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The Kurgan

kurgan1a.jpg
The Kurgan as The Black Knight

Kurgan Timeline--When Clancy Brown appeared on the screen in the first Highlander film, he created such an imposing character that no later interpretation of the franchise has offered anything to challenge his position as the numero uno villain of the Highlander world. His portrayal was so strong that even the recent comic series by Dynamite Comics utilized his character several times in flashbacks.
 
Events listed on this timeline are taken from the first film; the first draft of the film script; references in the Watchers’ Chronicles; the screen of his chronicle in the series episode The Watchers, and the novelization by Garry Killworth (Douglas). Added details are from the new Highlander comic book series.

Ca. 900 B.C.E--A boy is raised by the Kurgans, an “ancient people” who threw children into a pit with the wolves. They lived on the steppes of what would become modern Russia. When he is five, his father crushes the boy’s head with a rock, which leaves him scarred. In return, the boy feeds his father hot stones while he sleeps and kills him. He tells his mother that a bear killed his father. At the age of twelve he left home to join bandits preying on caravans crossing the steppes between India and the Mediterranean. At age twenty-five, he may have died his first death as he recalls that he stopped aging and his physical strength stabilized. (HLN)

 

Before 800 B.C.E.--The Kurgan is found by an Arab, a Bedu, who tells him what he is, how to recognize others of his kind, and of the Game and the Gathering. After he is trained, his teacher warns him to kill other immortals when he first meets them and not give them another chance to improve their skills. The Arab also predicts that the Kurgan will be among those at the Gathering. The Kurgan then kills his teacher while the man sleeps and takes his scimitar to use. Much later he will exchange it for a broadsword. After all… there can be only one. (HLN)

 

479 B.C.E.--Allying himself with the Persians, possibly as one of the fighting unit called “the Immortals”, The Kurgan takes part in the Battle of Plataea in ancient Greece. During the battle he faces off with a Spartan warrior who is the immortal who later bears the name Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez. Ramirez wields a katana made by the master sword-smith Masamune. The sword is strong enough to shatter the Kurgan’s blade. Luckily he escapes by falling down a cliff and being borne away by the battle. The Kurgan learns the value of steel and a well-crafted blade. (HLWOS)

 

Circa 410 C.E.--The Kurgan joins the Vandals, Goths, and Visigoths in attacking Rome and other Roman settlements. He also fights with the Goths against the Huns. (HLN)

 

Circa 5th Century--The Kurgan allies himself the Huns and helps them spread fear and terror. Kurgan likely fought at the side of Attila the Hun (400-453 C.E.). (HLN, HLscript)

 

Circa 5th to 9th Century--The Kurgan fights alongside the Tartars of the Gobi and ancient Turkey. (HLN)

 

Circa 8th to 12th Century--The Kurgan joins Viking raiders, relishing the fear of God (or rather the Devil) such forces put in those they attacked in Europe. (HLN)

 

Circa 13th Century--The Kurgan allies himself with the Mongol horde of Ghengis Khan (1206-1227). (HLN)

 

Circa 1400--The Kurgan spends time in Florence during the reign of the Borgias. He has a whore while there whose nipples were sliced off. She thought he was a kindred spirit when she saw all of his scars. He laughed, but encouraged her to laugh as well. He did have a sense of humor. (HLN)

 

20 March 1452—A Watcher sees The Kurgan killed and then revive. He enters him into the Chronicles as a new immortal at that time. That mistake is still on the database in 1993. (HLS, The Watchers)

 

1453-1535The Kurgan spends time in Moscow. (HLS, The Watchers)

 

1472The Kurgan takes the head of Ivan Trotsky according to the Watcher database. (HLS, The Watchers)

 

Before 1500--The Kurgan has three battles with the immortal known as Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez. The battles occur over a number of centuries in Babylon, Greece, and China. He nearly kills Ramirez the last time.  (HL)

 

 

Circa 1535--After a battle, the Kurgan faces off with the Mongol, the only two figures still alive. The two men charge one another on horseback. The Kurgan successfully kills his opponent. Afterwards, he comments “Now for the boy, Connor MacLeod” and heads for Scotland. (HLN)

 

1536--Arriving in the Scottish Highlands, The Kurgan allies himself with the Fraser clan and urges them to make war on the Clan MacLeod. He warns them that when the battle comes, the one called Connor is not to be touched but saved for him. His fearsome armor gives him the title “The Black Knight”. During the battle, he stabs Connor MacLeod through the chest with his immense broadsword, but is swept away by other MacLeods before he can behead the boy. He misses his opportunity.

 

1536-1610The Kurgan is in the Scottish Highlands during this time frame according to the Watchers. (HLS, The Watchers)

 

1541--Hearing that Connor miraculously survived his death wound and was banned from his village, The Kurgan sees another opportunity to rid himself of the boy. He travels to the village of Glencoe and attacks the Highlander’s holding. Instead of Connor MacLeod, he finds his old adversary Ramirez. Ramirez manages to slice the Kurgan’s throat, scarring him and ruining his voice. The Kurgan however survives and this time, the Egyptian is not so lucky. The Kurgan takes his head. The fierce quickening helps to destroy the ancient tor. Believing that Heather is Ramirez’ lover, he rapes her and moves on. He has missed another opportunity to kill “the boy”.

 

1611-1619The Kurgan spends time in Milan according to the Watcher database. (HLS, The Watchers)

 

1663The Kurgan takes the head of Flavio Parrochi according to the Watcher database. (HLS, The Watchers)

 

Circa 1686--Three centuries before his final battle, The Kurgan has a genius make a custom broadsword to his specifications. The blade can be disassembled and hidden in a case. Before that time, no one looked twice at a man carrying a sword.

 

1700-1755The Kurgan is in Northern Africa according to the Watcher database. (HLS, The Watchers)

 

1750The Kurgan encounters Sunda Kastagir according to the Watcher database. (HLS, The Watchers)

 

Circa 18th-19th Century--The Kurgan fights alongside the Cossacks in Eastern Europe and Russia.

 

1804--The Kurgan joins the naval forces of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and while serving aboard one ship runs into Connor MacLeod serving aboard the H.M.S. Victory under Admiral Nelson. MacLeod is able to fatally stab the Kurgan, but before he can behead him, a mainmast falls and the two are separated. Moreover, MacLeod’s weapon is lodged in the Kurgan’s body. The ship is sunk, taking the Kurgan to the sea’s bottom where he revives and claims the Masamune katana as his own. (HLWOS)

 

1918--In Galluzo, Italy The Kurgan hires two gypsy women, Natasha and Stasya, to lure Francesco, an immortal monk, off of holy ground with the promise of sexual favors. Once the monk is off of holy ground, the Kurgan challenges him and quickly takes the head of the unarmed Francesco. Afterwards, he has his way with the two women. While he is sleeping, Stasya steals the Masamune katana in payment for services rendered. They leave him his broadsword. Stasya will later trade/sell it in 1966 to Antonio Direnzo. Stasya and Natasha leave the Kurgan sleeping. (HLWOS)

 

1963--The Kurgan begins working with Soviet scientists in a breeding and training program meant to develop super-soldiers. He takes charge of the military training of the soldiers at the facility in East Berlin. The facility happens to be on holy ground. (HLC)

 

12 January 1964--When immortals led by Connor MacLeod infiltrate the East Berlin facility, The Kurgan senses them. MacLeod issues a challenge for the Kurgan to leave holy ground and meet him in single combat. The Kurgan laughs and releases the super-soldiers to battle the MacLeod, the other immortals, and the rest of his team. One of the soldiers is about to finish off MacLeod when the Kurgan stops him, planning on doing it himself once MacLeod is no longer on holy ground. Dr. Volkov, one of the scientists, sets off an alarm leading to an explosion. The Kurgan is buried in the rubble with his super-soldiers. (HLC)

 

Digging their way out, they hear the sirens of oncoming authorities and The Kurgan orders his men to quickly withdraw from the area. But the Kurgan has one stop to make before leaving. He stops at Dr. Volkov’s home and kills his wife and daughter. Then he and his team leave for a second facility in Siberia. When MacLeod and the others arrive at the airport, MacLeod manages to get aboard the transport plane and hide although the Kurgan knows he is aboard and is unconcerned. (HLC)

 

13 January 1964--Waiting until they are over Siberia, Connor MacLeod and The Kurgan fight. MacLeod goes down and the Kurgan orders his men to prepare to throw MacLeod’s body out of the plane as soon as he takes his head. MacLeod breaks free and dives at the Kurgan so that they are both swept out of the plane. The wrestle and continue to fight as they fall to the ground and are killed. Both the transport plane and the smaller one MacLeod’s team are on land and prepare to fight. MacLeod and the Kurgan revive and resume their battle. The Kurgan wins and is preparing to behead MacLeod when an explosion charge set by Dr. Volkov goes off and blows the Kurgan out of the building. (HLC)

 

1964--When the spring thaw hits Siberia, a thin and emaciated Kurgan revives and arises from a river, still bearing his broadsword. (HLC)

 

1981-1985--Watcher James Horton is assigned to The Kurgan. Witnessing his brutal nature and his excessive personality helps convince Horton that immortals are evil. (WC)

 

1985--In New Jersey, The Kurgan beheads a Polish national named Osta Vasilek. Later he finds security guard Yung Dol Kim who kneels before him rather than fight. Kurgan takes his head. (HL, lost scene)

 

1985--A day or so later The Kurgan drives into New York City where he meets a prostitute who propositions him and then a drug pusher. While he sends the prostitute away, he samples the pusher’s drugs. Driving off he hears the news report about the man dying at Madison Square Garden… a man with no name. But Kurgan knows his name… he knows that Iman Fasil is dead and knows that Connor MacLeod has killed him. He drives to the Ansonia Hotel and rents a room using the name Victor Kruger. In his room, number 315, he assembles his custom-made broadsword and goes through several moves. A prostitute named Candy is sent to his room by the desk clerk. He puts the sword away to attend to Candy. Afterwards, he warns the desk clerk never to speak to him and heads into the night to find his next target. (HLN, HL)

 

Finding Connor MacLeod walking with a young woman named Brenda Wyatt, The Kurgan attacks. Strangely MacLeod seems unarmed and reluctant to fight, but defends himself well. When a police helicopter shines a spotlight on them, the Kurgan vanishes into the darkness and warns MacLeod “Another time, Highlander!” (HL)

 

1985--A day or so later, The Kurgan meets Sunda Kastagir in battle. After he takes his head, he stabs and lifts on the point of his sword a man firing rounds from a machine gun at him. He drops him to take in Kastagir’s quickening and leaves the survivalist for dead. The survivalist, Matunas,will  survive and give the police a description of the “madman”. The Kurgan rips off the roof of a parked car, throws the driver out and calls the man’s wife “Mom.” Then he drives off at a reckless and high rate of speed, Mom screaming in terror. Now, only Connor MacLeod is left. The prize will soon be his. While drinking in a bar, The Kurgan sees a police sketch of the “madman”. A bartender eyes him suspiciously. The Kurgan leaves and then cuts his hair to help disguise himself. (HL)

 

1985--The Kurgan begins to follow MacLeod. He remains just out of sight and range while MacLeod and the woman Brenda tour a zoo. Later he follows MacLeod to a church and taunts him, even mentioning how Ramirez died on his knees and that after he took his quickening he raped his woman. Seeing MacLeod’s reaction, the Kurgan realizes that the woman he raped was MacLeod’s woman and that she had never told him. MacLeod is ready to fight him then and there, but the Kurgan decides to play a waiting game. He taunts passing nuns, other parishioners and a priest who chastises him. “I’ve got something to say. It’s better to burn out than to fade away!” He leaves the church but avoids MacLeod. (HL)

 

Later The Kurgan follows Brenda to her apartment and kidnaps her. He terrorizes Brenda in another high-speed and reckless driving of a car. Then he calls MacLeod and lets him hear Brenda scream. He tells when and where to meet him and then hangs up. He ties Brenda to the Silvercup sign so she can watch and waits for Connor MacLeod to arrive. They participate in an epic final battle, both knowing that this it, there is no tomorrow for one of them. They cut through the supports of a small water tower and then crash through a skylight to the floor below. They face off again. The Kurgan disarms MacLeod and is ready to kill him when Brenda, who has feed herself, conks him on the head. He laughs, but as his attention is momentarily diverted, MacLeod is able to retrieve the Masamune katana. Reinvigorated, MacLeod fights like one renewed and is able to behead the Kurgan whose quickening releases a monumental amount of quickening that even resembles a dragon at one point. (HL)

 

February 1987--Some vestige of The Kurgan’s personality begins to haunt Connor MacLeod causing him to briefly become a hunter rather than allowing the Game to come to him. MacLeod subdues his enemy’s personality. (HLC)

 

Autumn 1993--Joe Dawson shows The Kurgan’s database page to Duncan MacLeod. While much of the information is wrong, notably the date of The Kurgan’s first death, it does list a few of his other victims including Ivan Trotsky and Flavio Parrochi. (HLS, The Watchers)

 

Highlander, the original film (HL)

Highlander, the filmscript (HL script)

Highlander, the novelization by Garry Kilworth/Douglas (HLN)

Highlander the Comic, issues 1-4, 6 by Brandon Jerwa (HLC)

Highlander: Way of the Sword, comic mini-series by J. T. Krul (HLWOS)

The New Watchers’ Chronicles (WC)

Highlander the Series (HLS)

 

 

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In the end, all shall be one

In the end, all shall be one.