Robert E. Howard‘s creation of Conan the Barbarian, a sword-and-sorcery fantasy icon, is about to get new life long after the author’s untimely death. Arnold Schwarzenegger became synonymous with the character thanks to the career-launching title role in two 80s films. These were followed up by a pair of animated series–Conan the Adventurer and Conan and the Young Warriors–and a short-lived live-action TV series in the 90s. Most recently, Conan was rebooted in the 2011 film starring Jason Momoa and will be featured in the upcoming video game, Conan Exiles. But fans of Howard’s “Weird Tales” creation will get to see the Cimmerian Barbarian return to the small screen once more in a new series being developed by Amazon.
As Deadline reports, the Conan series project has Colony co-creator Ryan Condal, Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik, and Fargo and The Handmaid’s Tale executive producer Warren Littlefield on board, along with Pathfinder Media and Endeavor Content. Condal serves as the series’ creator/writer/EP while Sapochnik directs, and also executive produces alongside Littlefield. That’s a lot of talent behind the scenes, but Conan projects have attempted to find purchase in recent years without success, so what’s different about it this time?
Condal’s Conan aims to retell the classic story by returning to Howard’s literary origins. This treatment finds the title character driven out of his tribal homelands and forced to wander a dangerous world while searching for purpose in a land that sees him as nothing more than a mindless savage. Both fans of the source material, Condal and Sapochnik hope to get back to Conan‘s roots in the pages of “Weird Tales” for an adaptation that’s faithful to the 1930s character.
That sort of world-wandering fantasy epic falls right in line with Amazon’s push into the genre as they’re looking to ape the success of Game of Thrones with both Conan and a massive bet on a Lord of the Rings adaptation. Hopefully this will be the push that high-fantasy series need in the era of Peak TV, but the recent cancellation of the lush and ambitious series adaptation of The Shannara Chronicles doesn’t bode well. We’ll have more details on Conan as they become available.
As for the team behind the scenes, Condal is currently adapting Logan’s Run for Warner Bros., having recently written (in part) New Line’s Rampage screenplay. He also shares screenplay credit for the 2014 picture Hercules starring Dwayne Johnson, so that could clue us in as to his approach to the Conan mythos. Sapochnik, an Emmy-winner for his direction of Game of Thrones‘ “Battle of the Bastards” episode, recently directed Netflix’s Altered Carbon series opener and will direct Amblin Entertainment’s BIOS starring Tom Hanks. Littlefield brings to the table his Emmy-winning experience as an executive producer (Fargo, The Handmaid’s Tale).