A decade may have gone by since Arnold Schwarzenegger put his acting career on hold to serve as governor of California, but the star – who made his return to headlining big-budget releases with this year's The Last Stand – is showing no signs of pulling a similar hiatus in the near future.
Schwarzengger will next star opposite fellow old school action superstar Sylvester Stallone in Escape Plan, but he's also been confirmed or rumored for a slew of upcoming films as well. One in particular – The Legend of Conan – follows through on a long-held promise that audiences would one day learn how Conan took the throne.
It was assumed that this film would either serve as a one-off release to complete the trilogy started with Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer in 1982 and 1984, respectively, or act as a springboard, allowing another character (perhaps Conan's son) to headline subsequent films. However, it appears that neither of these cases will come to pass.
According to The Arnold Fans, The Legend of Conan may instead be the starting point for a whole new trilogy starring Schwarzenegger in one of his most beloved roles as the famous barbarian-turned-king. The site caught up with Fredrik Malmberg, president and CEO of Paradox Entertainment – the current property holders of the Conan franchise – and got further details on the film's status.
Here's what Malmberg had to say:
"Oh, it's happening. We have a great story. Everyone loves it. This is a role that's perfect for [Arnold] and he's very involved with the whole Universal team. It's the best team they have. Arnold has been very instrumental to bringing this together saying, 'We gotta make a good Conan!' I think if we do this right, we can do two more 'Conan' movies right after. I think 'Game of Thrones' also shows a huge interest in fantasy. I'm psyched about it."
Malmberg's mention of Game of Thrones is certainly a timely one. The HBO series, along with big screen franchises like The Hobbit and Thor, prove a market exists for the kind of sword-and-sorcery style fantasy.
However, the failure of the recent Conan the Barbarian reboot proves that the character may be a tougher sell to modern audiences, if not handled carefully.
"[The script is] by the whole 'Fast and the Furious' team, which is great for a power position of the studio because they're extremely successful. It was the biggest movie, and if anyone knows how to build a franchise, it is that team. It's Chris Morgan and Jeffery Kirschenbaum, the head of Universal. Arnold is very excited. It's just in the phase where it takes a lot of work to get the script just right."
As expected, the new film will be set after Conan's rise to the throne but will focus largely on his return to the battlefield, Malmberg said.
"The idea is that this takes place after Conan has been king. But this is the legend of Conan where he has been gone and people say, 'Do you remember the good ol' days when Conan was around?' And now it's time for him to come back. In the stories and you can also see it when he's sitting on the thrown and the narration on that last scene of the movie...'with a troubled brow' ...you can tell he's not really happy being king. So, it's time for him to go out and do battle."
By the time The Legend of Conan hits theaters, Schwarzenegger will be nearing 70 years old. Nevertheless, Malmberg doesn't think the actor's age will affect the possibility of further Conan adventures.
"That's what we hope. In fact Arnold – judging by other classic actors like Eastwood who's in his 80s – still looks badass. I think if this film is good and is well received, then I don't think we have to say 'no' to Arnold for several more movies. We can keep going forward, even after he ages."
As appealing as a new trilogy of Conan films starring Schwarzenegger might be, it does seem a bit ambitious, considering that the actor's schedule is filling up fast. Add to that he is also set to return in Terminator 5 – which will reportedly kick off a whole new trilogy of its own – and it's looking less likely that Schwarzenegger will manage to headline both action-heavy trilogies simultaneously.
Should the star's schedule truly only allow for one franchise, Conan seems to be the more suitable one. His role as the Terminator may already prove a stretch, as the actor has visibly aged since last portraying the "cybernetic organism" from the future. However, if he were to appear as the human basis for the T-800 (as long rumored), he could help bolster a new vision for the franchise's future, perhaps led by Dwayne Johnson.
Are you looking forward to the idea of a new Conan trilogy, or should The Legend of Conan simply finish off the existing Schwarzenegger trilogy, allowing for sequels to focus on new characters instead? Let us know in the comments section below.
Last we heard, The Legend of Conan was slated for a 2014 release date.
Source: The Arnold Fans