Despite all the rumors and confirmed reports last year that Warner Bros. was making a new Conan movie, the studio failed to get the project going by its spring 2007 deadline. So, the rights to Robert E. Howard's character were put up for auction. Fortunately for Time Warner, the parent company of Warner Bros., the goods were picked up by its other subsidiary, New Line Cinema. Now, New Line has an 18 month option and one extension, so unless it wants to throw away the money it just spent, the studio will hopefully have something to deliver to theaters in the next few years. Considering Warners couldn't get something off the ground with big-deal talent like the Wachowski Brothers, Robert Rodriguez or Conan the Barbarian director John Milius, it is hard to imagine who, if anybody, could make this happen. Of course, now, thanks to the success of 300, it may be possible that any script featuring swords and loincloths will get a greenlight. Plus, New Line only needs to put the words 'the studio that brought you Lord of the Rings' to get people in seats. The studio could hire the worst filmmakers out there and probably still do alright.
But then the fans might put up a fuss. Still, the fans will likely be disappointed enough if Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't return to the role. And since he's just begun his second term as Governor of California, I don't think he'll be available before New Line's deadline. If you grew up in the '80s, though, your first idea of Conan was probably Schwarzenegger's portrayal, and it may be difficult to imagine another actor taking on the part. Despite the fact that Conan was in novels and comics and elsewhere for decades before Milius' film, accepting a substitute in the next movie would be like accepting another actor as The Terminator, or as Danny DeVito's twin brother. Personally, I think that without Mako, who died last year, there's already no point in trying to associate the new Conan film with the old ones, so I welcome all new faces.