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Arnold Schwarzenegger Signs on to Return as Conan in The Legend Of Conan

Friday, October 26th, 2012 | Posted by John ONeill

schwarzenegger-conanWell, this is a day I never thought I’d see.

Deadline is reporting that ex-Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has signed on to appear in a fourth Conan film, set for release Summer 2014 from Universal Pictures. It will be produced by Fredrik Malmberg, CEO of Paradox Entertainment (which controls the Conan property), and writer and producer Chris Morgan (The Fast And The Furious, Wanted). Morgan is credited with the screen story and may write the script; Deadline describes this as a “dream project” for the producer.

Schwarzenegger released this comment to the press yesterday:

I always loved the Conan character and I’m honored to be asked to step into the role once again. I can’t wait to work with Universal and the great team of Fredrik Malmberg and Chris Morgan to develop the next step of this truly epic story.

Schwarzenegger appeared in Conan the Barbarian (1982) and the truly terrible Conan the Destroyer (1984). Games of Thrones star Jason Momoa took a turn as Robert E. Howard’s barbarian in last year’s Conan the Barbarian, one of the biggest bombs of the year.

Few details about the new version have been released, but one imagines the 65-year old Schwarzenegger will approach this one a little differently.

Malmberg provides some insight:

The original ended with Arnold on the throne as a seasoned warrior, and this is the take of the film we will make… It’s that Nordic Viking mythic guy who has played the role of king, warrior, soldier and mercenary, and who has bedded more women than anyone, nearing the last cycle of his life. He knows he’ll be going to Valhalla, and wants to go out with a good battle.

Nordic? Viking? That didn’t give me a lot of confidence that much of Robert E. Howard would survive the translation, but Morgan made me feel a little better with this quote:

After the original seminal movie, all that came after looked silly to me… Robert E. Howard’s mythology and some great philosophy from Nietzsche to Atilla the Hun was layered in the original film… This movie picks up Conan where Arnold is now in his life, and we will be able to use the fact that he has aged in this story. I love the property of Conan so much that I wouldn’t touch it unless we came up with something worthy… Think of this as Conan’s Unforgiven.

Conan’s Unforgiven? That’s intriguing, at least. And I’m relieved to hear they’ll be ignoring everything except the first film.

Schwarzenegger is certainly keeping busy — he recently appeared in The Expendables 2 and will be in the upcoming The Last Stand. He is currently filming David Ayer’s Ten, and will also star in Sylvester Stallone’s The Tomb, to be released next year.

31 Comments »

  1. ::::pointing a gun to my head from quote:::: “He knows he’ll be going to Valhalla, and wants to go out with a good battle.”

    I like the Unforgiven concept but I don’t know if Morgan has the mojo to pull it off. This isn’t street fiction this is sword and sorcery and I think there is a rare few that can pull it off. I’ll watch it but I think it will make Momoa’s Conan look like a blockbuster.

    I wasn’t proud of Arnold’s recent history but I’m still a fan and I hope he can ressurect his flagging image with a great film. I hope I’m wrong about my prediction but I think it will be a bust.

    Comment by Wild Ape - October 26, 2012 8:10 am

  2. I have to say, I’m not impressed with any of this. I like the original. But does that demand another sequel?
    Personally, I want to know how long it will be before the rights to Howard’s Conan stories enter the public domain.

    Comment by sftheory1 - October 26, 2012 9:48 am

  3. > I like the Unforgiven concept but I don’t know if Morgan has the mojo to pull it off. This
    > isn’t street fiction this is sword and sorcery and I think there is a rare few that can pull it off.

    Ape,

    Indeed. Still, it’s an intriguing angle. I’d rather they attempt something ambitious and fail than make no attempt whatsoever.

    Comment by John ONeill - October 26, 2012 6:19 pm

  4. > I have to say, I’m not impressed with any of this. I like the original. But does that demand another sequel?

    James,

    Debatable. I see your point, but I admit that after two expensive failures — Conan the Destroyer (1984) and especially last year’s Conan the Barbarian — I was certain that Conan was a toxic cinematic property that would need to lie dormant for at least another decade before we could expect anyone to take a chance on it again.

    I’m glad to see I was wrong. Yes, it will take a very lucky blend of writer, director, and stars to make a successful film, and the odds that it will make true Howard fans happy are probably pretty low. But I’m still pleased to see someone out there making the attempt, and I really wish them the best.

    There are a lot of hardcore fans out there who have nothing good to say about this whole effort — see Al Harron’s post today, OH CROM DAMN IT, as an example:

    http://theblogthattimeforgot.blogspot.com/2012/10/oh-crom-damn-it.html

    But I dunno. Just because the odds are against this picture from the start doesn’t mean we can’t applaud the effort.

