CLOSE
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

15 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Conan the Destroyer

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

Here’s everything you need to know to fully enjoy Arnold and his sword’s triumphant return.

1. The director inspired his way.

Director John Milius drew major inspiration for the first Conan movie, Conan the Barbarian, from 1958’s The Vikings. When Milius was unavailable to direct the Conan sequel, Conan the Destroyer, producer Dino De Laurentiis went to the original source by hiring The Vikings director Richard Fleischer.

2. The script required some tinkering.

The film was originally titled “Conan, King of Thieves” from the initial screenplay by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway. The script was then heavily rewritten by screenwriter Stanley Mann and retitled Conan the Destroyer . Thomas and Conway received a “Story By” credit on the finished film.

3. But the original script lived on.

Because the finished product was so radically changed from their screenplay, Thomas and Conway went on to create a graphic novel based on their story idea called “Conan the Barbarian: The Horn of Azoth.” To distance themselves from the movie, they changed the names of most of the characters: Jehnna was changed to “Natari,” Bombaata was changed to “Strabo,” Toth-Amon was changed to “Rammon,” Zula was changed to “Shumballa,” and Dagoth became “Azoth.”

4. The film had a real bond with Dune.

The film was shot in Mexico City as a cost-cutting measure. Conan the Destroyer used the same crew and some of the same locations as another Dino De Laurentiis production, director David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation of Dune, which was shooting in Mexico at the same time.

5. The Princess was a rookie.

Princess Jehnna was actress Olivia d’Abo’s first acting role. She was 13 years old when filming began.

6. Jehnna’s bodyguard knew how to score.

Basketball fans may recognize Jehnna’s bodyguard, Bombaata, as basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain. Conan the Destroyer was Chamberlain’s only credited onscreen role, although he made an uncredited appearance as himself in 1999’s Any Given Sunday .

7. The film helped make Schwarzenegger an American.

Arnold Schwarzenegger gained U.S. citizenship during the filming of Conan the Destroyer . He retains dual Austrian and U.S. citizenship to this day.

8. Sven Ole-Thorsen appeared in both Conan movies.

But he played different characters. He played Thorgrim, Thulsa Doom’s evil henchman, in Conan the Barbarian, and plays Togra, the member of the Queen’s guard who tries to kidnap princess Jehnna, in Conan the Destroyer .

9. One actor pulled an even bigger double duty.

Pat Roach plays two roles in the film—the one-eyed ice wizard Toth-Amon, and his Ape-man mirror monster whom Conan kills. Cinephiles may recognize him from Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark as the Nazi mechanic that is knocked into a plane propeller, or as the Thugee slavemaster who is pulled into a rock crusher in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom .

10. This was the family-friendly version of Conan.

Conan the Destroyer initially received an R rating from the MPAA like its similarly violent predecessor Conan the Barbarian, but it was recut and given a PG rating because the filmmakers thought the movie would make more money if it catered to a broader audience.

11. Andre the Giant makes a very subtle cameo.

Who was the actor underneath the rubber suit created for the monstrous deity Dagoth? None other than André René Roussimoff, better known as the wrestler André the Giant.

12. The monster was a distant cousin of E.T.

Special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi crafted the creature design of Dagoth. Rambaldi had previously designed E.T. and the head effects of the xenomorph in Alien .

13. Predator foiled a sequel.

A third film called Conan the Conqueror was planned for a 1987 release, but Schwarzenegger was unable to appear because he was shooting Predator .

14. So Kevin Sorbo stepped in.

Eventually, Schwarzenegger’s three-movie Conan contract expired and the idea was later refashioned into 1997’s Kull the Conqueror starring Kevin Sorbo. Kull happened to be a character based on another pulp fiction series by Conan creator Robert E. Howard.

15. And then politics scrapped another sequel.

Original director John Milius came close to making a third Conan movie with Schwarzenegger in 2002. His script, entitled “King Conan: Crown of Iron,” was to be directed by The Matrix’s Andy and Lana Wachowski, but was scrapped after Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
10 People Who Have Misplaced Their Oscars
Getty Images
Getty Images

Winning an Oscar is, for most, a once-in-a-lifetime achievement. Unless you’re Walt Disney, who won 22. Nevertheless, owning a little gold guy is such a rarity that you’d think their owners would be a little more careful with them. Now, not all of these losses are the winners' fault—but some of them certainly are, Colin Firth.

1. ANGELINA JOLIE

After Angelina Jolie planted a kiss on her brother and made the world wrinkle their noses, she went onstage and collected a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Lisa in Girl, Interrupted. She later presented the trophy to her mother, Marcheline Bertrand. The statuette may have been boxed up and put into storage with the rest of Marcheline’s belongings when she died in 2007, but it hasn’t yet surfaced. “I didn’t actually lose it,” Jolie said, “but nobody knows where it is at the moment.”

2. WHOOPI GOLDBERG

In 2002, Whoopi Goldberg sent her Ghost Best Supporting Actress Oscar back to the Academy to have it cleaned and detailed, because apparently you can do that. The Academy then sent the Oscar on to R.S. Owens Co. of Chicago, the company that manufactures the trophies. When it arrived in the Windy City, however, the package was empty. It appeared that someone had opened the UPS package, removed the Oscar, then neatly sealed it all back up and sent it on its way. It was later found in a trash can at an airport in Ontario, California. The Oscar was returned to the Academy, who returned it to Whoopi without cleaning it. “Oscar will never leave my house again,” Goldberg said.

3. OLYMPIA DUKAKIS

When Olympia Dukakis’s Moonstruck Oscar was stolen from her home in 1989, she called the Academy to see if it could be replaced. “For $78,” they said, and she agreed that it seemed like a fair price. It was the only thing taken from the house.

