Honestly, what action star wouldn’t want to play Conan, right? Arnold Schwarzenegger made the character iconic in 1982’s Conan the Barbarian. The actor loves the character so much that Arnold has even made phone calls to attempt to revive the character on a Netflix show, but ran into licensing disagreements. Now, according to what insider Daniel Richtman has shared with his Patreon page, Dwayne Johnson has his eyes set on reviving Conan for a movie.
A Conan franchise revival seems inevitable, whether with Dwayne Johnson or not. This was one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biggest franchises. Even people who’ve never seen Conan the Barbarian know of the character. In 2011, a revival was attempted with Jason Momoa. This was early in his career. While he seems like a great fit for an action star role, the 2011 Conan the Barbarian made only $63.5 million at the box office on a budget of $90 million. That is a stunning and terrible loss.
A decade later, the world is likely ready for another try. And Dwayne Johnson, at this high point in his career where it seems like he could take on anything, seems made for the role. If what Richtman hears is right and The Rock is going for a Conan revival, it’s difficult to imagine that couldn’t come together and become a huge success.
Dwayne Johnson is no stranger to reviving franchises. There was only a single Jumanji movie before The Rock came along. Fans wanted to protect the Robin Williams standalone, but the new series managed to show up with a new entry in the franchise without touching the classic work and earned nearly a billion at the box office.
This raises the question. How would a Conan revival be approached in a way that honors the legend of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s time in the role? The franchise is built around the title character, so it would seem like to really capitalize on the franchise, they wouldn’t want a series that only took place in the same world as Arnold’s movies. They would need Dwayne Johnson to play Conan. Can he do that without simply telling the same story we already saw in the 1982 movie? Or is there a way for the studio and The Rock to come together to bring a fresh perspective and exciting new entry to the world of Conan?
Hopefully, if Dwayne Johnson and team are interested in making this happen, they’ll mine the Conan the Barbarian comics for ideas. The comics ran from 1970 to 1993, with 275 issues. There are definitely ideas in there that have already been tested on audiences and that can be turned into something new and fresh for Conan. There’s every reason to believe that a revival could be done, and done well, and that The Rock could do something fitting for the part. The kicker here is to make sure that’s what actually happens, instead of a tired rehashing that bores audiences, like we saw in 2011.
For now, Richtman’s claims are only a rumor, but an interesting one. It’s likely that Dwayne Johnson is continually researching the possibility of many new roles coming his way, and we know he has an interest in reviving old franchises. Could Conan be his next? We’ll have to keep our eyes open to see if more is announced soon.