Old King Conan or The Governator Gets a New Gig

I’ve watched this disaster unfold all last week, then the formal detailed announcement came Friday as posted on the Deadline website. Universal, in conjunction with Paradox, has a new Conan movie in the works with Arnold Schwarzenegger returning at age 63 to reprise his role as Conan. The new film, being fast tracked for a 2014 release, will be titled The Legend of Conan. Paradox’s head honcho Fredrik Malmberg describes the premise of the film in this excerpt form the film’s announcement:

The original ended with Arnold on the throne as a seasoned warrior, and this is the take of the film we will make,” Malmberg told me. “It’s that Nordic Viking mythic guy who has played the role of king, warrior, soldier and mercenary, and who has bedded more women than anyone, nearing the last cycle of his life. He knows he’ll be going to Valhalla, and wants to go out with a good battle.

Evidently it has been some time since Fred has read the original Conan stories. Last time I checked he was still a Cimmerian and his god was Crom. Howard’s Conan would not want jump into a battle just so he can die and go to “Viking heaven.” He would much rather emerge victorious and save the dying for another day.

This “direct sequel” business has me puzzled too. They will have to explain how he got from being a young Conan to that final shot from the 1982 film with an aged Conan on the throne. Will we see a younger actor with Arnold’s face CGI’d onto his body act out various scenes from Conan’s past as he rises to king as a pirate, bandit, mercenary, seasoned warrior, leader of armies and his ascension to the throne of Aquilonia in a series of flashbacks?  Also, the movie-makers will pretend like 1984’s Conan the Destroyer and last year’s re-boot of Conan the Barbarian never existed. While some strickly Conan fans think this might be a good idea, I don’t get the logic behind it.

Arnold’s obviously too old for some version of The Hour of the Dragon adaptation. Age-wise he’s more suited to de Camp and Carter’s Conan of the Isles — which no Howard fan wants to see. We’ll have to wait and see what screenwriter and producer Chris Morgan comes up with as the film progresses — that is if he finishes the script for the new Fast and Furious movie he’s penning in time to write one or at least oversee another scriptwriter for this Conan, along with his producing duties.

While there was some hope the 2011 movie would at least make an effort to capture Howard’s Conan, it just wasn’t up to the task. Momoa was a pretty good Conan, but the script was a dog. In that case they had some 27 years to get it right and didn’t. I don’t see how they can do it in less than two years. As true Howard fans have learned from previous efforts, Conan is a property to Hollywood, but a treasure to us.