'King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword' Could Kick Off A Medieval Franchise
King Arthur has a long history at the movies. From 1949's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and 1963's The Sword in the Stone, to 1975's Monty Python and the Holy Grail and 2004's King Arthur, the Medieval hero seems to pop up every decade with a new big budget Hollywood film. The newest is King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, which looks to be the biggest spectacle depicting the character to date. But will there be a King Arthur sequel?
It's too early to say, unfortunately. The film, which is directed by Guy Ritchie, certainly looks like it's aiming to start a franchise, though. The movie is loaded with special effects, has a budget of over $100 million, and has a prime summer release date of May 12. Now, whether or not the movie actually gets a sequel and kicks off a new Medieval fantasy franchise will largely depend on how well it performs at the box office, but the intent was — at least at one time — for the movie to indeed be the start of a series. In fact, when the film was first being cast in 2014, it was announced that the movie would be the first of six films, according to Variety's Justin Kroll.
Before the six film plan, which may or may no longer be the case, the film's producers had even bigger plans for their new King Arthur franchise. With all the rage these days being shared cinematic universes, the idea was to kickstart a King Arthur multiverse with different characters — likely Guinevere, Lancelot, and Merlin — getting their own origin films before teaming up, like The Avengers. Here's what producer Lionel Wigram told Collider's Haleigh Foutch about the early plans for a franchise:
"I think that we will go off in our own directions, but hopefully with a nod or a wink to those original stories. There’s certain things that we’re based on, so for example, a guy called Joby Harold, who was the person who came up with the original idea for this particular franchise, and his idea was to have separate origin stories for King Arthur, Lancelot, Merlin… I don’t think we’re quite going to go that way, as things change – we’ll see what happens, we’re making the first movie – but if we do get lucky enough to do more, it’ll be slightly different to that, but it will still be the same idea: to give everybody their separate journey."
One person who's definitely hoping for a sequel is star Charlie Hunnam, who plays the titular monarch. Speaking to Gulf News' Marwa Hamad, the actor said, "We’re very much hoping that it will [get a sequel]. One of the problems with Arthurian legend and telling the story in a film lens increment, is that it’s so sprawling. It’s really an odyssey style story. It’s very difficult to distill that down to two hours."
So while it sounds like the idea for a cinematic universe has been scrapped, there is definitely still hope for a sequel — though five of them may be a stretch — and there of course is lots of material available that would make for a compelling and sprawling franchise. So if Legend of the Sword goes on to have a successful box office run, then you can bet your life that Warner Bros. will begin work almost immediately on another installment — and that's good news for fans hankering for more Knights of the Round Table.