Highlander: The Source
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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: The Source can be found here.

Highlander: The Source is a sequel to Highlander: Endgame (2000), which itself is a sequel to Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994) and Highlander (1986). Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) subverts aspects of the rest of the series and it is unclear whether it is considered canon. The screenplay for The Source was co-written by Stephen Kelvin Watkins and Mark Bradley. A sixth Highlander movie, Highlander, said to be a remake of the original Highlander, is planned but no release date is given.

Since Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) opted out of the game in Endgame, the focus in this movie is on his clansman, Duncan MacLeod (Adrian Paul). Watcher Joe Dawson (Jim Byrnes) and 5,000 year old Immortal Methos (Peter Wingfield), both of whom have been imported from the Highlander TV series (1992-1998), are also back.

We are given no time frame. Endgame is estimated to have taken place in 2004, but all we are given in The Source is that the world has fallen into chaos and decay with no law or justice, only death and destruction, perhaps even the start of the Apocalypse, all of which probably takes a few years to happen, and no explanation or timeframe is given for the happening. There also must have been a sufficient number of years passing for Duncan to get over his Endgame wife Kate and meet, fall in love with, marry, and separate from his Source wife Anna (Thekla Reuten). Yet, Joe Dawson is there. Dawson is mortal, so not too many years could have passed. Best guess is maybe 5-10 years.

In episode Highlander: The Darkness (#2.4) of the TV series, a gypsy foretold that Duncan would have many lovers but never marry. Apparently, gypsy fortune tellers aren't always right. Duncan was married to Kate in Endgame, and he refers to Anna as his wife in The Source.

Although Anna claims that Duncan is the only man she ever loved, she left him because, she as a mortal and he as an Immortal, he could not give her a child.

What is the "Source"?

The Source is described as "a holy grail of peace and salvation". It is not a being but an event, a time when all the celestial bodies in our galaxy, the Milky Way, will line up with the central sun, allowing the earth to be bombarded with cosmic radiation, thought by many scientists to have been the trigger for "life", that is, the moment when life is created out of previously inert matter. Some Immortals, like Duncan MacLeod, think the Source is a myth. Others, like Methos, Zai Jie (Stephen Rahman Hughes), Reggie Weller (Stephen Wight), and Cardinal Giovanni (Thom Fell) believe it to be real. Consequently, they band together to seek it, along with Joe Dawson and Anna, who claims to have seen the Source in visions. First, however, they have to get past the Guardian (Cristian Solimeno).

Who is the Guardian?

The Guardian is described as a "riddle that cannot be solved" and a "force that cannot be defeated." Millennia ago, before recorded time, possibly even before Methos, another band of Immortals also sought the Source. All but three of them (two men and a woman) perished along the way, because Immortals lose their immortality as they get closer to the Source. They killed the reigning Guardian of the Source, but in doing so failed the Source's test of purity. One was cursed to become the new Guardian, and the other was cursed to a life of decay, now looked after as "the Elder" by the Brothers of Doleo at the Zagora Monastery. While the film doesn't reveal what exactly happened to the female immortal who was present, we later see in a flashback that she looked identical to Anna, raising the possibility that Anna is a non-immortal reincarnation of her.

What is "orbital wobble"?

Methos says that the astonishing alignment of the planets could be due to "orbital wobble." When two objects, like the earth and the moon, orbit each other, they share a barycenter or "center of mass", the point at which the two objects would balance if supported at that point only. When the two objects are approximately equal in mass, that barycenter is halfway between them, like two people of equal weight sitting on opposite ends of a seesaw. If the mass of one of the items is greater than the other, the barycenter begins to move closer to the heavier object. If the larger object is so massive that the barycenter falls within the object itself, the larger object will seem to wobble in its orbit. This is one method by which astronomers are able to detect the presence of a smaller object, e.g., a moon, that is affecting the orbit of a larger object, e.g., a planet. However, Reggie denies orbital wobble as an explanation for all the planets suddenly lining up because "it's outside the laws of celestial mechanics". Conclusion: it's the Source.

Reggie pinpoints the alignment over an island. No coordinates are given, but the Source Seekers hop a boat called the Rekyva, which sounds like it could hail from someplace like Iceland or Russia. Unfortunately, when they reach the island, they find that it is inhabited by cannibals.

How does the movie end?

