The Newcomer's Guide to Robert E. Howard

Everything you need to know

Conan the Barbarian (2011) and the Franchise Without Arnold

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Couldn’t they have just waited for Schwarzenegger to leave office and make Crown of Iron with John Milius?

A lot has changed with the Conan property holders in the past ten years. When Conan the Barbarian was released, it affected not only the popular conception of Conan, but CPI’s own approach. Many of the elements introduced in the film were repeated in games, comics and tv series: the Conan franchise became less about Robert E. Howard’s creation, and more about Milius’ interpretation. By the 1990s, the Conan franchise was in a rut: no less than three failed comic relaunches, a cancelled video game, a critically panned tv series, and two incredibly watered-down Saturday morning cartoons.

In recent years, Paradox Entertainment has gained control of the Conan trademark from the previous holders. Paradox has completely reinvigorated Conan, bringing out new comics under Dark Horse, new video games (2004’s Conan: The Dark Axe was the first Conan game released since 1991’s Conan the Cimmerian), and a host of other media and merchandise.

In nearly all the new media, Conan has been re-imagined without using Arnold Schwarzenegger’s likeness, going back to the original stories and starting from scratch in establishing the visual style of Conan. The Cimmerians of Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures and the two Conan games from Cauldron and Nihilistic software do not have an Austrian accent, nor brown hair, nor any of the elements that instinctively tie the character to Conan the Barbarian. Paradox & CPI are looking to bring Conan into the new millennium by going back to the character’s literary roots, rather than continuing the precedent set by Conan the Barbarian, which had run the character into the rut it was in during the ’90s.

Will Arnold at least make a cameo in the film?

Unlikely. Schwarzenegger’s last cameo was a one-day appearance on the set of The Expendables, where he only had to wear a suit. An appearance in Conan would need costume fittings, hair styling, makeup and more. That said, there is a possibility he could be involved in some other manner, either providing a voiceover narration, or even lending his likeness to a digital cameo as in Terminator Salvation.

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Written by alharron

23 December, 2010 at 12:21 am

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