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Connor MacLeod

Highlander character
Connor MacLeod
Alias Highlander, Adrian Montague, Jacques Lefeburt, Alfred Nicholson, David Carruthers, Rupert Wellingford, Russell Nash
Race Human, Immortal
Gender Male
Hair color Brown
Eye color Brown
Age c.480 (506 - Highlander II) / 485 (at time of death) (TV)
Born in 1518, Glenfinnan, Scotland, (original birth date unknown) (Highlander II)
Immortality 1536
Affiliations Clan MacLeod, Louise Marcus (movie), Duncan MacLeod (TV), Jacob Kell (TV)
Past affiliations Clan MacLeod, Heather MacLeod, Ramírez, Rachel Ellenstein, Nakano, Sarah Barrington, Brenda Wyatt, John MacLeod, Alex Johnson, The Sanctuary
Mentors Ramírez, Nakano
Pupils Duncan MacLeod
Weapons Clan broadsword, katana, tachi
Watchers See Below
Status Alive (movie) / Deceased (2002) (TV and animated series)
Killed by None (movie) / Duncan MacLeod (TV) / Kortan (animated Series)
Portrayed by Christopher Lambert
First appearance Highlander (movie) / The Gathering (TV)
Movies 1, 2, 3, 4
Seasons 1

Connor MacLeod is a character from the fictional multiverse of Highlander movies, Highlander: The Series and Highlander: The Animated Series, portrayed by actor Christopher Lambert. He is an Immortal.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
Connor MacLeod, the Highlander
Connor MacLeod, the Highlander

The character of Connor MacLeod is divided between many separate continuities; the original movie, the sequels, the television series, and the animated series. While in the movies (except Highlander: Endgame which follows the series continuity) Connor MacLeod is the main hero, and therefore the most likely to be the last of the Immortals; in the other continuities he is just a charismatic secondary character who eventually loses his head. The origin of the character basically remains the same in all continuities (excluding Highlander II), but the timelines differ once MacLeod leaves Scotland after the death of his wife, Heather.

The Movies Continuity

Highlander

Connor MacLeod was born in the year 1518 in Glenfinnan, Scotland near the shores of Loch Shiel. During a battle between the Clan MacLeod and the Clan Fraser in 1536, he faced an evil Immortal referred to as The Kurgan and was dealt what should have been a fatal blow.

Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod
Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod

When Connor did not die, the townspeople (including his family) believed his recovery was the work of witchcraft and threatened to burn him at the stake. Connor's kinsman Angus instead demanded that he only be banished. Connor wandered around the land until he met Heather MacDonald, the daughter of a blacksmith. The two fell in love and married. In 1541, he met an Immortal named Juan Sánchez Villa-Lobos Ramírez who became Connor's mentor and taught him the way of Immortals and the way of The Game.

Ramírez taught Connor the famous rule of the immortals: "There can be only one." Connor, Ramírez, and others like them were destined to fight each other until only one was left. By beheading another Immortal, the winner would gain the fallen Immortal's strength, and the last alive would have the power of every Immortal that ever existed, a mysterious power beyond comprehension known as The Prize. One night, The Kurgan, while Connor was absent, found his home, killed Ramírez, and raped Heather. Decades passed and Heather finally died of old age. It was at this point that Connor left Scotland to explore the world. Connor MacLeod led many different lives under a variety of aliases, constantly keeping his Immortality a secret. In 1985, MacLeod found himself living in New York in the guise of Russell Nash, an antiques dealer. In the continuity of the original movie, this was the time of The Gathering, when the few Immortals that remained were to fight until the last. While fighting in The Gathering, Connor had to deal with being a suspect of several beheadings. He started to fall in love with forensics expert Brenda Wyatt. In the end, it came down to MacLeod against his ancient enemy The Kurgan. After The Kurgan kidnapped Brenda, Connor faced and defeated him thus winning The Prize. He then returned to Scotland with Brenda.

