Highlander, the story of immortal warrior Connor MacLeod from the clan MacLeod fighting his way through a series of fellow immortals and finally getting the Prize, has not been a success upon its 1986 release. It hasn’t even made enough money to cover its production costs (it had revenues of $12 million against a budget of $19 million). Thanks to its unique mythology, lovable (and hateable) characters, and its amazing soundtrack signed by hard rock legend Queen, it has soon obtained a cult status, remaining a memorable story to this day. Over the years, it has spawned several sequels, two TV series, animated series, novels and comic books, video games, audio dramas, and even a video slot machine soon to join the ranks of the best UK casino games. Plus, it is set to be remade by John Wick director Chad Stahelski who plans to create a brand new trilogy around the idea of immortals fighting each other for the Prize.
While one might argue that the “immortals” in it were not true immortals (they could be killed by decapitation), their inability to die from any other cause makes them qualify as such. Connor MacLeod, played by French Christopher Lambert, is perhaps the best-known immortal character in movie history (not counting Dracula, of course, who was also not truly immortal, only undead). But there are still enough people (not things, mind you, we don’t speak of aliens) that made it to the screen who suffer from (or enjoy) a chronic inability to pass away. Here are some that you may or may not have heard about.
Professor John Oldman has a very descriptive name in the science fiction drama “The Man From Earth”, one of the best science fiction films ever made. In it, the above-mentioned professor gathers his co-workers for a farewell dinner after retiring to tell them his story – and the story begins much further back than any of them could imagine. He reveals to be a Magdalenian caveman (a Cro-Magnon) born 14,000 years ago (give or take) who has stopped ageing in his 30s and has been wandering around the world ever since. Some of his revelations during the discussion are quite shocking for the guests – and the audiences alike.
Captain Jack Harkness
Originally, Jack Harkness (this isn’t his real name, of course) was a former time agent who turned hustler to make a living. Then he met the Doctor and Rose Tyler during one of their adventures, which turned his world upside-down. The result is truly life-changing: after being killed by the Daleks and brought back to life by Bad Wolf (Rose Tyler plus Time Vortex), he becomes immortal. His immortality manifests not in his inability to die but through him returning to life each time he is killed (once, a bomb explodes in his stomach cavity, tearing him to pieces – this is one of his longest and most disturbing revivals, and one of the most gruesome ever to be seen on screen).
At one point in the series, it is revealed that he is, in fact, the Face of Boe, a mysterious immortal creature who is millions of years old and consists of nothing but a huge face in a glass tank.
Death is only the beginning for Dr Jonathan Osterman, a physicist involved in an accident that disintegrates his body completely. He returns to life as a posthuman being with godlike powers. He is the only character in the “Watchmen” comics (and later the film directed by Zack Snyder) who actually possesses superhuman abilities. His immense power makes him unable to relate to normal humans – his decision to protect humanity is based on a rational decision rather than emotion.
Doctor Manhattan is perhaps the most powerful superhuman ever to appear on screen – his capabilities are limitless, he is immortal and capable of manipulating space, time, and reality itself as he sees fit.
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