The brutally violent 2011 remake of Conan the Barbarian, currently streaming on Netflix, should get a sequel or a reworking that allows Jason Momoa to return to the legendary role. While originally a series of stories in 1930s pulp magazines by Robert E Howard, the character of Conan the Barbarian is most closely associated with Arnold Schwarzenegger, thanks to the 1980s films that helped rocket him to superstardom. While the more recent version did poorly at the box office, the recasting of the lead character is too perfect and intriguing to leave alone.
Of all the people who could have been cast as Conan, Jason Momoa might just be the perfect choice. It’s not easy to find an actor who can compellingly lead an action film with both the physical bulk and the pure magnetism to follow in the footsteps of Schwarzenegger. The fact that such an actor exists and has already embodied the role once seems like an excellent opportunity.
Conan the Barbarian debuted before Jason Momoa became a major star after debuting in the role of Aquaman in 2016’s Justice League.
Before Jason Momoa became involved, the remake went through years of development. The rights originally belongs to Warner Bros., before 2007, when it found its way to Nu Image/Millennium Films. Sony Pictures and Lionsgate both negotiated for distribution rights while several directors were attached to the project at various points, including Brett Ratner.
In 2009, the Jason Momoa film was given to Marcus Nispel, who was becoming known for remakes. He completed Friday the 13th that year and had previously directed remakes of Frankenstein (2004) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). The film also attracted the acting talents of Rose McGowan and Ron Perlman, and is narrated by none other than Morgan Freeman.
It was Nispel who cast Jason Momoa and the rest of the film’s stars, who began their work in front of the camera on March 15, 2010, with production wrapping on June 5, 2010. It was not until the following August that the film was finally released, first to a few countries, and then to the United States. Unfortunately, the sword and sandal movie was mostly met with negative reviews.
If you’re a fan of Jason Momoa, a lover of sword and sandal films, or just curious about remakes, there are lots of reasons to check out the 2011 version of Conan the Barbarian.
This was before Jason Momoa became a major star after debuting in the role of Aquaman in 2016’s Justice League. Without that level of star power in such an iconic lead role, it’s understandable that theater seats failed to fill up. It’s also understandable that the generally bad reviews and word of mouth helped bring Conan the Barbarian to a grinding halt.
Today, the presence of Jason Momoa might significantly change the fate of the film, though a different script and perhaps a different director might also lead to a better quality product. Now that Momoa is a bona fide star, it makes a lot more sense to cast him in such a major part linked to such a well-known film. It seems much more likely that a contemporary Conan film has a better chance at the box office with such celebrity clout at its disposal.
It would also be interesting for a sequel to bring Arnold Schwarzenegger back in a different role, perhaps as a cameo appearance.
Even though the original film bombed, the idea of Jason Momoa as Conan the Barbarian is just too good for us to pass up. The feasibility of a new film that is a sequel to a movie that had a very poor box office reception is quite low. Still, it’s a sequel or reimagining we’d love to see, both because of Momoa and because of the idea of seeing the classic character on the big screen again.
If you’re a fan of Jason Momoa, a lover of sword and sandal films, or just curious about remakes, there are lots of reasons to check out the 2011 version of Conan the Barbarian. Not the least of which would be to imagine along with us what a sequel or reinvention starring Momoa could look like in today’s cinematic landscape. It would also be interesting to bring Arnold Schwarzenegger back in a different role, perhaps as a cameo appearance.
It’s a shame that Jason Momoa was not given a better movie to star in since the idea of him playing Conan is such an enticing proposition on its own. There were certainly multiple factors that led to the film’s demise, but it’s not only good films that need revisiting. Sometimes it’s worth it to revisit a good idea in a new context.
Should you be interested in considering what might have been, you can stream Conan the Barbarian now on Netflix.