At the end of 1982's Conan The Barbarian, audiences who were eager for more of the high adventure that John Milius' cult classic dished out were left with one, singular image to hold them over. Victorious in his quest, we saw an aged King Conan sitting on his throne, stoic as all get out, and with his chin perched on his fist. Despite the disappointing sequel, pseudo-sequel, and reboot, that ending is still the starting point for the next true epic in the Conan The Barbarian saga. And according to writer Will Beall, that's exactly where The Legend of Conan will start.
SlashFilm was able to talk to Beall about several projects he has in development, and surprisingly the "true" sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger's classic sword and sorcery picture is still on the table. Beall, an obvious fan of the Conan franchise, described his intentions for The Legend of Conan's opening thusly:
It opens there. It opens with this [hand on the chin]. It's where you have to. It's the sequel that we were promised and never got. I'm 11 when my father took me to see Conan the Barbarian which you should never take an 11-year-old kid to. It was a life changing thing. It's an unbelievable movie. It comes back to [director John] Milius, right? There's nobody better and it's a real movie. It's a truthful movie. Chris [Morgan] and I from the very beginning said there's no reason to do it unless it's a worthy sequel to Milius's Conan and I think we've got that. I really do.
Considering Will Beall's admiration for Conan The Barbarian, and his crack about The Legend of Conan having to be a "worthy sequel" to the original, it's safe to assume that Beall's attitude toward both 1984's Conan The Destroyer and 1987's Red Sonja is that of disdain. With both films trying, but failing to reclaim the magic of John Milius' epic film, many fans have been keeping that image saved in their memory banks, waiting for the next true chapter to pick up. So it's to be assumed that when The Legend of Conan starts up, it will conveniently forget sub-par sequels and pretenders to the throne alike, giving fans what they've always wanted.
If there was a franchise that could benefit from a refresh, it's certainly Conan The Barbarian, as the series also saw a proposed sequel turn into the forgotten Kevin Sorbo vehicle Kull The Conqueror, as well as inspired the equally forgettable 2011 reboot with Jason Momoa in the lead. Though just because a film should exist doesn't mean it's guaranteed to do just that.
While the film is officially in "active development," The Legend of Conan could still be a long way from happening, if it even happens at all. But with films that never thought they'd see the light of day emerging from development hell, it wouldn't be a terrible stretch to see Arnold Schwarzenegger put his muscle behind the franchise that helped make him who he is, and get it onto the fast track.