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Guy Ritiche in talks with Warner Bros. for a six-picture ‘King Arthur’ franchise

Guy Ritchie and Warner Bros.try again to resurrect King Arthur on film
Guy Ritchie and Warner Bros.try again to resurrect King Arthur on film
Rex Features

Arthur Pendragon, the once and future king, may be headed back to the big screen, and director Guy Ritchie could be the director to herald his return.

Deadline reported today that Warner Bros, the studio that produced both "Sherlock Holmes" and Ritchie’s next, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”, are in talks with the “Snatch” director regarding a possible six - picture franchise based around the legend of King Arthur.

Ritichie has been tied to King Arthur projects twice in the past, and came close to making a version with Lionel Wigram based off a John Hodge script. That project fizzled in the face of David Dobkin’s “Arthur and Lancelot”, which never came to fruition either. Warner Bros. had been shepherding that project too, and at one point had even considered a remake of John Boorman’s 1981 gritty Arthur epic “Excalibur”.

Is there enough material in the world of Arthurian legend for six films? In theory, of course there is, even if the screenwriters don’t use the fantasy setting to expound and explore the world as BBC’s “Merlin” has done. The last time Ritchie was tagged with Arthur, the source material was to be Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte d'Arthur”, an 15th-century collection of legends that included Arthur’s birth and ascenscion to the throne, as well as the search for the Holy Grail, Lancelot, Tristan and Isolde, Guinivere, the fall of Camelot, and the king’s death.

Joby Harold, whose only previous writing credit was the Hayden Christensen thriller “Awake”, created the project and has also written the first film’s script. It will be interesting to see if Ritchie and Warner Bros. can finally get this off the ground. Talk of six movies sounds quite ambitious, but perhaps starting that broad will allow them to manage to get at least one film through the pipeline and onto the big screen.