For the last few years, Legend of Conan (aka King Conan or Conan the Conqueror) – the proposed ‘true’ sequel to 1982’s Conan the Barbarian – has been in an off again/on again status by Universal. The film was most likely pushed aside, numerous times, due to “higher priority” projects (i.e. Terminator Genisys) that involve the series’ returning star, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Over the years, City on Fire has collected news updates regarding the development Legend of Conan. Here’s what we learned in the process:
1. Schwarzenegger will return to the title role and the movie is “100% happening,” says Frederik Malmberg, Paradox Entertainment’s President and CEO.
2. Legend of Conan will ignore both 1984’s Conan the Destroyer and 2011’s Conan reboot that starred Jason Momoa. It will pick up exactly where John Milius’ 1982 movie ended, focusing on an older Conan who has survived countless wars and bedded even more women as he searches for his life’s final battle.
3. Chris Morgan will serve as both producer and screenwriter for Legend of Conan. His credits include Wanted and Fast Five: “We think this is a worthy successor to the original film. Think of this as Conan’s Unforgiven,” says Morgan. Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center) is also one of the writers.
4. During a Q&A screening of 2013’s The Last Stand, Arnie explained that Universal admitted ‘the previous regime has missed the boat’ and they wanted to produce a serious action movie with a top director and top writers: “[Universal] finally came forward and said, ‘You’re absolutely right. The previous regime has missed the boat here. We want to pick it up. We’re going to buy the rights and we’re going to be serious about it and make a quality film with an A-director and with A-writers and so on. And we want you to participate in this. We want you to star and you to play Conan. We’re going to take a story where Conan is at that age so it’s totally believable and you’re not looking like a 30-year old action guy.”
5. Paul Verhoeven (Robocop, Total Recall) has expressed his love for 1982’s Conan and he has openly stated that he’s interested in directing Legend of Conan if given the chance.
6. Fredrik Malmberg, one of Legend of Conan’s producers, had this to say: “We want to polish up the script, specifically about the characters…” He adds: “A lot of directors have come fourth and expressed interest… we have been in touch with old great names and new fresh faces. We’re excited about finding the right guy for that.”
7. Schwarzenegger has supposedly invited Shankar (Anniyan, I) to direct Legend of Conan. Shankar is known for directing high budget Tamil films (he’s considered the pioneer of vigilante movies in Tamil).
8. Chris Morgan, Legend of Conan’s producer/co-writer told TAF: “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.” He also mentioned that three characters are returning from the first Conan movie.
9. “…I’m sitting on the throne for years and years – decades, and then all of the sudden, the time comes when they want to overthrow me. So that story WILL be told and that movie WILL be done,” said Arnold.
10. After all these years, Legend of Conan is moving forward. Just recently, Schwarzenegger (via The Arnold Fans) mentioned that he will be soon meeting Shane Black (the director of the upcoming Predator movie) to discuss a possible role (as Dutch?). And he also said this: “There’s also a meeting coming up soon about Conan, about the project moving forward.”
Updates: Unfortunately, the 3rd Conan film looks unlikely at this point. Here’s what Chris Morgan, the film’s would-be producer, recently had to say: “At the end of the day, the studio decided that they weren’t gonna make that,” Morgan told EW. “I gotta say, it’s honestly a heartbreak. I love that first movie so much, so much, it’s one of my favorite movies… ultimately, the budget was big, the studio was not really sure of the title, and the relevance in the marketplace.”