Dear Warner Bros. executives, you've got a Camelot of problems from Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. It's one of the year's biggest flops, losing a reported $56 million. You expected a Lord of the Rings-size franchise, but got a Ghost in the Shell-size bomb.
Even though you're a big enough studio to eat the loss and pretend it never happened, what if you could salvage this mess? All you have to do is bring Charlie Hunnam's King Arthur to the DC Extended Universe, alongside Henry Cavill's Superman, Ben Affleck's Batman and Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman.
Is this likely to happen? Nope, not at all! But here's why it should:
King Arthur Is Already DC Comics Canon
Going all the way back to February 1936, two years after DC Comics' founding, King Arthur — along with Merlin, Guinevere, Gareth and Sir Lancelot — appeared in the company's titles, debuting with New Comics #3. Technically speaking, King Arthur is an older DC character than Superman and Batman.
Arthur later teamed up with Batman and Robin in the 1946 time-travel adventure "Sir Batman at King Arthur's Court." Twenty years later, in World's Finest #162, Batman and Superman travel back in time to meet King Arthur, only to realize that he's an alien imposter. With the help of the real King Arthur, the super friends are able to defeat the alien and bring order back to Camelot — and in the end, both Batman and Superman are knighted.
The 1998 Elseworlds limited series Batman: Dark Knight of the Round Table saw an alternate-universe Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth in Camelot.
The best-known Camelot character in DC Comics is the demonic antihero Jason Blood/Etrigan. Blood was a knight in Arthur’s roundtable; facing death, Merlin bonded him with the demon Etrigan, granting him eternal life as long as the demon never parted his soul. In modern times, he becomes Gotham City's resident demonologist. We saw a version of this storyline in the DC animated movie Justice League Dark, in which Etrigon was a major character.
King Arthur Would Be The DCEU's Answer To Thor (And Merlin To Doctor Strange)
In Legend of the Sword, magic is what differentiates Arthur from the rest of Camelot's subjects. His entire family is rooted in magic, which only a small sect of Camelot’s population can perform. These people are called mages, with the famous sorcerer Merlin as their leader. Both in Marvel and #DCComics Merlin is categorized as an alien god.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor — an alien seemingly out of myth — is worthy of wielding Mjölnir ... just as Arthur, another mythic character, is worthy of wielding Excalibur. Arthur would bring to the same fish-out-of-water stoicism to the Justice League that Thor brings to the Avengers. Plus, Marvel's Doctor Strange proved that mixing superheroes with the mystical arts is a winning combination.
Charlie Hunnam Would Be A Natural Fit For The Justice League
Even though Legend of the Sword didn't win over critics, it did have some redeeming qualities, and Hunnam works better as part of an ensemble. Many fans have wanted Hunnam to play a specific character in the DCEU: Oliver Queen. Even Hunnam himself has shown interest in playing the Green Arrow.
But what if Hunnam’s iteration of King Arthur were to join the DCEU instead? His take on King Arthur would be a natural aesthetic match with Gal Gadot's Princess Diana of Themyscira and Jason Mamoa's monarchic version of Aquaman.
In fact, Legend of the Sword depicts the prime mage speaking with animals, just as Aquaman is able to communicate with sea creatures. Furthermore, there is a scene in which Arthur is dragged down into a pond by a mage — and is able to breathe underwater. The DCEU could retcon this as a shared lineage between the mages and the Atlanteans. (Hey, maybe it explains why Aquaman is named Arthur Curry.)
Make It Happen, Warner Bros.
As Jonah Hill described the idea for a Men in Black/21 Jump Street crossover, a King Arthur/DCEU crossover would be "clean and rad and powerful." Both #LegendOfTheSword and the DCEU are Warner Bros. properties with many similarities — metahumans, royalty, breathing underwater and talkin' with animals — and could be easily intertwined.
So, how would King Arthur get from the Legend of the Sword era to the modern DCEU era?
In DC Comics' Camelot 3000, King Arthur walks in modern-day England when a young archeologist, Tom Prentice, accidentally brings him back to life after excavating the grounds at Glastonbury Tor. After Arthur awakens from his mummy state, he makes Prentice a knight and together they go to find Arthur’s lost sword, Excalibur. An ideal movie in which to depict this might be the eventual sequel to Wonder Woman, especially since Diana Prince has already defended England in the first film. (She could even help Arthur adjust to the new time period, as she does by Batman v. Superman.)
There are many iterations of the Arthurian legend in DC Comics, so the DCEU would be respecting its source material — not doing anything blasphemous — by incorporating the figures of Camelot. And if done right, this would bring a new meaning (and a new audience) to Legend of the Sword after it hits DVD, Blu-ray and streaming.
So, Warner Bros. execs, I know it's a long shot, but you have to admit: this is a sword that can be smoothly pulled from its stone.