Highlander II: The Quickening

Due to the fact that there are two major versions of this movie, the original movie and the 1994 and 2004 Director's Cuts, there are two versions of the story.

Original Version - In 1995, the ozone layer begun to rapidly disappear and the ozone hole covered most of planet Earth. Connor, now a mortal, became the supervisor of a team attempting to create an artificial shield, which would cover the planet and protect it from the Sun's radiation. In 1999, the team succeeded in its goal, and Earth gained its artificial shield filtering sunlight in place of the ozone layer. MacLeod was proud in having apparently saved humanity. However, the shield had the side-effect of condemning the planet to a state of constant night, and humanity could no longer see the sun, the moon, or the stars. Humanity began to lose hope and fell into a decline. The Shield fell under the control of Shield Corporation, taxing for its services for profit. Meanwhile, Connor, as years passed, had physically aged into a frail old man, and expected to eventually die of natural causes. He had also been able to learn the source of his immortality. Connor was a reincarnation of an alien humanoid from planet Zeist. In fact, all Immortals had been reincarnations from exiled criminals from Zeist (though the "reincarnation" aspect never made it into the actual film).

He was chosen by the reincarnation of Ramirez to be the leader of a rebellion against the rule of the evil General Katana. The reincarnation of Ramírez, who seemed to possess magical powers, made a magical bond with Connor that could never be broken. Whenever Connor needed his help, Ramirez would come. However, the rebellion failed and Ramírez and Connor were sent to Earth to play The Game as Immortals, which would eventually be won by Connor. In 2024, a number of terrorists, led by Louise Marcus, tried to take down the Shield. Louise discovered that the ozone layer had been reformed, and the Shield was no longer needed. The Corporation, which was aware of this, hide it from the general public to maintain its profit. Meanwhile on Zeist, General Katana was still alive. His information seemed to indicate that Connor wanted to return to Zeist. He decided that couldn't happen and sent his Immortal henchmen Corda and Reno to Earth to decapitate him. Louise managed to reach Connor first, and asked for his help in taking down the Shield. To Louise's disappointment, she found the passionate person she once admired to have grown into "a tired old man." MacLeod explained that he was dying, and expressed his disapproval of terrorism. Before Connor and Louise could finish their conversation, Corda and Reno reached Earth.

Connor regains his youth
Connor regains his youth

That led to Connor becoming Immortal again. Corda and Reno located MacLeod and attacked. MacLeod, however, decapitated them both, and in the process, through the Quickening, regained his youth. While he absorbed their energy, Connor summoned Ramírez, who revived in Glencoe, Scotland, the location of his death. Meanwhile, Connor found a new lover in Louise. Elsewhere, Katana also arrived on Earth and had a brief indecisive meeting with Connor. Soon enough, Connor was also reached by Ramírez. The latter joined MacLeod and Louise in their plan to take down the Shield. Katana predicted this and forged an uneasy alliance with the Shield Corporation. The conflict between the two sets of allies eventually lead to the deaths of Ramírez (sacrificing himself to save Connor and Louise) and Katana (killed by Connor in their final confrontation). MacLeod succeeded in taking down the Shield by using the combined energies of his final Quickening from Katana. Connor, mortal again, began a new life with Louise.

Note: In the TV cut Connor claimed his Prize by returning to Zeist with Louise accompanying him.

Highlander II: Renegade Version / Highlander II: Special Edition - In these versions of the movie, the Immortals were not aliens from Zeist. Instead they came from a distant past on Earth. Some events are also changed, the most meaningful being the rescue attempt from Connor, Louise and Ramírez to free Connor's old friend and co-supervisor of the construction of the shield, Dr. Allan Neyman from a high security prison. Neyman had betrayed the Shield Corporation by telling Connor the truth about the ozone layer status. Neyman eventually dies in Connor's arms. Ramírez also gives his life for Connor and Louise in the prison. Both Neyman's and Ramírez's deaths had occurred in the Shield Corporation, instead of the high security prison.

