The return of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Conan the Barbarian has been delayed yet again, as last week it was announced that Universal Pictures decided not to movie forward with The Legend of Conan. Producer Fredrik Malmberg later clarified that there are still plans to release The Legend of Conan (and a connected cable TV series), but according to screenwriter Chris Morgan, it’s unlikely that the sequel will use his take on the tale. With that in mind, Morgan has gone into a little more detail about what his Conan movie would have been about. He said:
To me there’s only been one Conan movie and it’s that one, there’s never been anything else. So our idea was to literally pick that movie up but 30 years later and kind of do a version of Unforgiven, where there’s something going on and Conan is not the strongest guy he used to be, he’s not the legend he used to be; he’s and old, broken guy. And this thing comes down to where now he’s got to find a reason to go on and find a different way to fight other than just with brute strength. It was a great movie that just gave validation to even at the end of someone’s life there’s real value to them.
Chris Morgan has compared The Legend of Conan to Clint Eastwood’s 1992 film Unforgiven, and has also said the movie would be a direct sequel to 1982’s Conan the Barbarian, ignoring 1984’s Conan the Destroyer. In this Collider interview, he decided to go a bit more in-depth by highlighting how The Legend of Conan would have seen Arnold Schwarzenegger’s version of Robert E. Howard’s warrior trying to be tough and formidable in a different way. After all, after 30+ years, Conan wouldn’t be the same imposing specimen, meaning he couldn’t swing a sword or beat up the bad guys like he once did. Morgan didn’t provide any specific details regarding the plot, perhaps because there may be an inkling of hope that his vision will be realized one day. But as he sees it, that probably won’t happen.
As for why his version of The Legend of Conan was passed on, Chris Morgan speculated that the studio decided it was too expensive to be worth their time. When it was suggested that they might have had better luck with a different actor playing the main protagonist instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Morgan responded:
Frankly I wouldn’t have been interested if it was anyone but him, I don’t think that story would have been the same and I don’t think it would’ve had the importance for me that it did. So that’s not something I ever would have pitched or backed.
Now that Conan Properties controls the full rights to Conan the Barbarian, they’ll be planning what to do with the character in the coming years, and a movie is a big part of their plans. Whether an altered The Legend of Conan would still involve Arnold Schwarzenegger or bring in a new actor (giving it more in common with the 2011 Conan the Barbarian movie) remains to be seen.
Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more news on what’s happening with Conan the Barbarian on both the movie and TV fronts.