The first images for Robin Hood (2018) feature Taron Egerton as the reimagined folk hero and hint at his more revolutionary nature. When it comes to public domain characters, studios are always eager to try their hand at turning the IPs into a successful franchise. Countless iterations of Peter Pan, Frankenstein, and King Arthur have been told over the years, and many more are still in the works. Robin Hood, meanwhile, is a near-constant in both the film and TV landscape.
Losing the Origins subtitle, next year’s Robin Hood will see director Otto Bathurst attempt to put a new spin on the familiar story of the iconic outlaw. Joining him in his efforts will be Egerton (Kingsman: The Golden Circle) as Robin, Jaime Foxx as Little John, Jamie Dornan as Will Scarlett, Eve Hewson as Maid Marian, and Ben Mendelsohn once again playing a villain, this time as the Sheriff of Nottingham. But while the cast of characters will be familiar, the story will reposition Robin as a freedom fighter fresh from the Crusades.
EW has the first images from Robin Hood, showcasing Egerton, Hewson, and Foxx in their roles. While the images don’t do much to distinguish the film’s take on the property versus, say, Russell Crowe’s turn as the outlaw in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, Bathhurst laid out what makes his vision for the character unique:
“In my mind, Robin Hood was this sort of seriously militarized anarchist revolutionary, a freedom thinker and a truth seeker. And the more I got into the story, it just became startling how utterly relevant it is to what’s going on in society now.”
The idea of Robin Hood as a revolutionary is certainly an intriguing concept, even if it twists his typical origin. Though there have been uncountable variations of the Robin Hood legend over hundreds of years, Robin is generally seen fighting the corruption of Prince John at home while King Richard the Lionheart is the one off at the Crusades. It seems that this more militaristic version of Robin Hood, however, is exactly what convinced Egerton to take the role:
“I was approached not long after the first Kingsman movie had come out, and my initial response, to be totally honest, was ‘Why?’ [But] Otto told me he wanted to do something entirely revisionist, something that can’t be tied down to a medieval universe. The first act of the movie, these scenes crusading in Syria, were written like something from The Hurt Locker. It was fantastic, and that was enough to convince me.”
While the more grounded and less fanciful take on the myth could do wonders for Robin Hood, this type of film has a poor track record. Just this year, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword bombed after attempting a grittier and more stylized update on the popular legend. While Christopher Nolan’s reboot of Batman kicked off the modern studio scramble to give a dark update to every iconic character, many films seem to miss the point that some material should remain more lighthearted. Robin Hood, for instance, has always done best when the project keeps the fun and merriment of the story alive. By removing that crucial element, Robin Hood could be yet another expensive stab at modernizing a folk hero.
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