    Comment by John ONeill - October 26, 2012 6:28 pm

  5. I don’t know — I’ll hope for the best, but … Honestly, I think it’s a shame Momoa wasn’t given a better Conan movie to star in; there were occasional flashes in his performance, and Schwarzenegger has always seemed a little lumpen to me.

    (I also blame, fairly or not, Schwarzenegger for introducing the idea of Conan as ‘roided-up semiinflatable body builder that’s been with us ever since — Arnold to Rolf Mueller (in the TV series, about which the less said the better) to Momoa. I would’ve preferred something more like Russell Crowe in Gladiator. But maybe that’s just me.)

    Comment by Joe H. - October 26, 2012 6:35 pm

  6. So we get to skip all the adventures Conan had in the prime of his life and go directly to his Valhalla death scene. We’ll see an aging king on his throne and those non-Howard fans won’t have the memories of battles well fought, women well loved, and foes outwitted.

    John, the concept that any effort is good is not a good concept in this case. There have been several of those in the past and if another *good* effort yields a bad film, I’ve got a bad feeling it could mean the death of the Conan franchise—and a Conan-as-a-joke movie would be devastating. Whatever happened to the crazy concept of writing a good script and then hiring actors and directors that can make it happen. We already have one UNFORGIVEN. Why not do something original?

    Joe, I agree with you that Jason Mamoa was a good version of Conan. Mamoa has a more believable build; he’s lighter on his feet, better with a sword, not to mention a better actor and much better looking IMO.

    What is especially telling is this announcement came from Arnold, not Paradox who owns the rights. Studios are hanging everything on an actor who is 30 years older than the last time he played the role and will be playing that role to audiences who are more sophisticated. Of course, there’s better CG now so George Lucas’ ILM should make money—a lot of it.

    I’m tired of supporting bad Howard films just to keep the franchise alive until someone gets the combination right. Studio excuses include the need to make any film (hoping it will be successful) so they can get the money to make the one they want. Time has proved that it doesn’t work that way. If you start with mediocrity, that’s what you end up with. I think I’ll just skip this Conan movie. And, apathy is much deadlier to box office results than anger. One comforting thought. It’s early days yet—this particular version of Conan might not get made at all.
    Just my thoughts
    BB

    Comment by Barbara Barrett - October 27, 2012 2:08 pm

  7. > I also blame, fairly or not, Schwarzenegger for introducing the idea of Conan as ‘roided-up semiinflatable body
    > builder that’s been with us ever since… I would’ve preferred something more like Russell Crowe in Gladiator.

    Joe,

    A fair criticism but, you know, one that I’ve never heard before. In the nearly three decades since Conan was released, you may be the first I’ve heard to complain that casting Conan as a bodybuilder was the wrong approach.

    It was such a breakout role for Schwarzenegger that he pretty much made the role his own. It’s like saying Harrison Ford was all wrong as Indiana Jones.

    Comment by John ONeill - October 27, 2012 5:23 pm

  8. > John, the concept that any effort is good is not a good concept in this case. There have been several of those in the past and if another *good* effort
    > yields a bad film, I’ve got a bad feeling it could mean the death of the Conan franchise — and a Conan-as-a-joke movie would be devastating.

    I understand your feelings, Barbara. But I look at it differently.

    One week ago Coanan WAS a dead film franchise. After two bombs in a row — especially one on the scale of last year’s — no one in their right mind was going to pony up another $80 – 100 million to make a Conan film. It was box-office suicide.

    To me, hiring Schwarzenegger was an inspired move. There’s no question in my mind that his name (and his willingness to do the film, given the number of opportunities he has) is the only reason it is being financed and made.

    Will it be any good? I have no idea. But if it succeeds, it will completely resurrect the franchise, at least 10-15 years earlier than I thought possible. And in the process it will attract new writers, talent, and money to additional Conan films, cable mini-series, etc, and very possibly other Howard (and other heroic fantasy) properties.

    The Howard purists heaping scorn on this effort aren’t seeing the bigger picture, to my mind. They’re never going to get the brilliant pure-Howard version of Conan they want until and unless it become a property that attracts the kind of talent and money necessary. And this film could make that happen.

    Comment by John ONeill - October 27, 2012 5:34 pm

  9. Joe, as far as Arnold as Conan. That was then. This is now. Even with Harrison Ford, would Indiana Jones have been the same movie without the wild and wonderful script and the director? George Lucas was the only really well known name attached to the first Indy movie at the time it was made. It was a magical combination. It happened again with other movies including The Avengers. Iron Man I and II, Thor and Captain America did well enough at the box office but the combination of all of them, with a decent script and a director who understood made all the difference. Check out the top grossing films and see how many of them were basically fantasy/science fiction. It’s not a tough market with the right combination.

