It's been reported that Warner Bros. Pictures is currently focusing on building movie franchises over one-off films, including such lucrative (and well-established) brands as the Harry Potter/Wizarding World property and the budding DC Extended Universe of live-action DC Comics adaptations. WB's game plan may also include a six-part King Arthur movie saga, starting with the release of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword in theaters in 2017.
Legend of the Sword was known as Knights of the Round Table early on during its development and is being directed by Guy Ritchie: the British filmmaker known for such quirky crime genre fare as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and RocknRolla. Ritchie was also responsible for WB's hit Sherlock Holmes movies (starring Robert Downey Jr.), as well as the studio's The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: a film that under-performed at the box office last year and failed to kickoff a franchise, as hoped for. Whether Legend of the Sword will follow in Sherlock Holmes or Man from U.N.C.L.E.'s footsteps at the box office, is a matter that's open to debate and speculation at this stage.
Naturally, WB is making a strong push for Legend of the Sword to become a commercial hit and decided to promote the film during its Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2016. The studio showed off the first trailer for Ritchie's King Arthur film to the Hall H crowd too, before releasing it online for everyone else to watch. You can check out the trailer above, then read on for the official synopsis for Legend of the Sword (starring Pacific Rim and Sons of Anarchy's Charle Hunnam as the young Arthur):
The bold new story introduces 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. Instantly challenged by the power of Excalibur, Arthur is forced to make some hard choices. Throwing in with the Resistance and a mysterious young woman named Guinevere, he must learn to master the sword, face down his demons and unite the people to defeat the tyrant Vortigern, who stole his crown and murdered his parents, and become King.
Legend of the Sword, judging by the trailer footage, combines elements of Ritchie's off-beat crime movies with those from his Sherlock Holmes films (both aesthetically and tonally) - though the presence of magic and fantastical elements gives the trailer something of a fantasy/adventure vibe, too. The Arthur legend has been and re-told so many times that such a genre-blending approach to the mythos could be the key to delivering a top-notch retelling... assuming these various parts work in unison and don't result in a stylish, but hollow final film result, of course.
Hunnam's costars in Legend of the Sword include Jude Law as his wicked uncle (and spell-caster, as the trailer confirms) Vortigern, Djimon Hounsou (The Legend of Tarzan) as Arthur's mentor Bedivere, and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) as Guinevere. All things considered, this could be one historical action/adventure worth keeping an eye out for, when it arrives next spring.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword opens in U.S. theaters on March 24th, 2017.
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures