‘Legend of Conan’ Update: Potential Casting, Budget, Score & 3D

Published 2 years ago by , Updated October 1st, 2013 at 10:52 pm,

legend conan arnold schwarzenegger1 Legend of Conan Update: Potential Casting, Budget, Score & 3D

Arnold Schwarzenegger turned 66 today, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at his demanding work schedule. He’ll be appearing in three different films over the next 9-12 months, before he turns his attention to one of the remaining items on his to-do list. The priority for the actor/ex-bodybuilder/ex-governor after he finishes Terminator 5 would appear to be The Legend of Conan: an installment that was first teased over thirty years ago, with the final shot in director John Milius’ Conan the Barbarian movie (showing Arnold as an older Conan sitting atop a throne, with a beard and troubled brow).

During the 2013 International Comic-Con, Fredrik Malmberg, president and CEO of Paradox Entertainment – the owner of the Conan franchise rights – provided The Arnold Fans with an update on development for Legend of Conan. The site has now published the whole of that interview, which addresses such topics as the film’s potential cast, budget, score, and the (Possibility? Inevitability?) that the fantasy epic will be released in 3D.

On the subject of how much Schwarzenegger will be the focus in Legend of Conan, Malmberg told TAF:

“The idea for this particular film is that he will be the lead, a lot of people ask if we’re going to introduce a son of Conan and passing the torch? The idea is to not. No, this is Conan’s movie. This is Arnold’s movie!”

The theory that Legend of Conan might, in essence, reboot the franchise by introducing Conan’s son gained some traction this week, based on Malmberg’s own comments (from the same TAF interview) about how the film could be the start of a new trilogy. Speaking in a purely speculative mode, that would make the film a prime opportunity to establish the next generation of Barbarian – assuming that audiences are interested in seeing that (see: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, for a cautionary example where that did NOT prove to be the case).

Old Conan in Legend of Conan Legend of Conan Update: Potential Casting, Budget, Score & 3D

Much of the anticipation for Legend of Conan is based on the proposition that this movie will serve as a final hurrah for Arnold as the eponymous character – allowing him to bid the Cimmerian warrior farewell in the appropriate meta-fashion (as far as his acting career goes). While his more recent trilogy comments might seem to contradict that idea, Malmberg’s previous claim was in line with expectations: that Legend of Conan will be to Arnold’s run as Conan what Unforgiven was to Clint Eastwood’s career in the western genre (i.e. a capstone installment).

Therefore, it could make sense for a few supporting cast members from Conan the Barbarian – save for the late Mako (who played The Wizard and narrated the film) – to return for Legend of Conan, to help Schwarzenegger finish his tenure as the character – or, at the least, help to bridge the gap to a new trilogy (see: the logic for bringing Arnold back to headline the Terminator franchise reboot).

Malmberg addressed that idea in his interview:

“There’s Sven-Ole…he’s a cool guy. I guess at this point, there’s definitely some room for that but it has to make sense and it can’t be cheesy. It has to be very believable and it’s also crucial to Arnold that this is not too much of a throwback and yet it pays homage…it should pay some respect to the original movies but there has to be a real reason for it.”

Star Wars: Episode VII will include returning cast members from the original Star Wars trilogy – for storytelling purposes – and is bringing back John Williams as the composer, in part to help and better link the new era of Star War movies to previous installments. For similar reasons, if anyone besides Schwarzenegger reprises their roles from Milius’ film in Legend of Conan, it ought to be important to the story – not just as a shout-out to longtime fans (see: fan service). That goes double, as far as the recycling of Basil Poledouris’ musical themes for Milius’ Conan the Barbarian is concerned.

When asked if Legend of Conan will reuse any of Poledouris’ recordings, Malberg gave the following intriguing (if evasive) answer:

What we could do…Jay [Zetterberg of Paradox] told me they found more of Basil’s score. There’s like another full hour of unreleased music. I didn’t know he wrote more. As he was passing, they had a big outdoor concert in Spain with he music from Conan so he definitely has a big following and the score was fantastic. The question is, are you dating the movie by the same score? But I love that score. Everyone loves that score.”

Poledouris’ central leitmotif from Conan the Barbarian (listen to it here) is quite majestic and would give the proceedings in Legend of Conan a fittingly grandiose flavor. Similarly, the inclusion of Poledouris’ primary theme in Legend of Conan would be another way to get some important bridge-building done, while allowing the chance for the film to pay respects to the past (see: the inclusion of elements from John William’s iconic Superman score in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns).

The Legend of Conan Arnold Schwarzenegger Legend of Conan Update: Potential Casting, Budget, Score & 3D

As far as the budget for Legend of Conan is concerned, Malmberg said:

“With today’s production values, we can probably do a lot more with what they were doing way back then. I mean we have seen what Peter Jackson has done. I think of course this is probably more grounded and less fantastical with less creatures and CG monsters. We want to have some of that fantastical world but we don’t want it to become a complete fantasy because what really set Conan the Barbarian apart from all the other fantasy movies is that this feels like our prehistoric earth. Still, we want to make it full of splendor.”

Schwarzenegger has said before that Legend of Conan is being designed for an A-list director to helm, with shooting to take place on-location in “Jackson’s land” (i.e. New Zealand). That news is more encouraging to hear than Malmberg’s suggestion that Legend of Conan will be a proper big-budget affair, seeing how director Marcus Nispel had a $90 million budget at his disposal for the 2011 Conan the Barbarian reboot – and yet, Hyboria in the film still felt like a collection of banal CGI establishing shots and sets, in this writer’s opinion. (Translation: A lot of cash plus modern effects and 3D alone do not an impressive “epic” make.)

On that note, as for the possibility that Legend of Conan will be shot in 3D (or post-converted), Malmberg said:

“It’s on the table and it’s a big studio picture and a big event movie. I wouldn’t rule it out but right now, all we’re concentrating on is the story. It’s a working machine with everyone and marketing people…”

3D could be a useful tool for Legend of Conan, when it comes to allowing the film’s director to capture natural landscape backdrops – with the proper amount of depth and attention to detail – and create a captivating and picturesque ancient-fantasy world backdrop (see: Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies). Or, it could just be a half-hearted gimmick, like in the Conan reboot, among other cheap 3D movies. (Your move, studio heads.)

For more on Legend of Conan, you should read the full interview with Malmberg. In the meantime, Schwarzenegger will re-team with Sylvester Stallone to film The Expendables 3 later this year, in addition to the zombie drama Maggie starring Abigail Breslin (before Arnold turns to work on the fifth Terminator movie).


The Legend of Conan may begin filming as soon as 2014, which means a 2015 or 2016 release date could be in the cards. In the meantime, stay tuned to Screen Rant for more updates on the project.

Source: The Arnold Fans

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  1. Eh boy, this will be another cheesy crapfest. Unless they do this seriously and without ahnold’s typical one liners thrn maybe it could be interesting.. If its a serious approach to an aging once hero.. Now king and how that relates to becoming perhaps obsolete in an ever changing world. Idk.. Coming from the writers of the FF franchise it will prob just be a stupid action movie that will fail miserably.

    • Conan didn’t drop a lot of one miners. He rarely spoke at al.

    • @ Bellcure
      You never the original Conan did you? @_@

  2. who do you pass the torch to? just reading this is making me laugh…
    i dont see no one asking for this movie to be made other then then arnold
    and the filmmakers. a 70 year old conan running around in his drawers sounds
    more like an old george of the jungle swinging from tree to tree. there
    are times when an actor and studio needs to let go of a character and a franchise. conan and terminator have had their time in the sun and now its
    time to put both of these franchises to sleep for good.

    • Me and a lots of other guys asking for it for a long long time !
      And really looking forward to it to be made !

      • If done right, I also think a lot of people will be interested in it. Conan was one of Arnold’s signature characters, and hopefully, it will be again. My only concern is that he is apparently committed to acting in other movies in the interim, and in Hollywood, the longer something takes, the less likely it is to actually get made.

        Get it done!

  3. WHy couldn’t they have jsut done the Jason Moma Conan movie right? He was the right guy and had the right look to be Conan, but go did that movie suck! They crapped all over the cannon on that one.

    • Crapped over the canon by following the original stories much more closely than the Arnold version did?


      • It may have been closer to canon…not knowing, I won’t argue the point…but it was an inferior film to the original. Momoa was not as big or charismatic as Arnold, the villain was not as charasmatic as James Earl Jones, there were no particular scenes that stuck with me, like there were in the original, and the musical score was mediocre at best, again nothing like the original. In each and every way, then, it was a lesser movie.

  4. We just need a reboot done right. I loved Momoa as Conan. The general audience, and from the comment sections, even the fans, don’t seem to realize that Conan predates Tolkien. It deserves to be the giant blockbuster action franchise it could be.

    • Exactly.

      Conan was around in 1930 literature and by that time, John Carter Of Mars had been around for a few decades too.

      I distinctly remember reading somewhere that the writer of Conan and HP Lovecraft both regularly traded ideas in letters to one another.

      • This is true.

        • They sure did. Some of the Lovecraftian deities are referenced in Robert E. Howard’s works. They were some bad dudes.

  5. C’mon folks. Throw your rose-tinted shades on and roll with it. If there is one role that is synonymous with Arnold it’s Conan the Barbarian. It’s fitting for him go back for a last hurrah, especially if it turns out as good or better than the first.

    I hate to bring this up as an example of an “aging hero”, but look at Batman in The Dark Knight Returns. There’s a lot of story telling potential for a Barbarian King gone bored.

    • Yes but conan was one of Arnold’s most recognisable roles because he was arguably at the apex of his physical fitness. True there is an argument that cant definitely be made that older aging heroes can be compelling .. I’m thinking Clint Easwood for example.. How he approaches it and how Ahnold will approach it is very different. A cerebral and serious look at an aging king wiuld be realli interesting, but this being Arnold and written by the team that wrote Fast and the Furious.. How can this be anything other than a dumb action movie trying to be a blockbuster?

      • “If there is one role that is synonymous with Arnold it’s Conan the Barbarian.”

        And John Matrix…

        And Dutch…

        And the T-800…

        And Douglas Quaid….

        And Joseph P. Brenner (the P stands for “p***y)

        Those are just the roles I remember off the top of my head.

        • In my opinion, his top three films are Conan, Predator, and Terminator, in no particular order, but of course, he has many other good/fun films as well.

  6. Yikes, no thank you. The re-boot (if that’s what it was) imo wasn’t good. Nor did it feel like a Conan movie. I love the originals and all, but there isn’t enough cgi to fix the now flabby, deflated Arnold. Is he just going to have a shirt on for the entire movie? lol…..

    • You don’t know much about Arnold Schwarzenegger do you. If you think he can’t get in shape for the role you are at best uninformed. Take a look at Stallone, Arnold used steroids when he competed which was legal and I’m sure he would now.

      • No, I do not believe Arnold would use steroids, as he has become such a spokesperson for genuine physical fitness. Being a former Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe, however, he definitely knows how to tone himself up, which is all he needs to do for an aged Conan, as he is a naturally big guy otherwise.

        • Arnold himself has said he used steroids. The steroids they use now are just more advanced and are used in much greater amounts. He is hardly a great example of health and fitness, he used every advantage available to win. As I said steroids were not illegal when he used them and they are not illegal now unless you are a competitive athlete. Arnold will need far more than “toning up”, he will need many months of serious heavy training, nutrition, supplements, growth hormones and testosterone to gain back any reasonable amount of muscle mass.

          • At 66, I have no doubt he is in better shape than you or I. He is a bigger man than Stallone, and he abides by a fairly regular exercise routine, so again, to portray an elder Conan, all he needs to do is tone himself up a little more. He might use some supplements, but I don’t believe he’ll return to steroid use, something which you correctly indicate was not illegal in his day. With the benefit of hindsight, he has since spoken out against them. Nevertheless, believe what you will.

  7. I need this movie i’ve waited too long for this after the closing scene in part 2. Finish it! and Do not eff it up!


    Conan still a top 5 movie imo

  9. It’ got to be better than this last stupid Conan movie with that Mexican dude who looked like a burly man bro and nothing more. Arnold is the man.

  10. I say do it… and cast Jason Mamoa as Conan’s son, only because the world needs more Jason Mamoa if it can’t have more Khal Drogo.

    • I only cared for Momoa in Stargate Atlantis, and I would not like to see him in a Conan film with Arnold. The movie should focus on Arnold/Conan, and no one else. Maybe in Part 2 or 3 of a trilogy, though, they could introduce a long lost son…

  11. I’d like to be upbeat about this but the public has been lukewarm with Arnolds latest endeavors. I don’t see how resurrecting a property that recently failed as a reboot would change this.

    • Arnold’s latest endeavors just have not looked very interesting. Many of us have fond memories of him as Conan, however, so if this is done right, it could be a big success for him and the studio.

  12. do it ARNOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. The movie will be an unmitigated disaster. Hollywood has no idea how to make sword and sorcery films. Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter worked because of the close adaption from the source material. All I ask is someone to adapt Robert E Howard’s Character of Conan faithfully. Any one who has read Howard’s stories knows that the the 2 movies captured the character correctly.