Working off Robert E. Howard’s source material, writer/director John Milius helped propel former-Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger to stardom with 1982’s Conan the Barbarian. It was the perfect role for Schwarzenegger at the time, as a half-naked barbarian gave the performer a role that’d showcase his physique as well as the stunted yet weirdly charismatic charm that earned him millions of dollars and political office. Follow-up Conan the Destroyer (1984) isn’t looked at as fondly (fucking ephemeral shit), though its promise of continued adventures gave fans hope they’d see a true and proper Conan sequel someday. You’d think the 2011 Jason Momoa-infused remake would’ve killed that dream dead.
You’d be wrong. According to this Deadline piece, not only is a new Conan movie in the works, it’ll return Arnold Schwarzenegger to the title role. Let’s crack open that bottle of aspirin together:
Universal Pictures has made a deal for The Legend of Conan, an action film that will star Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of his signature roles as Robert E. Howard’s mythic barbarian. The deal brings Conan and Schwarzenegger back to Universal, which released the first film that launched Schwarzenegger’s movie career back in 1982. Universal has world rights on the film.
But wait, it gets weirder:
There are no plans for Momoa to return. [Producer Chris] Morgan said that in his mind, The Legend of Conan not only skips over that film, but also the 1984 sequel that Schwarzenegger starred in. The direct link is to the original, which was directed by John Milius from a script that he wrote with Oliver Stone.
A direct sequel to the original film, then. Supposedly Schwarzenegger is stoked to be back worshiping Crom, but he’s got a ways to go to get back in barbarian shape. The Deadline piece throws the word “reboot” around, but at 65 (and looking like it) it’s hard to imagine Arnold rebooting anything at this stage of his career. This approach sounds similar to Halloween: H20, a sequel that returned Jaimie Lee Curtis to the franchise and roundly ignored the films she hadn’t participated in.
Call me cynical, but I’m anticipating audiences to be about as enthusiastic for this as they were the last reboot. The movie geek in me is stirring and anticipating the final form this project will take, but will mainstream ticket buyers feel the same?