Today’s question touches a part of my soul that little can, as it’s about one of my favorite films ever:
So, obviously, the original “Conan the Barbarian” is probably the greatest sword and sorcery movie ever made. The ending was left open for a sequel that would tell the story of Conan the king. But of course, that movie has never been made. Only 3D Hollywood nonsense that makes me want to puke blood. Arnold seems to be getting to a properly kingly age, and John Milius doesn’t seem to be too busy these days. Should I still hold out hope for a decent Conan sequel, or will I have to write that screenplay myself?
First, I just want to say that I’m glad that it’s obvious to you how awesome Conan the Barbarian is. The fact that this realization can actually escape anyone’s mind will continue to baffle me to the end of my days. If you watch Conan, and don’t understand the magnitude of its awe-inspiring amaze-itude your soul is broken.
If you haven’t seen the movie, find it somewhere and watch it. It’s masterfully written, directed and scored. I won’t, however, mention the acting, except for James Earl Jone’s awesomeness and a pretty rad cameo by Max von Sydow as King Osric. It took some liberties over Robert E. Howard‘s stories (which are likewise dear to my heart), but Milius’ liberties work well.
No one can ever replace that face. No one.
The new movie is a complete disgrace, and an affront to all that is good and holy in the world. What would have made some amount of sense, would have been a complete reboot back to the original writings of Robert E. Howard, but instead they chose to remake a movie that needed no remake.
So clearly, the new movie sucks, but where does that leave us with King Conan? Milius has been expressing his desire to make a King Conan movie ever since the Barbarian was released in 1982. The original ending has the narrator saying:
Many wars and feuds did Conan fight. Honor and fear were heaped upon his name and, in time, he became a king by his own hand…
Then later on when they released the Collector’s Edition DVD, they changed it to:
Many wars and feuds did Conan fight. Honor and fear were heaped upon his name and, in time, he became a king by his own hand… And this story shall also be told.
For a long while I viewed this as just a tease. I waited and waited, and the story was never told. Then, back in 2001, there was suddenly a script! King Conan: Crown of Iron!
Arnold looking badass as King Conan.
Not only was the movie finally in the works, but Arnold and Basil Poledouris were even on board! All of my dreams were coming true. Then in 2003 everything came to a crashing halt. Apparently much of it was the fault of the Wachowski brothers who Warner Brothers forced Milius to work with. As if they hadn’t screwed up the Matrix franchcise enough (Neo Jesus? Really guys?), they needed to destroy Conan as well. You can read more of the details on The Arnold Fans website. But also during this time, Arnold became the Governator and abandoned all of his adoring fans.
Warner Brothers continued to try and get the movie made (even having Robert Rodriguez on board for a bit), and then they finally gave up and sold the rights for Conan over to Paradox Entertainment in 2007. There was a lot of talk about maybe King Conan being Arnold’s big “comeback” film after his stint as governer, and there could still be some amount of truth to this. Milius has said that he’s not sure he would want to be involved (which isn’t surprising given all the crap he went through with Warner Brothers), but Arnold never officially denounced or backed out of the project.
Arnold has talked a lot about reprising some of his older roles (The Predator and Running Man among them), so a King Conan movie doesn’t seem too far off. But with the new movie probably turning into a flop that time forgot (it’s making less money than the new Spy Kids movie), will anyone have the courage to take up the mantle of King Conan again? Did Warner Brothers and the Wachowski brothers ruin it for everyone? Or will some brave soul step forward?
The 2001 script only got close to production because a petition was signed by Arnold fans to get the movie made, and the producers responded. Arnold knows we want, Milius knows we want it, so only time will tell if they’re going to acquiesce to the fans, and try to give it to us once again.
For my own part, I have faith that Arnold will do the right thing. I have to believe King Conan will be made. There are too many people out there that desperately need this film in order for their lives to feel complete. All we can do now is write nice letters to Arnold and Milius, boycott that piece of crap that’s currently in the theater, and pray to Crom (even if you have no tongue for it) for the movie that never was. Then maybe, just maybe, we will truly have the Greatest Story Ever Told. And if they do not listen… then to Hell with them!
Yours in Eternal Frustration,
The Dungeon Master
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