Nowadays even before a major blockbuster is released in theaters, ideas are being formulated ideas for sequels months in advance should the first movie be successful. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is no exception to that approach. We still have three months to go until finding out how the latest King Arthur flick will fare with the public, but we can't accuse the creative minds involved for not having vision. While their plans eventually changed, the original goal was for this new take on the regal hero to launch a cinematic universe.
While speaking extensively with Collider about King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, producer and co-writer Lionel Wigram, whose credits include Sherlock Holmes and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, discussed how one of the writers original wanted to take the legendary King Arthur characters and give them their own self-contained introduction tales. Wigwam explained:
There's certain things that we're based on, so for example, a guy called Joby Harold, who was the person who came up with the original idea for this particular franchise, and his idea was to have separate origin stories for King Arthur, Lancelot, Merlin... I don't think we're quite going to go that way, as things change -- we'll see what happens, we're making the first movie -- but if we do get lucky enough to do more, it'll be slightly different to that, but it will still be the same idea: to give everybody their separate journey, and in the course of the movie we meet our main characters, in a slightly different way from the original story, and hopefully it reinvents them in a fun way.
Cinematic universes are all the rage now in Hollywood, from superhero-themed ones like the MCU to monster-centric ones like what Universal is launching with The Mummy. Had writer Joby Harold's (who also penned the currently-shooting Robin Hood: Origins and is doing a page-one rewrite on The Flash movie) original plan been put in motion, we would be getting a King Arthur cinematic universe. While that idea may sound interesting to hardcore King Arthur fans, box office-wise, it's probably for the best that approach was scrapped. One King Arthur movie featuring these characters is appealing, but separately (with the possible exception of Merlin), the supporting players don't hold as much appeal if they're not around Arthur, decreasing the chances of these spinoffs being financial winners. Fortunately, Lion Wigram's above comment implies that the creative team went to great lengths to make sure that the new interpretations of Lancelot, Merlin and the rest will be fresh and different.
Directed by Guy Ritchie, who clearly brought his contemporary sensibilities going off the previews, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword will follow Arthur as he pulls Excalibur from the stone and use his power to help the Resistance overthrow Vortigern and become king. The movie's cast includes Charlie Hunnam, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Honsou, Jude Law, Eric Bana and Aidan Gillen.
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword will be released in theaters on May 12.