Anyone who is a fan of fantasy or Arthurian literature and has the habit of reading in English, will surely have noticed by now that in that language there are hundreds of works on this subject for all tastes. There are feminist, sci-fi, realistic, and genre rewrites you can think of. There is even a series of novels by Maurice broaddus called Knights of Breton Court in which we see the Arthurian characters as Afro-descendant gang members from the streets of Indianapolis. This is because King Arthur, Lancelot, Merlin, Guinevere, Morgana, and many others have known to remain in the literature of the United States and England for centuries.
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The Arthurian is one of the literary traditions that has managed to remain in popular culture from the Middle Ages to the present day. In the cinema, not all attempts have been as successful as we would like. Probably the best and most beloved Arthurian movie is Monty Python and the Holy Grail – 97%, although Fisherman of Illusions –
82% is another good example.
We’ve known for a while that Zack Snyder has the intention of making an Arthurian movie. Not much has been said about it. He had said it would be a faithful version, but today we know that is not going to be the case, unless one is very flexible with that word. The director gave an interview for the podcast IMDb’s Movies That Changed My Life in which he revealed something unexpected about this film. It’s going to be a western. That’s right, you read that right. You are moving these characters to the Old West. In his case, he has decided so because he considers it a way to Americanize history:
Also read: Zack Snyder wants to make a 100% faithful adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns
I have been working on a new version of the Arthurian legend that is located in the Old West. My thesis is that I have been trying to take the Arthurian legend, which is literally mythology from another culture. I’m not English, so I… but I love that mythological story. So I thought, ‘Oh what if I superimpose it on the Old West and try to make it look like America’s mythology and I just try to make it like America’s mythology? Or frankly, the mythology that I grew up with, and I see if I can’t make those things work, you know.
It’s an interesting idea and an Arthurian approach that would be refreshing these days. However, someone should recommend Zack snyder read the book King Arthur in America (1999), by Alan Lupack and Barbara Tepa Lupack. In that book I would learn that since literature has existed in America, writers have found multiple ways to Americanize that history. The best known example is Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889). One of the central elements of that novel is that Arthur and his knights are normal humans indistinguishable from anyone else. I don’t think it is a mere coincidence that this novel has been adapted by Hollywood nine times.
One thing you would also learn, if you don’t know, is that Thomas Berger’s novel Little Big Man can be interpreted as an Arthurian western. That’s how it is. Snyder wasn’t inventing black yarn or anything like that. Much less if we remember that it was adapted to the cinema by Arthur Penn in 1970: Little Big Man – 96%. In other words, his western would not be the first to take Arthurian elements back and transfer them to the Old West.
More recently the novel The Cowboy with the Tiffany Gun was written by Aaron Latham that recounts the adventure of a cowboy in search of the Holy Grail in the Old West. Maybe Snyder already knows all this. It will be a matter of waiting to see if this project starts and what turn he wants to give to this particular interpretation of the Arthurian.
Do not stay without reading: Rumor: The SnyderVerse has a high chance of being restored