4. MARLON BRANDO

“I don’t know what happened to the Oscar they gave me for On the Waterfront,” Marlon Brando wrote in his autobiography. “Somewhere in the passage of time it disappeared.” He also didn't know what happened to the Oscar that he had Sacheen Littlefeather accept for him in 1973. “The Motion Picture Academy may have sent it to me, but if it did, I don’t know where it is now.”

5. JEFF BRIDGES

Jeff Bridges had just won his Oscar in 2010 for his portrayal of alcoholic country singer Bad Blake in Crazy Heart, but it was already missing by the next year’s ceremony, where he was up for another one. He lost to Colin Firth for The King’s Speech. “It’s been in a few places since last year but I haven’t seen it for a while now,” the actor admitted. “I’m hoping it will turn up, especially now that I haven’t won a spare! But Colin deserves it. I just hope he looks after it better.” Which brings us to ...

6. COLIN FIRTH

Perhaps Jeff Bridges secretly cursed the British actor as he said those words, because Firth nearly left his new trophy on a toilet tank the very night he received it. After a night of cocktails at the Oscar after-parties in 2011, Firth allegedly had to be chased down by a bathroom attendant, who had found the eight-pound statuette in the bathroom stall. Notice we said allegedly: Shortly after those reports surfaced, Firth's rep issued a statement saying the "story is completely untrue. Though it did give us a good laugh."

7. MATT DAMON

When newbie writers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck took home Oscars for writing Good Will Hunting in 1998, it was one of those amazing Academy Award moments. Now, though, Damon isn’t sure where his award went. “I know it ended up at my apartment in New York, but unfortunately, we had a flood when one of the sprinklers went off when my wife and I were out of town and that was the last I saw of it,” Damon said in 2007.

8. MARGARET O'BRIEN

In 1945, seven-year-old Margaret O’Brien was presented with a Juvenile Academy Award for being the outstanding child actress of the year. About 10 years later, the O’Briens’ maid took the award home to polish, as she had done before, but never came back to work. The missing Oscar was forgotten about when O’Brien’s mother died shortly thereafter, and when Margaret finally remembered to call the maid, the number had been disconnected. She ended up receiving a replacement from the Academy.

There’s a happy ending to this story, though. In 1995, a couple of guys were picking their way through a flea market when they happened upon the Oscar. They put it up for auction, which is when word got back to the Academy that the missing trophy had resurfaced. The guys who found the Oscar pulled it from auction and presented it, in person, to Margaret O’Brien. “I’ll never give it to anyone to polish again,” she said.

9. BING CROSBY

For years, Bing Crosby's Oscar for 1944’s Going My Way had been on display at his alma mater, Gonzaga University. In 1972, students walked into the school’s library to find that the 13-inch statuette had been replaced with a three-inch Mickey Mouse figurine instead. A week later, the award was found, unharmed, in the university chapel. “I wanted to make people laugh,” the anonymous thief later told the school newspaper.

10. HATTIE MCDANIEL

Hattie McDaniel, famous for her Supporting Actress win as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, donated her Best Actress Oscar to Howard University. It was displayed in the fine arts complex for a time, but went missing sometime in the 1960s. No one seems to know exactly when or how, but there are rumors that the Oscar was unceremoniously dumped into the Potomac by students angered by racial stereotypes such as the one she portrayed in the film.

An earlier version of this post ran in 2013.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Disney/Marvel Studios
arrow
Afternoon Map
Marvel vs. DC: This Map Shows Each State’s Favorite Comic Universe
Disney/Marvel Studios
Disney/Marvel Studios

Which comic book company is the best: Marvel or DC? This is a perennial argument on middle-school playgrounds and Reddit threads, but this map, courtesy of USDish.com, might just give us a definitive answer. The information here is broken down by state, using information provided by Google Trends to give us a clear winner of not only the most popular comic book company but also the most popular individual hero in each state (let’s show a little respect to Indiana for championing the Martian Manhunter).

According to the map, Marvel is the most popular publisher in 37 states, with DC trailing behind at eight, and five additional states coming to a 50/50 stalemate. The totals weren’t a blowout, though. In certain states like Mississippi, Iowa, and Pennsylvania, the favored company only won by a point. And just because a state searches Google for a specific publisher the most doesn’t mean an individual character from the opposing team isn’t its favorite—Hawaii is listed as favoring Marvel overall, yet they love Aquaman on his own. Same with DC-loving Maryland showing Black Panther some love (helps to have a big movie coming out). Take a look at some of the most notable state preferences below:

So how did Marvel amass so many states when there are just as many DC TV shows and movies out there? Well, according to Andrew Selepak, Ph.D., a professor in the department of telecommunication at the University of Florida, and director of the graduate program in social media, the answer lies in the depth at the House of Ideas.

“While Superman and Batman may be dominant characters,” Selepak said in a statement, “the DC Universe offers few other well-known heroes and villains and when these other characters are presented to the audience in film and on TV, they often are less than well-received.” This is opposed to Marvel, which launches new heroes on the big and small screen seemingly every year.

Does this map tell the whole story? That’s up for debate. When it comes to comics sold, DC and Marvel are always in a close battle: In January 2018, DC had six of the 10 best-selling comics of the month, placing four of the top five. Marvel, meanwhile, had three, while Image Comics had one with The Walking Dead. In terms of overall retail market share, though, Marvel eked out DC 34.3 percent to 33.8 percent.

This is a battle that's been raging since the 1960s, and for an industry that thrives on a never-ending fight between good and evil, we shouldn't expect the Marvel vs. DC debate to be settled anytime soon.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios