A clansman to Connor MacLeod, Jacob Kell would become one of his greatest nemesis, forcing the Highlander to finally lay down his life to protect the ones he cared for.
Early LifeEditRaised in Glenfinnan alongside Connor MacLeod, Jacob Kell was Connor's greatest childhood friend. He was also a latent Immortal. He had been adopted by priest Father Rainey and grew up to be a religious man following his father's footsteps. When Connor became fullly Immortal after his death in the battle against Clan Fraser, Kell believed Connor had been possessed by the devil and wished to burn him. When Connor was just banished from the clan, Kell became part of a group that planned an ambush on Connor years later. When the group was ready, Kell had Connor's mother, Caiolin, arrested on charges of "giving birth to the devil," and sentenced her to be burned at the stake.
The lure worked perfectly. Word reached Connor in Glencoe, and he immediately rode to Glenfinnan to rescue Caiolin, where he was captured and imprisoned. Ignoring Connor's pleas, Kell burned Caiolin that very night. Enraged, Connor escaped and slaughtered several of the Glenfinnan residents, including Father Rainey and Kell. But Kell didn't stay dead - instead, he awoke an Immortal, and in a life of vengeance that would bury whatever kindness had remained in him.
A Life of RevengeEdit
The new Jacob Kell devoted his life to killing, taking heads at any opportunity. In his spite for the Game, he completely disregarded the Rules, and assembled a private army of Immortals: Faith, Jin Ke, Cracker Bob, Winston Erhuero, Manny Rieta and Carlos Dash. In direct violation of the Third Rule, Kell's followers swarmed on unsuspecting targets, pinning them down so that Kell himself could take their heads with a minimum of fuss.By the time of the Gathering, Kell, according to The Watchers record, was one of the most powerful Immortals alive, with over six hundred kills to his name. He decided it was time to seek out his old "friend" Connor. Once again baiting the Highlander by endangering his friends, Kell lured Connor back to New York City and his old antique shop, home of Rachel Ellenstein. When Connor rounded the corner to see his old home and foster daughter, Kell struck, detonating a hidden explosive. Rachel died in a massive explosion, and Connor, in an agony of grief, retreated to a Watcher sanctuary. In 2004, after finding Connor in The Sanctuary, he told Connor his next target: Duncan MacLeod. Neither Connor or Duncan 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 and challenged Kell. Kell, on the other hand, killed all of his followers (except Faith in the Producer's cut). In the final battle, Duncan (with the help of Connor inside of him) was able to defeat and behead Kell.
PersonalityEditKell prefers to use words rather than trying to be physically intimidating (ala Kurgan). Kell made his intentions very clear to the Sanctuary Immortals saying "...I do not care about the game. I don't care about the rules. I don't even care about these pathetic souls that you keep locked away as a barrier to the Prize." All that Kell cares about is becoming "The One" at the end. He is a master manipulator, and the single most powerful immortal to ever live (although this is disputed by The Kurgan being said to be "the strongest of all of the immortals"). Before his death, he had taken 665 heads. (666 in the Theatrical Cut). No other immortal would dare challenge Kell, because he was too powerful to go up against. Also, he is the only immortal to ever beat Duncan in a swordfight. Had he not allowed Duncan the opportunity to "go on living and suffer the same curse as Connor" and had he chosen to take Duncan's head, he easily could have. No other immortal has ever done that to Duncan.
In earlier scripts of the movie, Kell was originally named Jacob Kase. But the producers felt that the character's name thought not Scottish in origin was too similar to the third movies villain Kane. Also critics of the film praised Bruce Payne's performence in the film. Bilkly Idol and Jean Claude Van Damme were considered for the role of Kell.