Robin Hood and the Magna Carta, redux.


Two months ago, I wondered if the new Robin Hood movie might turn its hero into one of the barons who forced King John to sign the Magna Carta in 1215. Today, I discovered that director Ridley Scott has directly touched on this point, and the answer is, well, maybe, but not quite yet. To quote the Sunday Times:

For this Robin Hood, Crowe and Scott reach back across history to the earliest written sources, long before Ivanhoe and then the Victorians sprinkled Robin’s legend with their own romantic garnish, to cook up a character that is closer to the vigorous outlaw of the early ballads. Theirs is an origins tale (think Batman Begins), carrying Robin up until the point that he is outlawed. “It is the beginnings of how the man becomes known as Robin the Hood,” explains Scott. “You don’t really get that until the last few minutes. When you realise that ‘Ah, this is who he is’.” Scott smiles. “Let’s say we might presume there’s a sequel.” (Again, think Batman Begins, which launched a monster franchise). “Honestly, I thought why not have the potential for a sequel, particularly if it is a genre that you absolutely love and has never been fully explored? If there were to be a sequel to Robin Hood, you would have a constant enemy throughout, King John, and you would follow his reign of 17 years, and the signing of Magna Carta could be Robin’s final act.”

It’s difficult to tell how serious Scott is about the sequel because he has never actually made one before — at least not to one of his own movies. He did direct Hannibal (2001), the sequel to Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs (1991); and there has been some talk lately to the effect that he might make a prequel to his own sci-fi classic Alien (1979) — but for now that’s just one of several projects that Scott has in development. And that’s about it.

Then again, the fact that other people have made sequels to Alien over the years does raise the possibility that other filmmakers could follow in Scott’s footsteps here, too.

In any case, the Times has many other details about the film as well, such as what it does with King Richard. Check it out.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).


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