Conan! What is best in life? The first Conan movie of course! Back in 1982, Conan the Barbarian was an impossible film that somehow succeeded. The fantasy genre had long since been considered box office poison, while handing an immense amount of funding cash to the manly hands of director John Milius was seen as a crazy and reckless investment. And yet, the film succeeded. Arnold Schwarzenegger became a star, a new fandom was born and holy crap was the VHS market flooded with cheap knock-off fantasy movies.
A sequel would later arrive on the scene, featuring Arnie in a film that we’d all like to forget ever existed, before the Conan brand branched out into more comics, a Saturday morning cartoon, a live-action series that was trying to bank on the buzz around Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules series and the eventual cinematic remake. And they were all crap. But Arnie is bha-ck.
A proper sequel is on the way by the name of The Legend of Conan, that’ll star Arnie as an aging king seeking one more adventure away from the throne. Fast and Furious writer Chris Morgan is producing and writing the flick, which he described to The Arnold Fans as a faithful sequel to the 1982 original film that’ll feature a few familiar faces. And proper action:
A light-hearted Conan?! CROM! No. Our tone is a logical extension of the character established in the ’82 film…but 30 years later. When we meet him again, Conan has been many things over the course of his life — a thief, a warrior, a pirate, a king, a legend — and is now an older man. Think Unforgiven…with a sword-wielding barbarian.
Comparing the Conan sequel to Unforgiven? I’m all ears. Morgan also praised the work of Milius, describing how he hopes this sequel will live up to the work started by that director, Conan creator Robert E. Howard, and artist Frank Frazetta:
Milius was a visionary. And a hero of mine. He established a milieu that is stunning and violent and clear — incomparable. The goal, the dream, is to live up to his world. To make it worthy. And to expand on it in a truthful way that audiences will embrace. We’re very lucky that the architects of this new film — the writer, the producers, the studio and most of all, Arnold — who is Conan — are all first-generation fans who either worked on the film or who came along for the ride, cheering from their theater seats opening night. We plan nothing more than to immerse ourselves in the world Milius envisioned from Robert E. Howard’s unforgettable stories and Frank Frazetta’s stunning artwork. I can’t give specifics (nobody likes a spoiler!), but know we are honoring the locales, the religions and the traditions of the ’82 film.
When asked about a possible shoot date, The Legend of Conan producer Fredrik Malmberg said “I think this fall would be perfect. The sooner the better!” It’s all down to getting the film sorted with a script, director and casting right now. It’s once again risky business, because if Morgan wants to bring back Conan as a gritty and bloody fantasy flick with an R-rating, Universal Studios might balk at the idea. Because a great idea doesn’t always equal great returns.
Just look at Mad Max: Fury Road, which despite the praise that it’s receiving, isn’t exactly making a ton of cash right now.
Last Updated: May 26, 2015