New Conan? Netflix becomes the librarian of the Barbarian…

It looks like Netflix has plans for Robert E. Howard's classic character including a new series and the rights to the existing library of adventures...

While it seems that the long-awaited, much-anticipated big-screen return of Conan (with Arnold Schwarzenegger) is as far away as ever, fans of the Robert E. Howard creation may have something to celebrate with the news that Netflix is planning a television series of the character.

The Cimmerian warrior first appeared in 1932 in pulp title Weird Tales and his adventures took place in the ‘Hyborian Age’ a fictional historical time created by Howard which allowed him the ability to avoid the specifics needed for era-accurate settings. He would often encounter ‘skulking monsters, evil wizards, tavern wenches, and beautiful princesses’ and as the character aged he moved through being a thief, outlaw, mercenary and eventually the leader of a vast army… he was a mix of chivalrous character and brutal warrior, though he was often motivated by his own survival and personal gain.

Though the character was already a massive pulp hero, alongside the likes of Doc Savage and Tarzan – though arguably rougher around the edges – Conan received even more widespread interest when Schwarzenegger played the character in Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer (1984). There were various attempts to get a third Schwarzenegger film before the cameras, but Arnold’s political career and then conflicts over rights seem to have negated that venture for the time being. In August 2011 Jason Momoa (Aquaman) headlined a new version of Conan but it received poor critical reviews.

Netflix has put the new production into development, teaming with Fredrik Malmberg and Mark Wheeler’s Pathfinder Media. The actual deal between Netflix and Conan Properties International also gives Netflix the first-pick rights to the Conan literary library and also to develop new Conan projects in most formats.