Although director Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur retelling was frequently referred to as Knights of the Round Table during pre-production and filming, the movie is now officially titled King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Warner Bros. Pictures confirmed the Legend of the Sword subtitle when it announced the movie as being part of the studio’s lineup for its San Diego Comic-Con 2016 panel. Presumably, the first proper trailer footage from Ritchie’s King Arthur film adaptation will be unveiled during its Comic-Con presentation too.
The previously-released synopsis for Legend of the Sword suggests the film will be something of a cross between a medieval adventure story and one of Ritchie’s trademark British gangster flicks (Snatch; Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; RocknRolla). Case in point: this film’s version of young Arthur (played by Sons of Anarchy and Pacific Rim star Charlie Hunnam) is described as being something of a criminal/anti-hero at the beginning of the film – namely, he’s “a streetwise young Arthur who runs the back alleys of Londonium [sic] with his gang, unaware of the life he was born for until he grasps hold of the sword Excalibur—and with it, his future.”
Hunnam has confirmed that his version of Arthur is more street-smart that previous versions seen on the big screen and small screen alike, having told EW “He’s a bit rough around the edges, but he’s basically a survivor. There’s definitely a harder edge than people would imagine.” You can check out the first image of Jude Law (who costarred in Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies as Dr. Watson) as Arthur’s tyrannical uncle, Vortigern, in Legend of the Sword below.
EW’s report reveals that Legend of the Sword‘s version of Vortigern – a villain who has previously been portrayed by such actors as Rutger Hauer (in the TV series Merlin) – possesses “a set of deadly magical powers” that he uses to claim the throne and murder his brother: Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon (Eric Bana). Other key players from Ritchie’s rendition of the King Arthur legend include Djimon Hounsou (The Legend of Tarzan) as Bedivere, Arthur’s mentor and the leader of the resistance against Vortigern. Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) also costars as Guinevere, another member of the resistance and – one presumes – the romantic interest for young Arthur.
On that note – here’s a fresh image of Hunnam looking decidedly “rough around the edges” as young Arthur in the film (again, per EW):
Although Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies were big commercial successes (enough so to keep hopes for Sherlock Holmes 3 alive), the director’s big screen adaption of 1960s TV show The Man from U.N.C.L.E. failed to gain much traction at the box office last year, despite being well-received by critics. Ritchie certainly still has a loyal fanbase, but the pairing of his name and another King Arthur re-telling might not have much more crossover appeal than Man from U.N.C.L.E. did. Legend of the Sword was originally scheduled to arrive in theaters on July 22nd of this year (where it would have faced off with Star Trek Beyond), but WB then elected to move the film to Spring 2017 instead – possibly, because the studio has its own concerns about the movie’s box office prospects.
Then again, WB’s Legend of Tarzan is performing better at the box office than many predicted, so Legend of the Sword may yet follow suit. That’s assuming it doesn’t get completely overshadowed by Power Rangers, which opens in U.S. theaters on the same day as Ritchie’s film.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword opens in U.S. theaters on March 24th, 2017.