    John: “And this film could make that happen.” I heard this over and over again before Conan the Barbarian came out–a film which incidentally I enjoyed even though it wasn’t Howard. And, the box office results were terrible as everyone knows. CtB didn’t make it happen. I’ve enjoyed several of Arnold’s films but not all of them have been successful blockbusters.
    BB

    Comment by Barbara Barrett - October 27, 2012 7:25 pm

  10. As the bowl of petunias once said, “Oh, no, not again.”

    Comment by markrigney - October 27, 2012 11:48 pm

  11. I admit that I’ve never been a particularly big fan of the original CtB movie (although I love the soundtrack) — as I think of it, in large part my opinion might have been shaped by reading Gary Gygax’ excoriation of the movie in an old issue of Dragon magazine.

    And yes, I completely agree that whatever my opinion of Arnold as Conan, that ship has sailed — he has become the iconic image in the intervening years.

    Comment by Joe H. - October 28, 2012 1:20 am

  12. Ok, again typed a long foaming rant and deleted it. Too tired.

    There could be INCREDIBLE “King Conan” movies, like how ’bout “The Scarlet Citadel” or tons of other recent Dark Horse stuff?

    “You!”
    “Aye, traitor, ME!”

    -or-

    “Knights, give your swords to these two prisoners and leave me alone with them.”

    “Come, Die like MEN!”

    But I expect nothing more than the standard Hollywood buy up some property to exploit nostalgia, make a pretty but pointless cardboard thin re-telling and vomit it out at us, just to contemptuously try to take what money we have left.

    I simply do not watch these pieces of trash. Oh, and I don’t “Steal” them, either… “Stealing” adds value to a product. I just wait 4 months or so and if I MUST watch it, it’s then dirt cheap in the bargain bin at Hastings and plenty of last few month’s worth of “Awesome” stuff to tide me over if I must buy a DVD…

    One thing I vow is that if any of my works are made into a movie, it’s “Hands off”. That is, I will gladly work with a director and a screenwriter and a few other professionals. BUT no room full of “Representatives”. If they buy into the project, it’s “hands off”. I’ll live, sleep, eat and breathe the work while it’s being made, living in the set and constantly working to keep the spirit in the best possible adaptation, but no “Changes” at random will. If it’s not made, so be it…

    Burroughs (not the Mars/Tarzan one) said you should sell out but do it dearly. Signing on to a movie deal but losing all creative control so they make a vomit abortion that flops and you get $29 yearly royalty checks is NOT selling out dear. Well, Mr John Norman is the exception to this rule, but the awful Gor movies (which I like regardless) helped advertise his books long after the PC mafia excuse me media tried to erase him.

    Frankly, I think Cinema will end in 20 years, to be replaced by DIY “Machinima” kits that are affordable and infinitely better than today’s stuff. Have a base of artwork, CG models, dictate the actions and stories, add the music or use a lot of generic themes, do the voices and have the machine edit them to various acting voices, etc. There will be then so many DIY movies, many even homemade of existing fictions perhaps with or without the author’s approval, many operating by “Tip Jar” or small end “pay as you view” that there will be NO market for Hollywood.

    That, IMO, is why they are trying to force all the “DRM” in. They don’t fear “Stealing” like they claim, it acts as free advertising and I’m sure if any of us pretended to be an advertiser’s representative they’d even boast about that for “hidden product placement” options. But what they want to do is lock out the internet and computers and personal devices so that if someone makes their own music, book, fiction they can’t export it to anyone else without permission…

    Comment by GreenGestalt - October 28, 2012 5:29 am

  13. John, while I do have a lot of scorn to pile upon the project, it’s inaccurate to suggest I have NOTHING good to say about the project. From that post you linked:

    “I said before that the ghost of Conan the Barbarian may have to make its peace with cinematic eternity before we can truly begin with a return to the source from which it sprang, to slough away the fabrications and inventions of successive writers before starting from the beginning – only when the first story is over can the new one begin. And please don’t get me wrong: I’m happy for the fans of the 1982 film who have been waiting all this time to finally see old King Conan, grey-bearded, sceptre in hand, for the final act of a story that’s echoed for 30 years. I’ll admit to a certain level of entitled resentment that they got “their” long-awaited Conan movie before I did, a sentiment which I recognize is selfish and not at all fair. After all, we’re all Conan fans, no need to drive the schism betwixt film and novel fandoms apart, especially considering so many are members of both unions: better we have one group happy than none at all.”

    I also wrote a post on Conan Movie Blog that explained while we shouldn’t expect anything remotely resembling Howard, as a continuation of the 1982 film we can hope for a good piece of Sword-and-Sorcery all the same:

    http://www.conanmovieblog.com/2012/10/26/the-legend-of-conan-hopes-and-dreams/

    The key thing is to treat this incarnation of Conan like one of the many cinematic incarnations of Sherlock Holmes, Dracula or Tarzan: Arnold’s Conan occupies its own universe loosely inspired by Howard’s.

