Saturday 13 October 2012

King Conan Rumour Mill of Pain, Part 94

Thank you, one and all, for the veritable avalanche of emails, messages and pokes about this marvellous piece of ''news'' from The Arnold Fans just as I was getting settled in on my holiday on the Mediterranean.

A King Conan book tease!
Ten years ago helped to obtain over 14,000 signatures on our "King Conan: Crown of Iron" petition. In 2003 Arnold agreed to star in King Conan as his follow-up film to T3. We all know what happened next. Well, good news, it may be moving forward again. I've uncovered some very interesting news and comments regarding Arnold wanting back in. Not only did Jennings of TAFs speak with several of Arnold's closets friends regarding his very possible return, I also have some interesting comments from the Conan right holders at Paradox. Wait until you read these comments and interviews! Conan's Sandahl Bergman is on the book's cover with me.
Naturally, NOW is the perfect time for Arnold to reprise this role. At the end of the first two films, it shows him roughly at a 65-year-old, grey bearded and looking ballsy. Well, guess what, The Oak has matured!

I've compiled my thoughts on Crown of Iron, Conan the Conqueror, Conan the Sextagenarian or any other Venn-film where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert E. Howard's creation intersect, but I've noticed more than a few people who are still optimistic about the idea. After all, since the King Conan script has been going around the internet for so long, that suggests they could make a new story - perhaps one closer to the source material -

Let me stop you right there.

Let's recall the previous films, purely from a "fidelity to the source material" standpoint:

Conan the Barbarian - Made up story, made up characters, practically a non-adaptation.
Conan the Destroyer - Made up story, made up characters, practically a non-adaptation.
Kull the Conqueror - Botched adaptation, botched characters, simultaneously the most and least faithful adaptation of any Howard character & the only adaptation of a story, spectacular failure as an adaptation.
Solomon Kane - Made up story, made up characters, complete failure as an adaptation.
Conan the Barbarian in 3D - Made up story, made up characters, practically a non-adaptation.

You could make all manner of arguments over whether any of the above are faithful to the "spirit," or "soul," or whatever nebulous concept you care to assert is true or respectful to Howard's creation, and certainly you could argue whether there are moments or elements of the films which were suitably Howardian, but the cold hard facts show that Hollywood has a really hard time doing what so many other fantasy literature adaptations do - take a story and the characters, and put them on screen.

Already I feel like I'm repeating things I said time and time again, yet there have been enquiries over whether I'd go back to Conan Movie Blog should this umpteenth iteration of Arnold's triumphant return to the Conan franchise actually make headway. I don't know the answer to that: if I do, it'd certainly not be with anything remotely resembling the rigour and dedication of the run-up to the past film. Fool me once, and all that.

There's only one Howard adaptation I'm even a little interested in at the moment, and that's the Christophe Gans Dark Agnes project, purely because I really think the character's relative obscurity and built-in origin story combined with a decent director suggests the best chance we have for a Howard adaptation that's somewhat recognizable, as opposed to just another Sword-and-Sorcery flick that's fun, maybe even insightful, but no more related to Robert E. Howard than I, Robot was to Asimov. But I'm not foolish enough to hope that'll actually happen, merely that it's the least unlikely. For Crom's sake, we have some upcoming "adaptations" turning James Allison into Highlander, El Borak into Rambo III, "Pigeons from Hell" into Session 9, and Kull of Atlantis into Kull the Conqueror 2: a Howard film that actually has characters other than the protagonist and story elements that last longer than one scene would look like The Maltese Falcon in comparison.

Oh, if I'm wrong, I'll happily eat my crow. I will devour that crow, damn it, beak and feathers and all, make crow soup from the bones, have crow caesar salad for starters, main course of crow kiev. I'm salivating at the very possibility that eating crow about this would be an option. It would be the most delicious, satisfying crow I would ever eat. Which is why it won't happen: the cosmos didn't invent the crow to make for an enjoyable meal.

EDIT: Would you believe that this has been picked up by National Ledger?

Arnold Schwarzenegger has confirmed a 'Conan the Barbarian' remake is happening.

The 65-year-old muscleman has revealed he will start work on a 'Conan' reboot after his next project finishes shooting, and hopes original scriptwriter John Milius will be involved.

He told French website ''We've already had discussion about this, because it's a project that is particularly dear to me. I must first shoot 'Ten' with David Ayer, but then we're going to focus on 'Conan'. It remains to be seen who will direct and if John Milius will write the script.''

