One of the most groan-inducing aspects of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - and there are many - was watching the way Spielberg and company were playing a Will They?/Won't They? game with turning Shia LaBeouf's character into the next Indiana Jones. Thankfully that never happened, but watching the franchise flirt with that possibility was too much for a lot of fans to take seriously.
If you've been worrying that The Legend of Conan would follow a same path of setting up an heir to Arnold Schwarzenegger's throne, you can quell those fears right now. TheArnoldFans.com [via Coming Soon] spoke to Fredrik Malmberg (CEO of Paradox Entertainment, the company that now owns Conan and is producing the reboot), who gave a concise update on where the film is at in the production pipeline and what type of story it will tell. We'll start with the good news.
Conan may have a son, but the movie won't set him up as the new Conan.
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!
Okay, so that's just one movie. But what if it's popular and it sparks a new trilogy?
That's what we hope. In fact Arnold, judging by other classic actors like Eastwood who's in his 80s, he 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.
That all sounds good so far. Now what about the actual story?
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.
Now that sounds like a perfect fit for an actor who will be pushing 70 by the time this movie gets made. Unlike The Last Stand or The Expendables 2, which poke fun at Schwarzenegger's age, here his status as an elder actually makes sense. It fits that Conan would grow bored of ruling from a throne and would rather get bloody in battle again to relive his glory days. That's a natural story to tell, which would take off a lot of the "Man, Schwarzenegger looks old and it's bumming me out" sting.
Now for the bad news: don't expect the movie anytime soon. Malmberg says they do have a director (but won't name him/her), but the problem is working with Schwarzenegger's schedule, and unfortunately his is already tied up with a few other films that were further along in production. He insists the film is moving forward, but unfortunately doesn't have a time frame to offer.
Oh, It's happening. We have a great story. Everyone loves it. This is a role that's perfect for him (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.
That's a shame. It sounds like they've got a good head on their shoulders for how to bring back an action icon three decades after his last appearance, so this is one revival project we can really get behind. Hopefully it doesn't get derailed. The world doesn't necessarily need more Conan movies (and this is coming from someone who actually liked Conan the Barbarian), but if Hollywood insists on keeping Schwarzenegger as an action star, this is one project where his age isn't an issue.