Producer Chris Morgan Talks Arnold's 'The Legend of Conan' Sequel
Back in October, we were surprised to find out that Arnold Schwarzenegger had signed on to reprise his iconic role of Conan the Barbarian in a new film called The Legend of Conan that ignores the existence of Jason Momoa's 2011 reboot. No director has been set yet, but this one will be a direct sequel to 1984's Conan the Destroyer that picks up with Arnold as an aging warrior (he'll be 67 years old when the film comes out in 2014), and Hero Complex recently spoke with screenwriter/producer Chris Morgan about how he convinced Arnold to come back to the character, what we can expect from the new sequel and more.
Because Morgan is contracted to write another Fast and Furious sequel for Universal, he may not be able to write The Legend of Conan as previously thought. But if the timing doesn't work out, he'll handpick the writer and he'll still be producing it either way. He's definitely passionate about bringing the character back, and here's what he told Hero Complex about how he convinced Schwarzenegger to return to the role:
"To put yourself out there in your 60s? As Conan the Barbarian? I could see why he’d hesitate. You’re really putting yourself out there…[The Legend of Conan is] Not a reboot, not a remake. Just an update. Where has the character been all this time? A catch-up with Conan."
Apparently that take on the story struck a chord with Schwarzenegger at a time when the former governor of California is looking to reclaim his status as one of Hollywood's blockbuster kings. Stallone had a similar resurgence with his Rocky and Rambo characters a few years ago, and I'm sure the success of those films was on Schwarzenegger's mind when he made this decision. But how will the character of Conan be portrayed in this new film?
“He’s not going out and fighting battles, but he ends up getting drawn into something. And he has to access the barbarian he was in his youth. I love that Conan has been many things in his life, notably a pirate, a major tactician and a commander of men. In this movie, we’re going to tap into some of those things – things you haven’t seen on screen yet.”
Sounds like we'll see Conan in more of a leadership role this time around, but surely he'll still be swinging that oversized sword at some point, right?
"I want the warrior whose joints have started to fuse together, who has to crack the cartilage so he can pick up a sword again. I want the guy who’s not necessarily lost a step, but there’s some rust he has to shake off. I want to embrace that. It makes it a greater hero story. Conan needs to be faced with challenges. The greatest challenge to him isn't the armies that are set before him. It’s, on some level, self-doubt, a little bit of slowing down and forcing yourself to be heroic beyond what people expect of you. What I don’t want is for him to step back in and look the same. That would defeat the purpose of our story."
For the film's sake, I hope that Morgan's schedule works out where he can write this along with his Fast and Furious work because he definitely sounds like he has a good vision for where he wants to take this character in 2014. I like that they're not trying to make Arnold seem like the young buck he once was, but it remains to be seen whether or not watching an aging barbarian shake off the cobwebs and get thrust back into action will be entertaining for modern audiences, considering how poorly the sword and sandal genre has been received recently. I also wonder how much magic and fantasy we'll see in this sequel, since Destroyer - which was chock full of mystical elements - didn't fare as well as the original film at the box office. Time will tell, but it sounds like Arnold is convinced that this is a good idea. Stay tuned.