A third Conan movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger was teased at the end of Conan the Destroyer way back in 1984, but we never saw it. In recent years, Arnold and others have made it clear that they still want to revisit the world of Conan, but while other Arnold franchises have returned to the screen, the Conan movie has remained little more than an idea. Now, Schwarzenegger himself has explained why the Conan movie has remained dormant all this time, it seems the people trying to make the film don't actually have the rights. According to Conan the Barbarian himself...
When it comes to the movie, the sad stuff about all of this is when there’s an estate like this, The Robert E. Howard estate…when someone buys these rights, those people now own the rights and they have their own vision of what they want to do and the guy that has the rights is some young guy and he’s trying to figure out how to get his way through Hollywood and this is not easy to do. So there are people that say to him, 'why don’t you start with a TV series and then he negotiates for a TV series and that falls apart. And then he goes maybe to Netflix and that falls apart. Then he decides to make a movie maybe…but in the meantime, we have been trying to convince him for years now that the way to go is to come back and hire a really great director and to do another Conan movie and have me play King Conan, when Conan is like 70 years old and he's disgusted by sitting on the throne and being the king and then something happens after that. It’s really not that far from creating a finished script. The only one who really has to pull the trigger there is the people who own the Conan rights to do a movie. Let’s go to Netflix or whoever it is, let’s hire a director who’s very creative and can elevate the project to make it a winning project. I hope it will be done very soon because I think it’s a great idea.
Far too often the thing that stands in the way of people getting to make the the movies or TV that they want has nothing to do with creativity, but is simply a pesky thing like legal rights. Sometimes that can lead to additional creativity, such as when George Lucas couldn't get the rights to make Flash Gordon, and so made Star Wars instead, but when you're trying to make a sequel to a specific movie, that option doesn't really exist.
Conan was created by Robert E. Howard in the 1930s and the character has been popular ever since. He's been turned into a movie and TV hero more than once, but we haven't seen much from the character since an attempt at a film reboot in 2011 failed to find an audience.
Certainly, without the rights there will be no opportunity for this project to go anywhere. And it has to be said, the apparent plan for the film is an intriguing one. Comparisons are frequently made to Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, which means the project isn't simply a return to the character, but one that could only be done now, with an older Conan having lived a long life. It certainly has potential.
The odds of ever seeing this one may be long, but it looks like if a deal for the rights can ever be made, Arnold Schwarzenegger is ready to return.