    I’m not particularly bothered about the film: as I said, I’m a fan of the 1982 film, and it’s nice to finally see the story of that King Conan being told. What I am bothered about is that it perpetuates the idea that the only Conan is Arnold, that the literary Conan is a relict of the past which cannot be adapted, and that Arnold’s Conan is the closest we can get.

    In particular, what evidence is there that the success of Arnold’s Conan would mean to anything other than more of Arnold’s Conan? That surely wasn’t the case back in the late ’80s, where they didn’t even take the obvious effort to republish the original stories with “now a major motion picture” slapped on the cover. It didn’t lead to new adaptations of Howard stories or characters, and any Conan productions since then were solidly based on the films. TV show – based on the movie. Cartoon – based on the movie. Even the comics of the ’90s used the movies as a starting point, instead of their own predecessors.

    I don’t doubt Paradox will do their damnedest to promote Howard as they have ever since they gained the rights, but it’s the studios they license the rights to that get the films made. And when a Conan film which prided itself on being closer to Howard’s creation bombs while a return to Arnold succeeds, what possible reason could they have to produce more Howard as opposed to more pseudo-Howard? We’d be more likely to see a new Red Sonja than an REH adaptation.

    Comment by Al Harron - October 28, 2012 11:14 am

  14. Barbara,

    > “And this film could make that happen.” I heard this over and over again before Conan the Barbarian came out
    > – a film which incidentally I enjoyed even though it wasn’t Howard. And, the box office results were terrible
    > as everyone knows. CtB didn’t make it happen.

    Well, I guess that’s why I applaud the tenacity and sheer enthusiasm of Fredrik Malmberg and Chris Morgan. They’re not letting past failures, and the fact that the odds are against them, prevent them from making the film they want.

    And since you enjoyed the latest Conan the Barbarian film, even though it wasn’t Howard, maybe there’s a chance you might enjoy this one too. I suppose that’s why I don’t quite understand your negativity. Yes, “a Conan-as-a-joke movie would be devastating,” but that risk exists with every film, especially heroic fantasy.

    Comment by John ONeill - October 28, 2012 12:39 pm

  15. > As the bowl of petunias once said, “Oh, no, not again.”

    You too, Mark?

    Am I the ONLY person who doesn’t automatically hate this film in advance?

    Comment by John ONeill - October 28, 2012 12:40 pm

  16. Joe,

    > In large part my opinion might have been shaped by reading Gary Gygax’ excoriation of the movie in an old issue of Dragon magazine.

    I read that same article. If I remember correctly, in the same piece armchair quarterback Gygax promised the D&D movie would be a blockbuster fantasy equal to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

    As we all know, it didn’t quite turn out that way. Perhaps in his old age Gygax learned that making a good fantasy film is a lot harder than he imagined, and GREAT ones happen once in a generation. And that throwing stones at a movie because it doesn’t equal the one in his head wasn’t going to do much for his legacy.

    But maybe not.

    Comment by John ONeill - October 28, 2012 12:45 pm

  17. > I simply do not watch these pieces of trash.

    Green,

    If you don’t watch fantasy films regardless of their quality, then the wisest thing Hollywood can do is ignore you and your opinion, because you’re just noise.

    If you want your opinion to count, you need to keep an open mind and judge the films on their merits, warts and all.

    Comment by John ONeill - October 28, 2012 12:48 pm

  18. > John, while I do have a lot of scorn to pile upon the project, it’s inaccurate to suggest I have NOTHING good to say about the project.

    Al,

    Good to see you here. And you’re dead right that you had at least a few positive words for the new project. Although to be honest that slender 174-word quote, out of a 3,600-word article titled OH CROM DAMN IT, left me little doubt where your real feelings were.

    > What I am bothered about is that it perpetuates the idea that the only Conan is Arnold, that the
    > literary Conan is a relict of the past which cannot be adapted, and that Arnold’s Conan is the closest we can get.

    Okay, that’s very well said, and here I think we’re in agreement.

    However, I still believe that this entire argument is akin to a group of beggars complaining that the scraps they get come from Burger King instead of Spago.

    Al, when it comes to Conan films, we are beggars. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the ONLY way this film could be made today, and I’m still astounded that there are investors willing to take this risk. The property is otherwise toxic.

    There’s no way I would invest in this film, even WITH Schwarzenegger. Would you?

    Yet there are people — including Schwarzenegger — willing to take what I assume is a $100 – 150 million dollar risk on this property, at least in some part because of their love for it, and for Howard’s writing (God knows, it ain’t because it’s proven to be a sure-fire investment over the past 25 years).

