It’s hard to believe it's been 32 years since Conan the Barbarian was released, which makes plans for a three-decades-later sequel all the more bizarre. But that’s apparently the point.
Chris Morgan (Wanted, 47 Ronin) is producing the upcoming flick Legend of Conan, which will pick up with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s namesake warrior in real time. Which means, basically, he’ll be a pretty old dude, facing the challenges of an aging warrior king.
Though a Conan movie about an old Schwarzenegger seems like an odd idea, Morgan has the perfect pitch: It’s the Unforgiven of Conan movies, which is a reference to the acclaimed Clint Eastwood western about an aging outlaw who returns to action for one final job. If they can strike that vibe, yeah, this movie could rock.
Of course, all that’s well and good, but there’s still the problem of some less-than-great sequels that followed Conan the Barbarian, not to mention the recent reboot flop starring Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones). According to Morgan, they’re just skipping over all that noise and creating a direct sequel to the 1982 original. Well, that's one way to do it.
He talked at length about the project with IGN. Here’s an excerpt:
“I don't want to give away plot, but Conan's Conan to me. Look, for my money, I don't think that the right way. I'm not interested in passing on the torch. It's Conan! It's Arnold Schwarzenegger. We're bringing him back for a reason. When I say Unforgiven, I mean it's a guy who has to come back, and I want him to play his age. I want him to be looking at the later years of his life and have to contemplate this horrific threat. Sitting down and walking through the story with [Schwarzenegger], he's amazing. It's one of the projects that I am incredibly excited about, because I know when you hear Conan and you hear certain things, like the instinct is ‘There was just a Conan movie and we know those Conan things’ -- this is different, I'm telling you. I wouldn't do it if it wasn't perfectly fitting and built off that first movie and if it wasn't awesome, and it's awesome. It's a great character journey. People think it's just going to swords and hacking and effects. It is not. It is a character story. It's awesome.
Look, I think [reboot star] Jason [Momoa] is a really good actor. I love him, especially in Game of Thrones -- holy s***, he's great! But it is what it is. That's the version they set out and did. The version that I am really interested in, the one that I went to Arnold with, and went to the studio with is, it's a different version, and it really is a take on...Conan the Barbarian, people can say what they want about it, I think it's actually a brilliant movie. I think the lack of dialogue in it...I think [John] Milius did such a good job with it, such a good job. There's a lesson about what it is to be a man and a warrior and ‘What is civilization in barbarism?’ and ‘What do you believe in?’ and lessons of life. I think there's so much in that movie that we are now going to be able to jump ahead and build on that foundation that they built, those types of lessons. I think it's going to be something really special and iconic and different than people expect.”
This movie might be slipping from its original summer 2014 release date, but the more we hear, the more we want to see what they’re putting together. What do you think? Can Conan-meets-Unforgiven actually work?