and Matrix like moves at some points. But it is balanced and remains very true to the core story at its heart.

Lions Gate will make the choice on if they have test screenings. Should know more by June (film nearly done then if not filming more in summer) with possible screenings between late July and September IF they have any. Looking at a possible October release for the film. All depends on money. It costs $30million to open a film with a wide release in US, plus distributors fees etc mean it may not be viable to do a cinema release in US. But they are looking at it and do want it (according to Bill Panzer yesterday). How Lions Gate views this movie and how much it makes affects whether or not sequels will get made.

Asked about balance of mortal and Immortal characters Adrian said that Anna is a mortal! And Peter said most of the fights are against mortals. They said that the concept of Immortality was challenged. The new actors had all heard of Highlander but most (all?) needed a crash course on the rules. Had a week prep time before filming just going over characters and what they want, what they were motivated by, etc so everyone knew their character before they started filming. Reggie was originally a big bear of a man, but rewritten as character worked better as a younger man.

Peter said when he was first contacted last year David told him about some great scenes, and when he started talking with Adrian about the script prior to filming those were gone! He didn't get a final script until after shooting started, joked that there must be a final script somewhere now they had finished! He repeated then that they may film more significant scenes later this year depending on how it looked now.

David said the Methos scenes were because he did an original draft which got lost before someone else did a totally different script (he didn't know it was lost at the time and was upset as he thought they hated his take). David later rewrote that script and on talking with Peter and Adrian added in stuff from his original draft that they loved.  One of those scenes was the one where Methos talks to Duncan about faith (Adrian and Peter were exchanging glances and laughing at this point as this was the scene they altered).

David mentioned two of his favorite quotes:

Methos telling MacLeod "you can't give up hope, you're the best of us as you're the only one who still has faith". When Duncan asks "what about him?" in regards to the right-wing Catholic Priest, Methos replies "His faith is based on vanity, yours is based on hope". Or something VERY close to that.

The second;  When it looks like the end is near the right-wing Catholic Priest looks to the heavens and says "I'm a true Christian, God wouldn't do this to me."  And Methos turns to him and says "I saw Christ teach. I saw Christ love. I saw Christ heal. And you, you son of a b***h, are not a true Christian."

The final note was that "there's lots of death in the film."

March 13, 2006

Ok the next topic is - Highlander: Vengeance!

This is being released after The Source, probably Spring 2007. Being made by Imagi and Mad House Studios.
The director, Yoshiaki Kawajiri, is in the top 2 or 3 anime directors in the world. First thing he's done that he hasn't written!

The set up:
It starts in a Celt village, a Roman Legion (2000-3000 men) is massing to attack the village. Colin MacLeod is readying the village (about 200 men) for war.  Colin's wife (Moya?) says he can't win. He says can't run as back to the sea and asks would she see him be a slave. She says she would see him live. She then says toast victory, drugs his drink and he passes out.  She then goes to see Roman General and asks him to leave the village alone. He says the ideal of Rome must prevail so she offers him herself. They make love and then he still says Rome must prevail. She then kills him, he's Immortal and gets up. He puts her on a crucifix overlooking the village.

The village is destroyed, Colin is killed by a building falling on him. He awakens with no idea that he's Immortal or how he survived. His village is gone and he sees his wife on the crucifix. He cuts her down. She asks him not to swear vengeance or he'll die. He says "I swear..." then she dies "... to kill that son of a b***h if it takes forever."

That's the premise of it.

The Roman guy wants to create an ideal world. He paints and plays music like the greatest masters ever. He is an artist. Colin lives only for vengeance against him.Key question is; who has had the most worth while life? Who is right now 1000 years have passed? It is set about 80 years in our future in New York. New York is now one building run by the Roman general, wanting perfection. Story about life of vengeance and the price of that. Very Highlander theme.
More fantasy based and very stylised. Culture difference was important. Originally wife asked him to swear to avenge her, but in Japan that is not a promise or request it's a curse and no one would ever ask it. It's hand drawn.

David has seen animatics and tried to get them for the show but Yoshiaki Kawajiri won't release anything until it's
finished.  It comments on the immortality of souls rather than bodies and the concept of soul mates through history.
Being done in English then dubbed in Japanese! Probably straight to DVD in the US, possible for cinema in Europe and Japan but not sure. Peter and Valentine did record voices but not sure if they'll be used at this point (up to director and D-P_ Jim Brynes will play a number of parts in it! Came about as Imagi and D-P have same lawyer and Imagi wanted a way into anime, Highlander was perfect project

Hot Topic now - NEW TV SERIES!

Meet with Fox next Tuesday! Very different style of series. David was reluctant to comment then basically said what the heck! Concept is "what of the Immoratals were outed". How would the rules change? Who would help and who wouldn't? Similar but alternate world to old series/current movies. This was when he made the Legend of Zelda comment that I mentioned earlier. Familiar characters in the series depends on 2 things; "one, it depends on money, and two it depends on money". Also who wants to be in it. He said they may guest a few of them.

Why Fox? They were "the first one to take the meeting." David said he would "sell this to anybody" and he wants to do it again! The title will contain Highlander. It is still a very long shot, but right now they're just happy to have the meeting.

When asked if fans could help he said not right now. If a script is allowed and/or a pilot is produced then could write to Fox and their affiliates to show support.  He said we may or may not see the pilot if the show gets that far then doesn't get picked up. I think there would be a few legal issues there, but I could be wrong. He said that the video game has and will help as TV companies see the game and therefore see the franchise as a  way to target that market.

Reflecting that the characters will be younger. He didn't say it but I'm guessing that means physically but not necessarily by age. It will be a little hotter and faster paced. 24 meets Highlander, but it will be Highlander. There will be Immortals and morals, there will be issues like betrayal. He has no idea what type of cast or characters yet. That depends on what the network (in this case Fox) want. Fox would sell it internationally, like it sold 24 to BBC then later to Sky One in the UK. He said they could also do a deal where to get one top rated show (like 24) a network would also have to take a new trial show like the new Highlander. And that's it for the new show. Maybe next con we'll hear more (hopefully good) news!

 The Video Game Ok one last blast from the notes -

David Abramowitz and Nick Clark (from Eidos) presented this panel. It was the 2nd to last panel on Saturday and at the end John Mosby noted that they recieved more questions per minute than all other panels so far (and I think after with the exception of The Source). The game is by Eidos who do the Tomb Raider games.
It does have flashbacks. You're an older Immortal and you're character's mentor is Methos. As I said before David did say imagine fighting in Pompeii as lava floods the streets and Nick jokingly said that was good and they'd have to keep that.

It is aimed at both fans and gamers and they do want to be faithful to the brand.  It will be on X-Box 360 and they later said it would probably be on PS3, PC and PSP as well. Bill Panzer commented to me yesterday that this was one of the good things about the delay, it meant it would be on the next generation. Looking at a possible 2007 release, but it is only in the very early stages right now. Asked about rating Nick said not sure right now as due to the beheadings it may become an 18. It's an action/adventure game with romance, fantasy, etc. New York City is the hub area of the game and features a bar for Immortals. It will have mystery elements. You will have to seek things in the flashbacks to solve  problems in the present day.  They looked at all melee combat games and want to match or even raise the bar for the genre.  When asked about female characters they said there are strong female heroes and villains in the game.
David said it would have Highlander's spirit and soul.

There are some RPG elements, like gaining Quickenings to get stronger, but it is primarily action/adventure. The game is set before The Source (and probably in a slightly alternate world based on David's comments today in regards to the anime) The core hero is very old and a new character. In fact I can say that his name is Owen. Not sure about the MacLeod surname though. This came up in the Anime panel when David was asked "why Colin" and he said he already had Connor, Owen and Duncan, and Colin felt close to Connor without being Connor. I forgot at the time as I was too busy writing it down, but I was lucky enough to see David as I was leaving and asked him who Owen was and he said that Owen is the character in the game. There will be a multiplayer element but not sure what yet, only in pre-production. Maybe co-opertaive play.  Internet connectivity likely for X-Box 360 and PC, not sure about PS3 yet as no one really knows anything.

It will be a mass market targeted release so will therefore be easy to pick up and play. Good tutorial (and tutor) to teach you.  When asked why not allow player to choose to play as male or female there was a smile and a slight pause before responding "absolutley no reason and that's all I'm saying". Some villains (bosses) names will start with a K
Are considering allowing you to create your own avatar in PSP version then you can link up with others to battle - "there can be only one"  Would be interested in bringing work in progress version to future con to get input and feedback.
Watchers and Hunters are in it! Online world elements? Maybe for X-Box 360 and PC, again can't say yet for PS3
Nick is thinking about sequels already - dedicated to franchise. Free roaming elements are under debate right now, seeing how they could work. Peter commented on this at the start of his panel saying he'd have to learn how to play games and he's excited by it. He said he hasn't played games since Space Invaders (which he did a great impression of) and Pac-Man! But his son loves the online Disney Toon Town.  He said he would be happy to do voice work, but at same time wouldn't be upset if he wasn't involved as he's not emotionally involved in that in the same way he is the live version of Methos.

That's all the game news I believe!

Reprinted with kind permission by Chris. (
(courtesy sure and check out the reports and pics there!!)

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