Coming Soon: “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” (2017)

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There have been almost as many films made revolving around King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table as there have been of Robin Hood and His Merry Men.

It should not come as any real surprise, in 2017, there is no less than three films scheduled for release which focus on the legendary Arthurian figure: “King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table,” “King Arthur: Excalibur Rising,” and “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.”

The most prominent of these productions is the Guy Ritchie directed “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.”

Scheduled for release in the United States and the united Kingdom Friday, 12 May and Friday, 19 May, respectively, “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” focuses on a young Arthur and his crew. Not surprisingly, Arthur discovers his true lineage when he is able to extract Excalibur from the stone.

What is a would-be-king without a cause? Arthur finds a cause when he supports the resistance. The resistance is under the leadership of the enigmatic young woman named Guinevere.

During the film, Arthur must learn to master the power of Excalibur, excise the demons of his past, and unite the people under his banner to defeat the tyrant Vortigern. What could possibly go wrong?

Personally, whenever I think of Merlin, the actor which springs to mind is Nicol Williamson. Williamson played the magician in the 1981 John Boorman directed adventure drama “Excalibur.”

Relatively speaking, the shadow of the 1981 production is significant. Every Arthurian film since 1981 has been measured against what Boorman created. Despite this point, Ritchie’s film could be the first production to challenge “Excalibur” for supremacy.

It is a formidable task but if anyone can pull it off, it is Ritchie.

Even though my first thoughts of Merlin always revolve around Williamson, I must admit I would have liked to have seen what Idris Elba would have done with the character.

Elba was apparently in talks with Ritchie to play a Merlin-esque figure but ultimately did not sign onto the production. This forced the director to continue looking for a suitable candidate. Who would have the talent to play the man that trains and mentors Arthur?

Kamil Lemieszewski, best known for working on television productions such as “Peaky Blinders,” “Tut,” and “50 Ways to Kill Your Lover” was cast in the role.

Even though Ritchie did not get his choice of actor for Merlin, the director was able to secure Charlie Hunnam as the title character.

With productions such as “Children of Men” and “Sons of Anarchy,” Hunnam has proven he can portray the type of character Ritchie was looking for in King Arthur.

After Hunnam signed on to Ritchie’s production, all the cogs appear to have fallen into place. Jude Law, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Eric Bana, and Mikael Persbrandt joined the cast.

“King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” is apparently the first instalment of a six part film franchise which Ritchie will direct.

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Shain E. Thomas, recently graduated with an M.Sc. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of North Texas, is currently working on an M.Sc. in Library Science. Shain, the senior editor of "Harsh Light," is also the U.S. Correspondent for "The Welshman" and a regular contributor to the "North Texas Daily."

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