Can We Make A ‘King Arthur’ Movie About King Arthur?


A gentle breeze rolls across a weathered courtyard. Within stands a gleaming bastion of knights, as prideful as the emerald hills that surround them. A flag of feisty red whirls in the wind. Abreast is a man on horseback. Hair flaxen, eyes dark like rotting mulberries, armor cold and blue like the sea. Beside him is a wizard, perhaps deranged, perhaps mirthful, certainly powerful. The two stand in wait before a congregation of hungry warriors as an army of Saxons begin to spill from the peak of the horizon.

King Arthur. A mythos as old as time. Full of pageantry, mysticism and maudlin charisma. An intellectual property that has the potential for first-rate escapism and wonder if handled with just a crumb of tact.

In the hands of someone like Nacho Vigalondo or maybe even Robert Eggers, King Arthur could become a truly great adaptation – what’s that? You’re letting Guy Ritchie have a go at it? The guy that directed Lock, Stock and Barrel? But why? Why Hollywood?

I’ve been a devoted fan of most literary iterations of the King Arthur legend since I was but a tyke living in the backwoods of eastern Pennsylvania. As such, nothing has pained me more over the last few years than watching Hollywood clumsily fail at adapting what might be the most adaptable source material of all time.

It’s a vast and at times convoluted work, I’ll grant you, but King Arthur is the blueprint of the modern hero. He’s got a merry band of knights just waiting to be portrayed by charismatic up and comers. His mentor is a wizard, you know, like Harry Potter. He porks his sister, like Game of Thrones. He’s dashing and handsome, not like Clive “resting bore face” Owen, or Charlie “Is he a good actor?” Hunnam, but like soon to be household name Billy Howe – he’s even English.

You don’t need to edge it up, or make it anachronistic, or retcon the source material to make it more palatable for modern audiences. For Christ’s sake, the biggest franchise right now is about a bunch of superhumans in spandex coming together to fight a wrinkly purple space monster.  

Read “The Once and Future King,” “The Mists of Avalon” and “Mordred” then get to work. It really is that simple.  

The first couple of films could be light hearted adventures featuring a young Arthur and Kay under the tutelage of the zany yet wise wizard Merlin, with subtle hints at darker plots that are bound to take shape. The middle entries could be high fantasy war dramas with some splashes of mysticism thanks to players like Morgrouse. Be sure to set up Lancelot and Arthur as fierce rivals then best buds so the audience will get all the feels when he eventually pipes Guinevere behind Arthur’s back. Have the final film end with Mordred, i.e the insestual product of King Arthur and his sorceress sister Morgan Le Fey, killing him. I’m telling you that would sell like gangbusters.

Remember to throw in themes regarding Paganism vs Christianity (what’s a King Arthur adaptation without some sort of message about theology?) and you're set.

What’s that? Orion Pictures released a King Arthur film in 1982 that holds up pretty nicely? Oh... We could reboot it with Amy Schumer as Merlin?

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