Highlander II: The Quickening
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Highlander II: The Quickening can be found here.

No. The first movie in the series, Highlander (1986) was based on a story and screenplay by screenwriters Gregory Widen, Peter Bellwood, and Larry Ferguson. Widen and Bellwood, along with screenwriter Brian Clemens and co-producer William Panzer, came up with the story and screenplay for Highlander II: The Quickening. It was followed by three more full-length movies, Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994), Highlander: Endgame (2000), and Highlander: The Source (2007) and a long-running TV series that included Highlander (1992-1998) and Highlander: The Raven (1998-1999). A sixth Highlander movie, Highlander, said to be a remake of the original Highlander, is planned but no release date has been announced.

No. The events in Highlander took place in 1986. The events in The Quickening take place in 2024, some 38 years later. Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) is now an old man, having been given back his mortality after beheading the Kurgan (Clancy Brown) at the Gathering.

What is the Quickening?

The Quickening is the sensation that an Immortal experiences when he or she has beheaded another Immortal. It is accompanied by flashes of lightning-like energy and the destruction of other items around him.

The answer to that question is a two-edged sword. Yes, it is advisable to watch Highlander prior to watching The Quickening, because the second movie does not revisit the events from the first movie. It does not explain, for example, how Connor learned that he was immortal, how he and Ramirez (Sean Connery) met, the nature of their relationship, how Ramirez died, and how Connor gained back his mortality at the Gathering. The lack of that information, according to many viewers, makes The Quickening almost incomprehensible. By the same token, however, the second movie alters some of the events as portrayed in the first movie, so that the two movies do not stick with the same storyline and premises. For example, in the first movie, it is explained that Connor was born in the year 1518 in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel and was raised as a member of the clan MacLeod. In The Quickening, however, Connor was born and raised on the planet Zeist and was sent to Earth as a result of his participation in an uprising against their ruler, the evil General Katana (Michael Ironside). These changes make Connor's saga an almost entirely different story.

Yes. General Katana sends two Immortal henchmen, Corda (Pete Antico) and Reno (Peter Bucossi), to Earth to kill Connor, but Connor manages to kill them, thus transferring their powers into himself and regaining his Immortality (as well as his youth).

Ramirez was beheaded by the Kurgan in Highlander. Connor brought him back in The Quickening by calling for him. It is shown in the movie that, when Ramirez pointed out Connor as being the next leader of the rebellion against Katana on planet Zeist, he and Connor dipped their fingers into a cup and, when their fingers touched, sparks flew between them. Ramirez explains, "We are joined in a way that can never be broken...not even by death. When you need me, you'll only have to call my name. I'll always find you." Connor transfers into Ramirez the Quickening from the assassin he killed and restores him to life. That it is possible to resurrect previously killed Immortals helps reconcile many of the inconsistencies between The Quickening and the rest of the series.

As punishment. When they were brought to trial on Zeist for their rebellion, Katana wanted them executed. However, they were sentenced into exile on Earth. During this exile, they will face other Immortals in trial by combat. Only beheading can kill the opponent. Further, this competition will go on until only one remains. The last one will have a choice of growing old on Earth or returning to Zeist where his/her freedom will be restored.

Is Brenda in this movie?

Yes. Brenda Wyatt (Roxanne Hart), the forensic scientist who helped Connor defeat the Kurgan in the first movie, appears for a few seconds as Connor's dying wife, succumbing to the effects of the sun's radiation. Now played by another actress (Karin Drexler), Brenda appears with her eyes covered with bandages and the rest of her skin peeling. Brenda dies while lying in a hospital bed and holding Connor's hand.

It's Gtterdmmerung (Twilight of the Gods), the last of four operas in Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung)) by the German composer Richard Wagner [1813-1883]. It's an interesting choice of operas for Connor to be attending, since it tells the story of the end of the gods.

In the mid-1990s, the ozone layer faded away and people began dying from radiation poisoning. Connor used the talents bestowed upon him as the last Immortal and, along with Dr. Allan Neyman (Allan Rich), helped to develop an electromagnetic shield that covered the earth and protected the planet from the sun's radiation. It had the unfortunate effect, however, of plunging the Earth into a perpetual darkness. Consequently, Connor is credited with saving humanity, but he is also hated for blotting out the sun, the stars, and the blue sky.

Louise Marcus (Virginia Madsen) obtained a reading from the atmosphere above the shield and learned that the ozone layer had been restored and that the shield was no longer necessary. The Shield Corporation, which controls the shield, knew about this but did not want to lower the shield or inform the public that it was no longer necessary because of the loss of revenue that would result.

There are officially four versions. Highlander: The Quickening is the original theatrical film, released in 1991. When it premiered in the UK and additional European theaters it had been re-edited to include an additional 10 minutes. In 1995, director Russell Mulcahy released a directors cut called Highlander II: The Renegade Version that reconstructed the movie, changed the sequence of events, and set the origins of the Immortals in another time frame rather than another planet. In 2004, producers William Panzer and Peter David released a Special Edition, mostly adding new CGI effects. There are also two fan-released versions of the film that spliced together scenes from all four officially-released versions.

The biggest difference is that the references to planet Zeist are removed in the Renegade version and the Immortals are explained as coming from Earth's distant past. Some scenes were re-sequenced, e.g., a long swordfight was broken into two separate fights and the opening scenes in The Quickening were turned into flashbacks in the Renegade version. Scenes that did not make it into The Quickening were restored in the Renegade, e.g., Louise and Connor's climb to the hole in the shield and a fight scene between Connor and Katana on top of a truck.

Not necessarily, but it takes some doing. We must assume that not only are Connor and Ramirez banished from their home planet onto Earth but their memories are wiped and they are youthed into babies and placed at different periods of history (the "Highlander" TV series and Highlander 4 stick with the idea of the Immortals all being foundlings, abandoned babies adopted by strangers). If we accept that, then there is no contradiction between the two films. This means that The Kurgan from the original film is another assassin and, if the Immortals are aliens, it explains why they cannot have children with human women.

The planet Zeist was under the rule of the evil General Katana. Rebels banded together to free their world from Katana's rule. Ramirez was asked whether he would lead them against Katana. Ramirez declined but said that there was one among them whose destiny was to lead them and defeat Katana. With the power of the Quickening, Ramirez pointed his sword at Connor, proclaiming him their leader and the chosen one. Basically, Ramirez was there to unite and organize the rebels and to guide and mentor Connor with his quest.

The Quickening is an alternate story, which takes place 40 years after Highlander. The idea came about because Christopher Lambert enjoyed working with Sean Connery and wanted to work with him again for The Quickening. Although Ramirez had been killed by The Kurgan, they wrote a new story, which would allow Connery to return in the role of Ramirez, creating a "What if" but changing the original story and its mythology and writing into the screenplay how Connor used the power of the Quickening to resurrect Ramirez with his head intact. However, the sequels disregard Quickening and stay true to the original film, with Connor not a alien from another planet and defeated Immortals unable to be brought back to life by The Quickening.

Yes and no. The Quickening and the other sequel are two separate timelines. In The Quickening, after Connor beheaded The Kurgan and won The Prize, he grew old and became a fragile old man. Endgame takes place in 2001 after Connor defeated The Kurgan and Kane. Connor never lived to 2024 and was beheaded by his brother Duncan.

The Quickening was released a year before 'Highlander: The Series' premiered. Up to that, we did not know that Connor has a brother who is also Immortal, and Duncan McLeod is not seen or mentioned. If Duncan McLeod had been created before the TV series, it would had been assumed that Duncan fought with the Zeist rebel warriors and may had been killed by General Katana and his warriors. 'Highlander the Series' and the following sequels disregarded The Quickening. The TV series had been devised, so the story could follow a new character to connect the TV series with the 1986 film by Connor's appearance and to pass the torch on to Duncan, which confirmed that Connor did not win The Prize at the end of Highlander and that there were other Immortals out there. Adrian Paul agreed to appear in Highlander: Endgame, as the film was to connect the series with the film franchise and for the films to start following Duncan and ending with Connor's death, when he is killed by Duncan, which means that Connor never lived to 2024 and that The Quickening did not happen.

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