It seems like its taken forever for a new version of Conan The Barbarian to hit theater screens. It looks like we're finally one step closer to seeing that happen. According to Variety, Millennium Films has acquired the rights to Robert E. Howard's mythical conqueror.

Fredrik Malmberg, president and CEO of Paradox Entertainment, chose Millennium after winning the rights from Warner Brothers last spring. His aim is to get the film into production by next spring.

This will be the biggest production Millennium has ever mounted. The film is being put together on a very tight timetable. Many big names have worked on the Conan The Barbarian script over at Warner Brothers these past seven, including Larry and Andy Wachowski, John Milius, and Robert Rodriguez. Boaz Yakin wrote the last known version to come out of that studio. But all of their hard work is being scrapped. Malmberg and Millennium are staring over with a completely fresh screenplay.

The plan is to make the film more faithful to Robert E. Howard's books.

UPDATE ... The official press release:

Paradox Entertainment announced that the company has sold the option for 'Conan' movies to Millennium Films. Development has started and discussions are underway for domestic and international distribution.

"It is time for the Cimmerian to return to the big screen. Robert E. Howard's 'Conan' is undoubtedly one of the greatest fantasy characters in our time and with the right filmmaker this movie will be huge. We're very happy to be working with Millennium Films as they share our passion and are fasttracking the project," said Fredrik Malmberg, President & CEO of Paradox Entertainment.

Among Millennium Films' previous productions are 16 Blocks (Bruce Willis) and The Black Dahlia (Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson). Presently, the studio is working on Righteous Kill (Al Pacino, Robert De Niro), King of California (Michael Douglas) and John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone).

Paradox Entertainment, through its subsidiary Conan Properties International LLC, has owned the rights to 'Conan' since 2002 and acquired the rest of the Howard library in early 2006. 'Conan' has been making a comeback the past couple of years in publishing, gaming and collectibles. This fall sees the release of the action-packed 'Conan' videogame (Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) from THQ/Nihilistic, and in spring of 2008 comes the much anticipated 'Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures' MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) by Funcom/Eidos.

Robert E. Howard is considered the creator of the genre "Sword & Sorcery", perhaps most known through the character 'Conan.' Despite his short literary career - Howard died at the mere age of 30 - he wrote over 800 stories and poems. Howard's breakthrough came when being published in pulp magazines such as Weird Tales during the 1930s. His stories take us to such different surroundings as ancient Atlantis, the North African desert during WW1, hidden opium dens in dark alleys of the city, and northern Britain during the invasion of the Roman legions.

B. Alan Orange