Since returning to acting after his two terms as California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s had his share of hits and misses. Despite being nearly 68 years old, he’s still the epitome of tough, while at the same time he’s still willing to take chances, as evidenced by his recent turn in the zombie drama Maggie. As Arnold is about to be seen again everywhere in one of his most iconic roles, that of the Terminator in Terminator: Genisys, talk turns again to the possibility of taking on another of his iconic roles again, Conan. Schwarzenegger last appeared as the creation of Robert E. Howard, and artist Frank Frazetta in 1984’s Conan the Destroyer, but there’s long been talk about a reprise. And naturally, there’s now more talk courtesy of the man writing the screenplay for The Legend of Conan.
Courtesy of an interview with the self-described The Arnold Fans website, Fast and Furious screenwriter Chris Morgan discussed his work on the long, long, long-awaited follow-up to the last Conan adventure. Obviously, he didn’t give away plot details, but he did refer to the expected tone of the project, and the fact that we can expect “at least three” characters from the original Conan to appear along side Schwarzenegger.
In other words, The Legend of Conan will be a logical extension of the films directed by John Milius and Richard Fleischer. There will be no happy-go-lucky Conan to speak of.
“Our tone is a logical extension of the character established in the ’82 film…but 30 years later,” said Morgan. “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.”
Sounds like good watching, but if that just sounded like words, Morgan went on to explain in detail what he was taking from Milius in creating this new Conan. “Milius was a visionary. And a hero of mine. He established a milieu that is stunning and violent and clear — incomparable,” Morgan said. 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.”
He added, “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.”
There’s still no release date in mind for the film, but producer Fredrik Malmberg said, “I think this fall would be perfect. The sooner the better!” The sooner may be better because Universal Studios may be looking at the returns of Genisys in a couple weeks to decide if another old Arnold character is worth the investment.
They’ll also be looking at the final tally for Mad Max: Fury Road, which has only scored about $88 million at the box office in two weeks. Like Mad Max, the last time anyone saw Conan was 30 years ago, so Fury Road will be a pretty good barometer for whether or not we’ll ever see Legend of Conan. Of course, the response to Mad Max hasn’t been the smash hit that studio expected it to be, so it may come down to international sales and/or the success of Terminator: Genisys that tips the scales. I guess we’ll see how it all goes.