The Hawk the Slayer sequel that never was
In 1980 I began cutting my teeth on Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. I was an impressionable kid who had found calling: fantasy role-playing. I was also fortunate enough to have HBO and access to whatever fantasy films dribbled out of the pipeline at the time. There wasn't much. Classics like Krull, Conan the Barbarian or Sword and the Sorcerer hadn't even yet been born so I grabbed onto whatever I had.
That grab...was Hawk The Slayer. At 11, the cheese factor was padded, embraced. Hawk was corny as hell but it was cool! Automatic crossbows, an Elf that could fire a dozen arrows a second, swords, sorcery...and one crazy, sweet electronic/disco soundtrack I had to have, to the point where I'd put my little tape recorder up to the TV and record the themes to absorb them over and over while playing with my Dungeon Dweller miniatures (all incidentally named after our fearless heroes from the Table of Five). Well, that was a long time ago and I still adore my Hawk The Slayer. 35 years later, we apparently needed the sequel to a film most would classify as a waste of film in the first place. Director Terry Marcel finally began a petition and Kickstarter to get the job done with Hawk The Hunter. The problem was the other 600 people who grew up understanding the endearing cheese factor of Hawk (and most likely were also tossing polyhedrons in 1980) just did not have the money to support the cause. It may have also been another factor; the sequel story. Cult film sequels usually need serious actor continuity to maintain interest from core fans. While several actors of the original beloved Hawk The Slayer have passed away, Ray Charleson (who played Crow in the original) was still at hand and cast immediately in the proposed sequel.
One wonders why he would be cast in a completely different role other than Crow the Elf. It's not as if he was unable to act because of his age. Then there is the silly additional story that reveals that the Mindsword is of an alien nature. Did we just go from fantasy to sci-fi? Most vital, without the overacting charm of the deceased Jack Palance as Voltan or the unintentionally bland and disinterested acting chops of John Terry, how could it have worked? The highlight of the project was the acquiring of prog rock god Rick Wakeman to score the film. I have no doubt his work would have been faithful to Harry Robertson's near untouchable electro-disco score of the original.
In the end, unsurprisingly, the funding failed though. Perhaps it is best that Hawk The Slayer remains sequel-less instead of succumbing to modern day commercialism which attempts to continue an unintentionally campy classic with soulless CGI and the tragically screen-aware younger generation of actors who portray none of the silliness or Velveeta of the original.
42 years later the staying power of Hawk still glows, though a dull green, like a Mindstone in the hearts of a small yet strong fanbase. As I write this, a five issue comic mini-series is set to release and I myself am working on a Harry Robertson-faithful soundtrack to a sequel that will never be made. But that, is another story... - DJS