    If they succeed, it will attract more talent and investors to other heroic fantasy projects, possibly other Howard films as well.

    That’s why I think all this blanket scorn — from the fans who could do so much to build interest in the film — is a knee-jerk reaction that could damage our chances at the one thing most of us really want: an industry that takes sword & sorcery seriously, and attracts the kind of money and talent that could do it justice.

    Flatly, I think it’s a miracle that this film is getting made at all, and I certainly don’t question that miracle by expecting it to arrive gift-wrapped with creators who have the same profound respect for the source material I do. I’m not demanding that this film meet some exalted personal standard, and standing by with an acid pen to excoriate it when it inevitably fails.

    Frankly, I don’t even care if I like it or not. I just hope it’s a decent film that makes a return for its investors. Because that’s how I see this: as one last Hail Mary play that could make Conan (and the works of Robert E. Howard) a respected film franchise.

    Comment by John ONeill - October 28, 2012 1:30 pm

  19. Oh, I’ll be the first to admit that the D&D movie made Conan the Barbarian look like the lovechild of Citizen Kane and Casablanca. That was one of the most painful moviegoing experiences of my entire life.

    Comment by Joe H. - October 28, 2012 1:33 pm

  20. John,

    I’m actually willing to advocate a Boycott of fantasy/sci-fi films until Hollywood changes it’s storytelling. And I don’t just mean angry blog posts here. Active boycotts where thousands of people or more not only pledge to only watch targeted films when they reach the bargain bin at Hastings at worse. (or a month or so after DVD release) Spreading the word big time, right up to targeting INVESTORS so they spend more time re-assuring them then making the movie and the plug is pulled. If my magazine project hadn’t been delayed I’d have been doing this for the “Star Trek Conan” treatment.

    Scientifically speaking; Is advoctating the polished sh-t working? That is, for the stinking pile of fancily made but paper thin dumb, pointless movies that make even “B” movies of the past shine, is it somehow working in that we are getting good movies of the genre we love?

    No, it is telling Hollywood “These sci-fi/fantasy geeks only care about seeing their … dumb stories … on the screen, keep that writer away from the set!” It is telling the “General Public” – THIS is what those fantasy/sci-fi geeks are into!? They really are “Socially functional Autistics”…

    So, yes, we need to be ready to sink the ship to make sure the end product is a luxury ship, not an about to sink rust-bucket with spray paint and fancy furnishings on the exterior.

    What really gets me angry is that it would be SO easy to make these fancy but dumb movies awesome. Imagine say that Kevin Soboro abortion of “Kull”… What if they’d used some of the stories from Marvel’s “Kull” series since they were so willing to do that to Conan? Like the Charnel pit monster, the Goblin moon, etc.? What if instead of whatever ravaging they did to Solomon Kane they just adapted one or two or three stories from Marvel’s “The Sword of Solomon Kane”? Like the werewolf one and the Barbary pirate one?

    Furthermore, what I’m advocating WORKS.

    Look at none other than the “Lord of the Rings” films or “Harry Potter”. Rabid and extreme fan base that literally would go crazy for a boycott if they’d debased it too much. And we ended up with excellent adaptations and a mega franchise.

    This has led to a lot of “Fantasy/Sci-Fi” films being made… But formulaic stuff that’s bargain bin garbage less cool than “B” movies of the 70s/80s.

    To Hollywood if any is reading this:

    1. Get the writer and have him work with the director/scriptwriter, etc. Unless he writes as cinematic as Burroughs (the Mars one) he’ll have to really work and make changes, but with a small team a very good work can be done.

    2. NO “outside meddling” anyone investing in the film is investing. They don’t let investors in other industries stand on assembly lines making them stop the process to pointlessly take down the equipment and polish it, don’t let them meddle here. There’s an open book and a tour of the factory, but the employees don’t have to do more than look pretty on visit day and get their job done.

    3. If you can assure us sci-fi / fantasy fans it’s good writing not just gloss you can “Crowdfund” and tap us. To append 1 and 2 there could be several stages of development where you communicate what is being done. Form a corporation to make the film, have us buy shares of it, this will bypass any big investors with reps who meddle because so much is at stake. Tons of us would put off a vacation or replacing the car to drop $1000+ into making a movie of our favorite story and if it’s a good “Conan with the Governator” wild success the value of said shares will go really high.

    Comment by GreenGestalt - October 28, 2012 2:43 pm

  21. In a nutshell, John;

    “Is a good story on top of the gloss too much to ask?”

