Not content with recently snapping up the rights to the biggest name in fantasy, The Lord of the Rings, in order to develop a TV series fit to rival the juggernaut that is Game of Thrones, Amazon has set its sights on adapting yet another classic fantasy franchise – that of the pulp hero Conan the Barbarian.
Deadline are reporting that the internet giant has tapped Ryan J. Condal, best known as the co-creator and showrunner for the currently-airing sci-fi drama Colony and the screenplay of the better of the two 2014 Hercules adaptions (the one starring Dwayne Johnson) to create the tentatively-titled Conan. Joining Condal as executive producer on the series is the Emmy Award-winning Warren Littlefield (for both Fargo and The Handmaid’s Tale), and Miguel Sapochnik, who won an Emmy for his work on the epic Game of Thrones episode Battle of the Bastards, is on board to direct the pilot.
Created by Robert E. Howard (who also created Kull and Solomon Kane), Conan first appeared in print in 1932 in a fantasy story published in Weird Tales magazine, with a further 16 stories written by Howard published in the magazine between 1933 and 1936, when he passed away at the young age of 30. Conan proved to be an enduringly popular character however, with many other authors – including the likes of Poul Anderson, L. Sprague de Camp, Robert Jordan, and Harry Turtledove – telling tales involving the character over the years.
He’s also appeared in numerous other media formats – including comics, video games, and television – but his most famous and recognisable portrayal was by a young Arnold Schwarzenegger (in the role which launched him into super-stardom) in the 1982 feature Conan the Barbarian and its 1984 sequel Conan the Destroyer. Conan the Barbarian received a lackluster feature reboot back in 2011, with Jason Momoa in the lead, which failed dismally at the box office. However following that there was talk of a new sequel to the original Conan the Barbarian, with Schwarzenegger keen to reprise the role which made him a household name, but in 2017 Universal dropped the project, although there was a possibility of a TV series.
And that’s where it appears Amazon have now stepped in. Condal’s adaption will reportedly return to the literary roots of the character and see the young Conan wandering the world, encountering mysterious and dangerous adversaries, all while trying to find his place in the world. It’s a concept that works very well for a TV series, particularly one with such an absolute wealth of history to delve into.
If I’m being perfectly honest I’m more interested in this than I am in their Lord of the Rings series because Conan inhabits a darker, dirtier, bloodier world. It’ll be interesting to see how far they push this series, should they choose to move ahead with it, because I suspect they’d edge closer to the R-rated side of things with Conan than they would with The Lord of the Rings. I can practically hear the lamentations already.
What do you think?
Last Updated: February 6, 2018