There were a lot of raised eyebrows when Zack Snyder first teased that he was working on a story based on Arthurian lore, especially when the filmmaker’s signature aesthetic, love of exaggerated realities and penchant for visual bombast instantly conjured unwanted memories of Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, which was more than a little Snyder-esque in its execution and wound up as one of the biggest box office bombs in history, ironically for the Justice League director’s old home studio Warner Bros.
The expanded tales of Arthur, Camelot, Excalibur and the Knights of the Round Table have been very hit-or-miss when it comes to live-action adaptations, but in a new interview, the filmmaker has offered the first concrete update on the project since he initially mentioned it at the beginning of the year, and he’s planning to make huge deviations from the source material by setting it in the American West during the Gold Rush.
“I’ve been working on a retelling of the Arthurian legend set in the American West. Because my thesis was that I tried to take Arthurian legend, which is literally the mythology of another people. Like, I’m not English, but I love that mythological story. So I thought, ‘Oh, what if I superimpose it over the American West, and just try and make it like the mythology of America?’. Or, frankly, the mythology that I grew up with, and see if I can’t make those things work, you know.”
Snyder’s approach sounds unconventional to say the least, but it does sort of make sense to layer the mythology over a period in history that he’s familiar with, though it would also require wholesale changes given that the entire premise hinges on the idea of a monarchy. Unless of course the architect of the DCEU just tears up the rule book and calls it President Arthur, where a young gold miner from a poor family stumbles upon the Assault Rifle in the Stone and finds himself as the rightful heir to the White House.
In any case, it sounds as though he’s further along putting the pieces together than initially thought, and after Army of the Dead proved to be a major success, it’s no surprise that his heightened genre-infused approach to King Arthur has already been named as a potential Netflix blockbuster.