    Comment by GreenGestalt - October 28, 2012 2:48 pm

  22. I would join that boycot GreenGestalt.

    Comment by Miko - October 28, 2012 3:01 pm

  23. Here are my thoughts about this movie that I posted on Conan.com…

    It amazes me at how many here are embracing this. With all the complaints of the past movies and such its like that is forgotten. The Conan so many have tried hard to cover up/erase from the Conan 82′ and CoTD so the real Conan could be known will be flushed down the toilet of eternal ambiguity.

    The arguments in regard to why such a movie would be great for the franchise and help further the publicity of the franchise are very well thought out and presented. Yet I cannot embrace them because those same arguments have been said for the last five movies and only the Conan 82′ movie really did any good. But only a little good. It got Conan’s name recognized and known.

    All the misconceptions and misrepresentations we have to deal with regarding Conan will explode as Ironhand said in proportions greater than the 82′ Conan. From my own experience of talking with people when the subject of Conan comes up, especially at conventions I attend as an artist. Almost every person coming by my table talks with me and the conversation we have inevitably turns to Conan. They tell me about watching the 82′ Conan how different it was from the books they read or even how different Conan was compared to the comics. And its a lot of people. They tell me how disappointed they were in the recent Conan film but how great Momoa was in the part. I tell them about Conan.com and the majority has never heard of it. And these are non-participating on blogs or forum Conan fans. We are a small portion here on this forum of fans of Conan and REH. But there are a lot fans outside of this forum that want to see a real Conan movie done.

    I can understand wanting to make a quick buck and add to the bank for further ventures. I can understand wanting to see the franchise become well known for the possibility of seeing more. Of course a business is out to make money and to be profitable. But how has that worked out for them in the past films they have done involving the Howard brands? What I don’t understand is why hardcore fans of Conan set aside the desire to see something great and settle for another possibility of a Conan movie so far removed from what we know it could be. And it would be well received if Howard’s Conan was represented. Its like we ignore what we stand for and just accept it is what it is. Why do we have to adapt and accept…it is what it is? Can’t never could.

    And if this movie with Arnold is not made it will cause a sudden disappearance of the Conan brand and no more REH books on the shelves? Someone explain that to me cause that does not make sense. What will make the disappearance of the Conan brand become less known and the REH books less wanted on the shelves… Is not promoting those books and marketing them. Its not because a movie with Arnold is not made. Yeah its in the headlines for now but so is Honey Boo Boo. We have no idea if Arnold can still draw a crowd to the theater. Its untested. I hope he can. I cannot at all agree with that conclusion about the sudden disappearance of the Conan brand and REH’s book poofing off the shelves. Yes a movie with Arnold will generate some exposure but not having one will not cause Howard’s legacy to bleed out. Paradox/CPI has done a fantastic job with getting the books out there and keeping the Conan name known.

    I cannot set aside my convictions about what I know is right. But that is just me. I no longer expect others to stand against what is being done wrong about Conan and the other REH concepts. Its obvious many in vain hope believe after so many failures another badly done pastiche movie is going suddenly change the direction after its done to give birth to a movie or TV series where the real Conan can be watched and enjoyed. Illusions can often seem real.

    If there was not already 3 pastiche failures of Conan and 1 of Kull and 1 of Kane… I would be enthusiastic about a new Conan movie like I was with the Momoa Conan but we saw how that turned out. And with 5 failures and each in some way using the same over used plot of being beaten down and then revenge… I cannot see how its going to change until something is actually done different than what has been done before.

    And reading what the script writer Morgan has said… Its not going to be different. I would be shocked and surprised if they did the opposite of what I expect. I hope it happens and If that happened… I would be active in promoting the hell out of it. Yet I know I have said this many times now… But I can only get burned if I put my hand back into the fire. If I haven’t learned after 5 times I will never learn. I have learned.

    Some may ignore this post because they may think this guy (Me) is just another purist and likes to rant and rave. That I am against the furtherance of the Conan brand. That I cannot be open minded about this movie. But that is far from the truth. I am a Purist in many ways but always open minded about it as well. I have love some of the pastiches about Conan written by Wagner, Hocking and Offutt. I loved Conan 82′ when it came out but not because it conveyed the Conan I had read about. I have loved some of the comic book pastiches that have been done too. I am not against pastiche when I can see the spirit and essence of Howard’s creation within. Conan 82′ and Conan 11′ would have been great even as pastiche if they had captured the spirit and essence as others have done in the books or comics. But they did not. Milius did his own thing and Sean Hood wanted to but his hands were tied. I wish Sean was writing this new King Conan script without his hands tied. He would try to show the real Conan Howard wrote. What exposure of the Conan franchise is accomplished by this new King Conan movie will not be the kind I would like to see. How often have fans here complained about how those not exposed to Howard’s Conan are so misinformed and mislead. And now it will happen again. What I cannot do is just accept and not say anything about it and try to once again overlook all the incorrect concepts and incorrect presentation of Conan.

    Yeah we can go on Facebook, Twitter, our own blogs, other forums and other blogs to correct the misconceptions and push for the script to be an adaptation of one of the stories to try to guide some to the original stories. But do you think those in charge of this movie will ever see those posts or articles? It is here on this forum they pay the most attention and perhaps a blog or two of forum members here. Its like trying to bail out a sinking boat. We push for a true adaptation….We push to show others the real Conan from the books…yet push a movie with only one resemblance to the Conan we are telling others about… And that will be only the character’s name… once again. I believe its wishful thinking to hope this new movie will put to rest the 82′ Conan. I have a bad instinctive feeling it will not put anything to rest or conclusion. It may just cause a furtherance of failed movies of Howard character’s.

    It is likely nothing we say here matters. But it matters to me and I am sure it matters to some here as well. If it didn’t matter why have many of us wrote enough words about it to fill volumes of books? But there is a chance it will matter to those in charge. Who knows. We may just be here typing into the wind of non-caring. But I know I care. And I believe most of you do too.

    I am not against those that will embrace this movie at all. Do your thing and have fun. I love variety and its the variety of the forum members here that makes this forum so interesting. I do disagree with some of you but I still hold you in the highest respect and friendship. Please don’t take anything I say personal. I am just trying to voice my opinion. That is all it is… my opinion. Right or wrong.

    We are all Cimmerians in heart regardless.

    I have been told if I don’t like it just stay with the books. Or that if I continue in criticism against this film as I have been presenting… I could be banned from this forum and cause Paradox to tighten the reins with the moderators. And others could be banned for their opinions like it has happened before. I could understand this if the criticism is malicious and legally defaming. I have been told what I am basing my opinions on rumors and vague info. I based it from what the script writer and Fred said in an article. And on a bad track record of what has been done before. Not what someone else said about an article or a rumor. But reasonable criticism is not something that should be silenced. If such occurs there are other venues to express my ideas and thoughts. Going Orwellian on people is never the way to go.

    Fred has done great things with Howard’s properties and I salute him and I am honored to be part of this community. Yet in regard to the film media I don’t feel he and the others making the decisions are doing what is best for the Howard brand. We have all heard the saying… Actions speak louder than words and I see by actions a selling out. I hope I am wrong cause I stand behind Paradox/CPI on almost everything… except I cannot any longer do so in regard to the license being granted to those make the films that do not represent the legacy of Howard.

    I know some say its just a movie…etc…etc. True it is just a movie and what really matters are the original stories. Yet for the masses out there that have never been exposed to the originals all they have are the movies and base their conception of Conan based on that movie… Good or bad. I would rather they and us had a chance to actually see the electric fire of REH’s writing blaze off the screen so they have a chance to really be able to judge it fairly. A bad pastiche movie will never do that I am afraid. I have yet to see it ever happen. And its a shame a well done adaptation may not be done. Movies are a great vehicle because they can reach so many people. That is why I feel its very important for the movies to be done well. For they do represent Howard’s legacy and if his legacy is not being represented on the screen then it can hurt his legacy in many ways. And this upcoming movie already has shadows of the Brian Wood debacle all over it.

    This is the way I think..strange..weird..whatever and I do not apologize for it. Even if others rail against it or tell me how it is a waste of time. I am just not a Howard fan… I am a Conan fan as well.

    Signing out,

    Miko

    Comment by Miko - October 28, 2012 3:04 pm

  24. Maybe we can double dog dare Peter Jackson into making the movie.

    Comment by Wild Ape - October 28, 2012 3:09 pm

  25. You’re not alone, John. . .my reaction is no more complex than: “Heck yeah! I love Ahnuld! Let the good times roll!”

    Comment by Sean Stiennon - October 28, 2012 5:21 pm

  26. Wow! Laughable.

    http://johnmwhalen.wordpress.com

    Comment by John Whalen - October 28, 2012 6:24 pm

  27. Hi John (O’Neill),
    Thanks for giving BG readers the opportunity to comment on this subject.

    I can only speak for myself but what I see in this discussion is a lot of fear that the script and the director will result in another Conan failure; one that the actor standing alone will not be able to prevent. This was seen with CtB—Jason Mamoa did an excellent job but his performance alone could not save the film. According to press statements, Jason read all the Conan stories several times in order to “understand” the character. He was able to step into Conan’s skin. This core belief in the character is something that also needs to happen with the writer and director. I have doubts about adapting a Conan film to fit preconceived outlines of previously well done movies.

    This may be the last opportunity to have a Conan franchise? Again, to me that sounds like fear talking, but perhaps that’s because I’m a great believer in synchronicity.

    Howard was an exceptionally talented writer and I’m a purist when it comes to his words. Thankfully there are many volumes available that are pure REH. As a comics fan I realize the value of pastiches and I’m also smart enough to know that translating books and/or stories into movies isn’t a word for word process. It takes a magic combination—writer, director, actors and production values—and IMO those are worth waiting for.

    Miko,
    Thanks for your comment. Studios that want just “yes men” are headed for a showdown when it comes to reality. I’ve met Fred Malmberg and/or his staff at a couple of the Howard Days festivals. They did not give me the impression they came from this ilk. They are intelligent, down to earth and as far as I know, they have been honest with Howard fans. While I personally think they’ve made another mistake with the Conan franchise I also recognize I haven’t “walked a mile” in their moccasins.

    John (Whalen)
    Although I’m a little sensitive about age related *jokes* (that comes with the territory,) your comments on REH’s Conan I thought were well done.
    BB

    Comment by Barbara Barrett - October 28, 2012 7:09 pm

  28. Barb,

    Thanks for liking my comment and I agree with everything you wrote.

    I am behind Fred and his staff and hope they give the Studio a fight.

    Some excerpts from some of my posts on Conan. com…

    I am an REH fan and a Conan fan as well. Though I am very picky about which pastiche stuff I like or not. I haven’t read a REH Conan story I didn’t like. I haven’t like some parts of stories just cause of personal taste but no one has come close to Howard. Hocking, Wagner and Offutt’s stuff I liked. Jordans, Greens, etc… Not at all. Its like the comics… Some of the stuff Thomas did I liked in Conan the Barbarian… Same with SSoC and the Dark Horse stuff. Though I have like more of the Dark Horse stuff than the Marvel run. The Age of Conan game was better than I had expected it to be. I was excited it even was getting made. But not all things done in the name Conan am I in favor of being made just cause its Conan.

    Conan in a way has eclipsed the author’s creation. But really by much and its mostly because of the 82′ Conan and a little to do with the Comics and the book pastiches. There is still a whole of time to save the true nature of the character instead of allowing it be bastardized into He-man. Battles are lost but there is still the war. Conan 11′ was just one of the battles. Momoa was the best part in my opinion and perhaps again they will use him. They would be smart to do a HBO like series with him but the direction they are going its highly unlikely. I too Amster am sure I will get chills if they use Basil’s music but only purely for nostalgia sake that takes me back to being that 13 year old kid back in 82′. A lot of mixed feelings about this venture and most not good for me. I wish I could be of your mindset now Amster…. But I am no where at the point of giving up and just settling for the one I am with.

    —-

    I understand the financial part of the entertainment industry and of course Paradox is not Marvel. Hence the Captain Obvious statement cause its already known or assumed that is the case with a smaller entertainment company like Paradox. But I don’t believe I ever made the comparison of Paradox versus Marvel. It would have been an unfair comparison As I said…I understand they are doing it for money because they need it badly. But they have needed the money each time they have green lit a film and what is produced? Nothing worth mentioning really. I know and empathize as to why they are doing it and it is a good business decision. My contention is not with a business decision. Its about the Howard legacy and what they are doing with it. I do not have to label a sell out when it is one already. Its fine for them doing so. Business does it all the time. But that does not justify in my mind the way they are presenting something as Howard when it is clearly not. I side with Howard and his vision of Conan.

    I get Al Harron’s point of view as well. Seeing it as just a sequel to the 82′ Conan. Which it is. Though it is clear that this endeavor is clearly not going to be based on Howard but a pasitche created by Milius I cannot justify sacrificing my stance of that if they want a hit/blockbuster… Do the source material. Changes would be made of course to fit into the time format of a film. But the Spider-Man movie though now a direct adaptation did keep the spirit and essence of the source material.

    Personally I don’t care about a sequel to a good S&S film with a character just with the name of Conan. Its not Conan its not going to be King Conan if its only a sequel to the 82′. I hope people do not associate it with anything of Howard’s Conan. Cause that would be hypocritical and just wrong. And I believe its illusionary we will get a good Conan movie to really reflect the source material or an adaptation of stories. The stories are so damn good and so much better than any idea some script writer makes up with his version of Conan. We have been there done that to death now with 3 Conan movies. Its time we get a solid one. To me thats a good business decision. I know some are excited about the prospect of the movie to help springboard their projects. I hope the best for them. Thats good business too.

    I am not going to ramble on. But to make my overall point short. Life is too short for cheap wine and there are times when something is more important than money. And it is my own belief… Keeping integrity in regard with Howard’s legacy and work is one of those times. Its better to fight for something right than something…meh. Or something cause it is just what it is.

    —-

    Thanks for reading. And a huge thanks to you John O’Neill for not minding us to make the comments.

    Comment by Miko - October 28, 2012 7:23 pm

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