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Chris Morgan Updates On Legend Of Conan

The days of high adventure are nigh

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With all eyes currently on Terminator: Genisys as Arnold Schwarzenegger's most imminent revisit of former glories, there's been less word lately on the also developing Legend Of Conan. Empire recently had cause to speak to producer Chris Morgan, however, so we took the opportunity to grab an update. "I'm super excited!" he tells us. "And Arnold is super excited too. It's the perfect movie for him, because it plays into his own journey."

Perhaps the most significant development since last we heard anything is the arrival of a new screenwriter. Vaguely rumoured a while ago to be on a shortlist of possible wordsmiths, Morgan confirms that the latest draft of the script is by Will Beall (Gangster Squad).

"Andrea Berloff [Straight Outta Compton] did a draft," Morgan reminds us, "and then we had Will step on. I approached him early on in the process, but at the time he was unavailable and couldn’t do it. But then a couple of weeks after he passed on the project I got this package from him in the mail, and I opened it and it was a Conan sword, and on the envelope it said, ‘This you can trust!’ So when he called back a while later and said he’d had a slot open up, we slammed him in immediately. He’s just perfect for it; he loves it as much as I do and he has a great voice of Conan. It just makes you happy!"

Morgan himself is probably best known as the writer of every Fast & Furious from Tokyo Drift onwards. His commitments to that franchise and to the upcoming Mummy reboot meant he was unable to pen Legend Of Conan himself, but it's still keeping him busy. "Conan’s one of those things I’m always involved in shaping, talking, pushing," he says. "It’s a full-time, all-consuming job!"

To recap if Legend Of Conan is all news to you, the idea is that the story will pick up from the end of John Milius' 1982 Conan The Barbarian, where we saw an older King Conan wearing the jewelled crown of Aquilonia upon his troubled brow. The oft-expressed intent is that the new film will be a sort of Conan Unforgiven, entirely ignoring both Richard Fleischer's 1984 Conan The Destroyer and the 2011 reboot with Jason Momoa.

As that might suggest, the new film will certainly be more about Milius than original Conan author Robert E. Howard. There is a Howard novel (Hour Of The Dragon, also published as Conan The Conqueror) that visits the Cimmerian as an older man with a throne and a kingdom, and Morgan promises, "We look at all the source material and we love things that kind of speak to that tone. We’re incredibly respectful to Howard. I’m a huge fan of the stories and books, but I’m a super-huge fan of the first movie, because that crystallised and distilled it all for me. Milius just killed it. He did such a good job. And Legend Of Conan is really resonant and it really digs into the legacy of that original film. I'm already very proud of it."

So when can we expect it? The first announcements back in 2012 suggested it could well be in theatres by the summer of 2014. That deadline has obviously now sailed past without the film even starting production, but Morgan says that, "Literally right now we're talking about when it can go ahead. We're figuring it out. I can't really say... but it's sooner than you might think!"

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