’s tough for any project to get a lot of traction right now as the strike keeps any film without a finished script in limbo, but that’s not stopping the deal makers from doing what they do best, which, besides picking up 14 year old boys at the mall, is making deals. The latest deal that’s been made is going to pave the way for Conan’s return to your local movie theater – Lionsgate has signed on to distribute the next version of Robert E Howard’s famous barbarian.

Lionsgate and Nu Image, the folks who now have the rights to Conan, are right now working on launching the surprisingly good (and exceptionally gory) Rambo. Apparently they decided they liked working together. The new Conan will have a script by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer, the fine artisans who crafted the screenplay for Sahara, but it seems they haven’t quite finished it yet. The film is set to start shooting later this year, but that depends on when the strike ends… or when the folks involved make a deal with the WGA. Apparently Nu Image and Lionsgate are in the preliminary stages of following Tom Cruise’s footsteps and coming to terms with the WGA independently, which would allow Oppenheimer and Donnelly to get back to work.

With a distributor in place – and the possibility of a completed script on the horizon – Conan should start moving faster and faster in the coming weeks. Looks like we’re in for a deluge of specious rumors and fake scoops claiming to know who will be playing the barbarian!