A new report claims that Prime Video abandoned a Conan the Barbarian TV series due to “toxic masculinity.”
A Conan the Barbarian TV series was announced by Deadline back in 2018. In the initial announcement it was revealed that current House of the Dragon showrunner Ryan Condal was behind the series. He was also joined by House of the Dragon showrunner and Game of Thrones director Miguel Sapochnik.
They detailed the series would retell Conan’s origins as he is “driven out of his tribal homelands [and] wanders the mysterious and treacherous world of civilization where he searches for purpose in a place that rejects him as a mindless savage.”
The report also specifically noted that this Conan the Barbarian series would be part of Jeff Bezos and Prime Video’s answer to Game of Thrones with Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva writing, “The project falls into Amazon’s push into big, fantasy/genre drama series with broad appeal in the mold of Game of Thrones.”
The Conan the Barbarian series never come to fruition at Amazon and in 2020 producer Frederik Malmberg moved the project to Netflix where he’s working on both live-action and animated adaptations of the character.
A little over a year ago Malmberg indicated they had moved forward in the production of the live-action series and had begun writing the series.
Malmberg explained, “With Conan, I’m happy to say that we are writing. We are in development, which means we basically work with a writer, who has written the first draft of the pilot of the series, and then a season overview.”
So, we are working together with the Netflix team. Obviously, with Covid, it’s been a little tricky because everybody’s working from home. It’s all Zoom conferences and very difficult to get everyone aligned. So, things are progressing, but as always you want them to progress faster than they do, but that’s the world they live in. But things are going well,” he added.
Why the series was moved from Amazon to Netflix was never really explained, but a new report from YouTube channel Midnight’s Edge claims it was cut from Amazon due to “toxic masculinity.”
First, Midnight’s Edge founder Andre Einherjar explains that Amazon didn’t just want a Game of Thrones competitor they wanted to dominate the entire fantasy TV market.
He says, “[Bezos] wanted something which would enable Amazon to dominate the fantasy market the same way Game of Thrones had done for HBO. To make that dominance complete though, they weren’t looking for just one Game of Thrones, but two. One for the family market and one for the more adult market. One that would quite literally capture the exact same market that were engrossed in Game of Thrones.”
After detailing that The Lord of the Rings was their path to dominating the family market, Einherjar details that Conan the Barbarian was their initial property to capture the more adult market.
He explained, “Amazon wanted The Lord of the Rings to capture the family market, but to be their Game of Thrones, to take over the Game of Thrones market they had something else in mind, mainly Conan the Barbarian.”
“It was the perfect property to fill the same need as Game of Thrones and they had the perfect showrunner for it, one Ryan Condal, then of Colony fame,” Einherjar details. “And the scripts he had written were extremely true to the original Robert E. Howard stories and according to everyone who read them amazingly good.”
Einherjar then explains how it all went wrong, “But then the executives who had commissioned Conan in the first place were #MeToo’d and replaced with Jennifer Salke. She came in to clean up Amazon both in terms of culture and content.”
He then specifically claims Salke canned the show due to “toxic masculinity” and replaced it with The Wheel of Time, “Where others saw the next Game of Thrones in Ryan Condal’s Conan scripts, Jennifer Salke saw only toxic masculinity. As such Ryan Condal was fired, Conan was scrapped, and Jennifer Salke picked The Wheel of Time to be Amazon’s more adult-oriented Game of Thrones replacement. Although she made sure to make it even more female-centric than it already was just to be sure there would be absolutely no toxic masculinity.”
What do you make of this report? Do you think Netflix’s version will embrace the “toxic masculinity” of Conan the Barbarian?