The former Governor of California previously admitted he would like to revisit some of his old action film classics, including 'Terminator', 'Twins' and 'True Lies'.

Speaking on his tour of the UK to promote his new autobiography 'Total Recall', Arnold paid homage to his infamous 'Terminator' line and said acting is where his passion lies, especially since the salary is infinitely better than that of a politician.

He joked: ''I didn't take a penny of my salary during my terms. After all, it was petty cash compared to what you make in the movies.''

He added: ''Thank you all for coming. I'll be back.''

The action heavyweight has also teamed up with director Justin Lin ('Fast Five') to plan the storyline for 'Terminator 5' which will allegedly take place in a parallel timeline, according to

Arnold was last seen in 'The Expendables 2' alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme and Sylvester Stallone.

Charlie Brown, he say: Good Grief. But until there's an official announcement from Paradox/CPI or anyone else, I'm still going to treat this as a rumour. After all, Arnold's said a lot of things that didn't end up panning out - as I'm sure his political opponents would not be slow to point out.


  1. Hollywood thinks they already made a faithful adaptation and it failed. They will never even pay lip service to being faithful to Howard.
    They might very well make a version of Clown of Iron, and if they do I'm sure Arnold will even have a few of his trademark one liners.

  2. To be fair, Momoa did a fantastic job as Conan, and Ron Perlman as his father.

    Other'n that, I got nothin'.

    1. Jason seems to be one of the few things that went well in the adaptation, and even then, it clearly wasn't the best he could be - just look at his Khal Drogo, where he managed to be one of the most compelling characters despite never speaking a word of English.

  3. Hero of the Federation14 October 2012 at 11:03

    The Bugs send another meteor our way !

  4. I don't feel like wading into message boards to do battle with Arnold-ites again, after the debacle of the reboot. Sigh. Well you gotta know how to pick your battles and when to just walk away.

    This is fortuitously related: may you please delete this comment at the Conan movie blog, in the interests of privacy:

    I posted it ages ago (last year), but when I enter my real name in Google it comes up first. I somehow posted in a way that linked to my real name.

    1. Sorry Martin, I've just found all your inquiries in the "spam" folder: I'll take care of it.

  5. What I find "worrying" is the number of fans on REH Forums who seem really keen on the idea!!!!

    1. Well, in fairness, you can be a fan of the film AND REH at the same time. That said, I'm afraid I can't possibly support, say, an adaptation with HotD starring Arnold. It'd be like trying to say Batman Begins was a prequel to the Adam West series: better to leave them to their own universes.

  6. People who defend these films because of their 'Howardian traits' are the worst. :)

    1. I've heard quite a few of defenses of the films which claim that they were actually more Howardian specifically because they deviated from the source material. Apparently, if they were faithful adaptations, then they would fail the spirit of Howard's chaotic and wild themes. Can't quite wrap my head around that one.

  7. Have to agree with Anonymous... Only with greater bitterness.
    I have given up hope of decent Howard adaptations.
    When Lord of the Rings hit as big as it did - amazingly good adaptations (jazzed up a bit for cinematic tastes)- I thought to myself... "Well, there will be attempts to adapt other sword and sorcery franchises... Elrik would be a promising one, what with all the angst and spectacular imagery... Or Fafhred and the Grey Mouser with mismatched buddy characters and a wild-ass sense of humor."
    I even thought that maybe a Conan reboot might be attempted that had something in common with Howard.
    What did we get? More Harry Potter. More childrens fantasies of all sorts, from Eragon to The Golden Compass... I mean, I am actually quite happy with the C.S. Lewis films but the closest to adult sword and sorcery has been the wasted Clash of the Titans, the dreary and simpleminded Solomon Kane and the wretched (Prince of Persia with tits and gore) Conan the 3D.
    I swear, the ONLY really good thing to come out of any Robert Howard film has been Basil Poledouris' music.
    The only gleam of hope I see is the success of the HBO Game of Thrones. I read the books and don't care to watch it, but it is serious stuff mounted on an epic scale and apparently pretty close in adaptation. Maybe it will lead to something in the genre that i can get behind.

    1. Jeff Shanks opined that the only way to do Conan right in today's environment is TV miniseries a la Game of Thrones or Spartacus, and frankly, I think that's our best shot. Aside from that, foreign markets would probably be more likely than Hollywood to go for fantasy films that eschew the PG-13 dollar.