The Guardian leads Anna towards the Source, leaving behind Giovanni, Duncan, and Methos, who have been captured by the cannibals and strung up for meat. Giovanni manages to free himself but refuses to free Duncan and Methos, believing this to be a sign that he is the One. Duncan gets free, and he frees Methos. When the cannibals find that their meat has escaped, they go in pursuit. Duncan and Methos come upon Giovanni being beaten by the cannibals. Methos wants to leave him, but Duncan jumps in to help Giovanni. Realizing that Duncan is more uncorruptible than himself, Methos orders Duncan to keep going towards the Source, jumps on a horse, and leads the cannibals away. Giovanni is subsequently beheaded by the Guardian. Duncan catches up with Anna, who is watching the planets moving into alignment. Suddenly, the Guardian leaps between them and reminds Duncan that he must still kill him, too...for there can be only One. As the planets move into alignment, Duncan and the Guardian battle each other, until Duncan is placed in the position of beheading the Guardian. Duncan refuses, saying, "I'm done with this." The Guardian implodes. Duncan joins Anna in the light of the Source. In the final scene, which takes place sometime in the future, Anna tells Duncan that she can feel his child growing within her. The Prize was the ability for Duncan, an Immortal, to father a child.

Yes. After Anna reveals to Duncan that she is pregnant with their baby and Duncan had won The Prize, Anna gives birth to a baby boy. They name him Connor, after Connor McLeod, fellow Immortal and Duncan's kinsman, and they raise him in Connor and Duncan's native homeland...the highlands of Scotland.

Yes and No. Highlander: The Source was originally planned to be the first chapter of a trilogy but was abandoned. Peter Davis sold the rights to Summit Entertainment for a remake and, on May 20, 2008, it was announced that the Highlander film franchise was to be rebooted, with the 1986 film remade. Screenwriters Art Marcum and Matt Holloway were working on the screenplay, and Peter Davis was to return to produce it. Highlander: The Source might as well be the conclusion of the original series of Highlander films with Duncan entering the source and learning he is "The One".

There are numerous small trims to scenes in the US cut, a lot of it to the Guardian's dialogue. Numerous effects shots which were incomplete in the Russian cut were also polished and improved in the US cut. Here are some of the major differences

- The Russian cut credits the screenplay to Stephen Kelvin Watkins and David Abramowitz. By the time the US cut was released, Abramowitz had demanded the removal of his credit, and Joel Soisson had successfully claimed credit under the pseudonym of Mark Bradley.

- The US cut opens with a lengthy narration by Anna, explaining who Duncan and Zai Jie are, and revealing that the Source is considered to be the Immortal's version of the Holy Grail. The Russian cut lacks this narration, and instead identifies Duncan and Zai Jie (and Methos, Reggie and Giovanni) with text captions.

- There are more scenes showing Anna and Duncan wandering through the decrepit city where the film's intro takes place in the Russian cut. Some of the flashback material showing the two's past also takes place at an earlier point than in the US cut.

- When Methos mentions orbital wobble as a potential explanation for the planets moving in the Russian cut, Reggie replies "fucking hell, Methos, use some sense!" before explaining that such an occurrence is impossible. In the US cut, Reggie merely replies that orbital wobble doesn't explain the planets moving.

- There is more dialogue between Duncan and the Guardian when they first meet in the Russian cut. In particular, the Guardian repeats much of Duncan's dialogue in a mocking tone, something he also does with the other characters throughout the movie. Duncan also specifically tells the Guardian who he is in the Russian cut, while in the US cut it isn't explained how the Guardian knows Duncan.

- In the Russian cut, the Elder just says that Immortals who approach the Source will grow weaker. In the US cut, he explicitly warns the group that the Source will strip them of their immortality and turn them into normal humans.

- Joe's death scene is slightly shorter in the US cut.

- When saving the harbormaster from the cannibals, in the Russian cut Reggie takes off toward the cannibals without consulting the others; in the US cut the Immortals all attack at once.

- While Duncan, Anna, Methos and Giovanni flee through the forest from the cannibals, the US cut has a rock song playing over the scene, and the Russian cut has part of the orchestral score playing.

- During the final battle between Duncan and the Guardian, the Russian cut has Anna start spinning around like a top before taking off into the sky. In the US cut she just stands at the edge of the pit for the duration of the battle.

- After being defeated, in the Russian cut the Guardian taunts Duncan at length over the deaths of Joe and Reggie, making it more obvious to the audience that his motive is to dupe Duncan into killing him and releasing him from his curse, while turning Duncan into the new Guardian. The US cut just moves straight to the Guardian demanding that Duncan take his head.

- Once the Guardian vanishes, in the Russian cut Duncan takes off into the sky following Anna, before we see the two in the Source, and Anna announcing that she is pregnant, after which the movie ends. In the US cut, after the Guardian is vanquished there is a montage and another narration from Anna, who explains that the rationale for the Immortals' Game was in fact a misconception all along, and that "there can be only one" really means that only the most pure-hearted of all Immortals could claim the Source. By comparison, the Russian cut has Duncan and Methos expressing their doubts about the Game, but never explicitly invalidates it in the same way the the US cut does.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 11 months ago
Top Contributors: bj_kuehl, GandolfFoogray, Joxerlives, dan-willi84

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