Zack Snyder has been deep into the world of superheroes for a long, long time. From Watchmen through Man Of Steel, Batman Vs Superman and into two goes around with Justice League. He was also producer on Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad and Aquaman.

An upcoming project will be something outside the capes and tights genre. He let slip in an interview for the Minutemen show that he is thinking about King Arthur:

“I’m working on something but we’ll see… I’ve been thinking about some kind of retelling, like, a real sort of faithful retelling of that Arthurian mythological concept. We’ll see. Maybe that will come at some point.”

Well, straight away there will be some confusion. How exactly can a re-telling of anything about King Arthur be both faithful and mythological? King Arthur, his story and his history has been confused over time and recent Hollywood efforts have done nothing to help this confusion.

King Arthur did exist, as a legendary British leader who, according to medieval histories, led the defense of Britain against Saxon invaders in the late 5th and early 6th centuries. So no left behind Roman centurion guarding against Picts then?

However the greater details of King Arthur’s story, including those that we consider essential parts of his myth and legend, are merely romantic inventions. Modern historians agree that almost all of the legends considered “Arthurian” are unhistorical. The sparse historical background of Arthur is documented in the Annales Cambriae, the Historia Brittonum, and the writings of Gildas.

However it was in the 12th century where Geoffrey of Monmouth got hold of the history and spun it into legend in the fanciful Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain).

He took tales of Arthur from poetry and songs, which depicted King Arthur as some kind of great warrior king defending Britain against supernatural enemies. He had all the trappings of magical figure of folklore including heavy Welsh roots and superstitions.

Geoffrey’s Historia is where King Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon, the magician Merlin, Arthur’s wife Guinevere, the sword Excalibur, Arthur’s conception at Tintagel, his final battle against Mordred at Camlann, and his death and final rest in Avalon are all created.

This work would serve as the (very loose) basis for Guy Ritchie’s aborted 6 movie complete franchise.

Later in the 12th-century French writer Chrétien de Troyes added Lancelot, the Holy Grail and Guinevere’s betrayal to the story and expanded the Knights Of The Round Table.

Finally this whole glorious mess was baked into a single story in the 15th century by Sir Thomas Malory as Le Morte d’Arthur (The Death of Arthur) in an attempt to tell the complete story of King Arthur from his conception to his death. However by now the story was so altered, so fanciful and so steeped in mythology and supernatural elements that it bears no relation to any real history.

This story served as the basis of everybody’s favorite re-telling of the story, John Boorman’s gloriously overblown, epic, camp Arthurian opera Excalibur.

So, basically, pick what you want out of the Zack! To combine “faithful” and “mythological” you really have to play in the 12th century pool around the works of Geoffrey of Monmouth and dance on the head of a pin around the history and the magic.

Or maybe “faithful” means a faithful adaption of Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur? Excalibur is 40 years old in a month. And Snyder’s visual sensibilities could potentially work in that world.

However Le Morte d’Arthur is considered something of a joke among Arthurian scholars as any debate about King Arthur outside of the world of serious history is always hilariously disrupted by somebody who claims to have read Mallory’s tome and can therefore proclaim themselves an expert, with zero historical context around Mallory’s work.

Guy Ritchie’s efforts made $148 million on a $175 million budget and this loss cancelled the planned franchise. The question is, can Snyder revive interest in this classic character, whichever story he plans to tell?