After seeing the success Marvel has had with their AVENGERS films, everyone is trying to get into the "cinematic universe" game these days. DC is building up to JUSTICE LEAGUE, Universal is bringing back their monsters in a shared universe, Paramount recently put together a writers' room to try to get as much out of the TRANSFORMERS property as possible.
Could a Robert E. Howard cinematic universe be next?
Producer Fredrik Malmberg has long been passionate about bringing Howard's characters to the screen, and by acquiring Swedish company Paradox Entertainment in a stock deal he now has the rights to all of Howard's hundreds of stories and characters, including Conan the Cimmerian, Kull of Atlantis, Solomon Kane, Dark Agnes, Bran Mak Morn, El Borak, Steve Costigan, Cormac mac Airt, etc. Barbarians, conquerors, sailors, warriors, gunfighters, they're all in Malmberg's hands now.
Speaking about the deal and the potential of these properties, Malmberg directly referenced Marvel:
"These days, it comes down to brands and characters and we are looking at long-term possibilities. We look at how Marvel played out with its rich based of characters, and this too is a universe that lends itself to exploitation in TV and film. There aren’t many libraries like this."
Malmberg produced the 2011 CONAN THE BARBARIAN film and is currently developing LEGEND OF CONAN (set to star original screen Conan Arnold Schwarzenegger) with fellow producer Chris Morgan and screenwriters Andrea Berloff and Will Beall. A few days ago, we learned that THE LEGEND OF CONAN is a direct sequel to the 1982 CONAN THE BARBARIAN and sort of a sword and sorcery take on UNFORGIVEN. It's a huge project that may now just be the tip of the sword.
I know very little about Robert E. Howard, but he left behind a wealth of material and the idea of many more of his characters reaching the screen seems a promising prospect.
CONAN 2011's Rachel Nichols