Highlander III: The Sorcerer/Highlander: The Final Dimension

Sometime after the death of Heather, Connor travelled to Japan to request training from the Immortal Japanese sorcerer Nakano, an acquaintance of Ramírez. Nakano held his residence in a cave of Mount Niri and had gained a reputation as a master of illusion. The training was never completed. Fellow immortal Kane, was also interested in mastering the power of illusion. Nakano had denied him training two centuries ago. Kane gained in experience and ability since that time. He made his way across Asia in order to reach Nakano again. When Kane reached the cave, he soon defeated and decapitated Nakano, despite Connor's attempts to prevent this. However the energies released during the battle caused the cave to collapse. Connor managed to escape, but Kane was left trapped. He was soon forgotten, and his situation prevented him from participating in the Gathering of 1985, thus meaning The Game was still on and Connor was Immortal.

In 1994, Connor was again a widower. In 1987, Brenda, his last wife, had died in a car accident after only two years of marriage. He was left alone to raise their adoptive son John. They had settled in Marrakech, Morocco, and Connor was at peace for the first time in centuries. This peace would prove short-lived, though. In Japan, archaeologist Dr. Alexandra "Alex" Johnson had started excavating Nakano's cave in order to discover whether the sorcerer's legend was based on fact or not.

Connor in Scotland
Connor in Scotland

Kane managed to escape the cave and challenged MacLeod. Connor, meanwhile, started falling in love with Alex. When Kane kidnapped his son John, Connor went to his rescue and had his final battle with Kane. Connor decapitated him and finally won The Prize. Now a mortal, Connor started his new life with Alex and John.

The TV Series Continuity

In the timeline of the television series (which disregards the end of the original movie and operates in its own continuity), Connor, after the death of Heather in 1590, decided to travel through the world. He returned to Scotland in 1625 and met Duncan MacLeod, a fellow Immortal from the same clan but nearly 75 years younger. He became Duncan's mentor and took him under his wing. Their relationship, over the hundreds of years they shared, grew and evolved from a father-son relatioship, to a brother-to-brother friendship.

Highlander: The Series

Connor in The Gathering
Connor in The Gathering

Connor's first appearance in this timeline was on the first episode of the TV series (The Gathering). In that episode, which occurred in 1992, Connor was following Immortal Slan Quince who hunted and killed Immortals and their loved ones for a living. Quince's next target was Connor's clansmen Duncan, who had retired from The Game and was living with mortal Tessa Noël. After a first failed attempt of confrontation between Duncan and Quince, Connor tried to convince Duncan to return to The Game to help the forces of good defeat the forces of evil and prevent The Prize from falling into the wrong hands. After Duncan beheaded Quince, Connor left Duncan and Tessa to pursue his own path. Connor would not appear for the rest of the series but would be mentioned several times.

Highlander: The Element of Fire

This Highlander novel tells the adventures of Connor with Duncan and their confrontation with Khordas. Events from the book:

1611 - Connor is rescued from the sea off Cape Horn by the Jugleor, captained by Farrell. Travelling with them, he befriends the first mate Carmichael and learns much of seamanship.

1626 - One year after meeting Duncan Macleod the duo goes to Aberdeen on business and encounter Nerissa, another Immortal. The next day the two Highlanders spend the day carousing with Connor's old friend Carmichael, now Captain of his own vessel. But when they see Carmichael off the day after, they witness helplessly as his ship is destroyed by fire, a blaze started by Nerissa and her insane Immortal husband Khordas (who believes himself to be a god). Nerissa shoots Connor in the chest, ensuring the two villains' escape.

1632 - Back in Scotland, Connor and Duncan hear of a village that has been attacked by Khordas. They travel there and begin tracking him, their pursuit lasting a couple of months, before they finally catch up with both Khordas and Nerissa on Rannoch Moor. Duncan takes Nerissa' head, but Khordas manages to escape.

1853 - Connor, currently captaining the HMS Rosemarie, agrees to give passage to America to Duncan and his newest student, a young woman named Amber Lynn.

1854 - Having picked up a shipment of guns and explosives in China, the Rosemarie is attacked by Khordas and his new Immortal partner Lauren. Khordas takes Amber Lynn's head, and then destroys the Rosemarie. Only Duncan and Connor survive from the ship's company.

1897 - Connor is again a seaman, this time the gunrunning Captain. David Carruthers, captain of the Dido. When Khordas and Lauren reappear in Duncan's life in his new Nantucket home, he calls on Connor and the two finally end their long running fued with Khordas, taking his head (but Lauren escapes).

Highlander: Endgame

Connor in Endgame
Connor in Endgame

In the first movie based on the TV series' timeline, both Connor and Duncan MacLeod, were forced to fight a very powerful immortal named Jacob Kell. Taking place in 2002, neither of them were strong enough to win on their own, so Connor ordered Duncan to take his head (and therefore his power and wisdom). After a lot of reluctance, Duncan was forced to kill his teacher and friend of almost 400 years, and was eventually able to kill Kell (Connor's last words were "Goodbye Duncan, my true brother"). Duncan buried Connor in the Highlands, in Glencoe, next to his first wife Heather's remains, where he wishes him to find his peace.

Personality and relationships

Several important relationships in his life:

Duncan MacLeod

'Same clan, different vintage'
"Same clan, different vintage"

Connor was regarded by his pupil and lifelong friend Duncan MacLeod as one of the greatest Immortals out there, and held the highest respect for him. Connor taught Duncan how to live, why they live, and it was only reasonable Duncan felt he owed him a lot. Though they didn't see each other a lot in the last years, they were very close and their friendship was as strong as it had always been for the nearly 350 years they knew each other. Their relationship was like a father and son, or brother to brother.

Jacob Kell

Jacob Kell was a clansman of Connor's and his childhood friend. He was also a latent immortal. He had been adopted by priest and grew up to be a religious man following his father's footsteps. When Connor came back to life after his death in the battle against the Clan Fraser, Kell believed Connor had been possessed by the devil and wished to burn him. However, Connor was just expelled from the clan. Years later, he was part of a group that planned an ambush on Connor luring him to Glenfinnan to save his mother who had been sentenced to be burned alive for giving birth to the devil. Ignoring Connor's pleas he incarcerated him and burned his mother. Enraged, Connor escaped and killed Kell and his father. Kell would later come back to life and start a personal vendetta against Connor, killing Rachel Ellenstein along the way. Being, according to The Watchers record, the most powerful immortal alive, is next target was Duncan MacLeod. Yet Connor anticipated him and offered his head to Duncan, who after some reluctance beheaded Connor. Connor's subconscience within Duncan would be instrumental on killing Kell.

Quotes

  • "I'm Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod."
  • "Stop it, you pompous Haggis!"
  • "If it came down to us two, would you take my head?"
  • "Whatever you say, Jack. You're the master race."
  • "It seems like 100 years."
  • "I'm Immortal".
  • "Love is for poets."
  • "It's a kind of Magic!"
  • "I cannot die."
  • "Don't worry. We'll be okay."
  • "You're not counting that scratch!"
  • "I'm Connor MacLeod. Same Clan. Different vintage."
  • "As long as I can remember knowing you you've had all the fun and most of the good women."
  • "Come on. That was nearly one hundred and sixty years ago."
  • "There's a fresh breeze blowing off the loch. The glen is snowy and cold. It's the most glorious sight on Earth. I've found no place to match it in four hundred years."
  • "In the days before memory, there were the Immortals. We were with you then, and we are with you now. We are driven by the endless fight to survive in a Game which knows no limits of time or place. We are the seeds of legend, but our true origin are unknown. We simply are."
  • "Once, a very long time ago, I was a Highlander. Born of this land and like this land: Immortal."
  • "Life brings hope and pain, but revenge never brings redemption."
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