SOURCES: Conan DVD, "Arnie's First...", "The Price of Gas", Starlog, The Films of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
COMIC BOOK: Yes. [1]

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John Milius explains it right from the first minutes of his audio commentary:

  "This was all supposed to be Arnold's narration. And I always thought that it would be better as Arnold's narration. But there were executives, who remained unamed, at Universal who didn't trust Arnold. They said "Well, he has an accent" and I said "Of course he has an accent, that's why he is Arnold!" Anyway, they made us put this other narration [done by Mako]. But think of the idea, of how great it would be [with Arnold doing the narration]…"  

Then, later in the film:

  Milius: "The Wizard (picture 1)] has a lot of stuff to explain, so he has to be quite clear. Though, he was not supposed to be originally the narrator, Arnold was supposed to narrate the whole thing. There's very little narration [now], of course."

Schwarzenegger: "But they did not have the confidence in me, that I could pull it off and that everyone would understand me. Remember, there was a big fight about my accent. And if we overload with information and if someone misses it, then they don't know what the story is about."

The anecdote is well-known, but it deserves to be told again here: at the time of his very first meeting with Dino De Laurentiis (during the casting of FLASH GORDON), Schwarzenegger (after having made his famous comment about a "so large desk for a so small man?") was told by the Italian producer that his Austrian accent was way too strong. To what he would have answered: "A strong accent, me? I am not even able to understand YOU!", before being requested to leave the room. What few people know is that the voice of the actor who was ultimately selected to play the all American hero Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones) was entirely replaced in post-production by that of another actor, considered to be "more virile"! [2]    
Besides, the voice of Gerry Lopez, which incarnates Subotai in the Milius film, knew the same fate (but for different reasons), since it was entirely replaced by Sab Shimono [3].

An anonymous reviewer nicknamed "Wampyrii" suggests on, that Schwarzenegger almost suffered a similar treatment:

  Ironically, having cast Arnie in the lead role, De Laurentiis' initial fears were to prove well grounded when much of the big Austrian's speech was found to be unintelligible and cut from the movie and other parts dubbed so that audiences would at least be able to understand him.  
however refutes this rumor (and reveals an interesting fact about the very discussed "dubbing" of Gerry Lopez) in this article resulting from Jack Magazine #36:

  In the end, Dino De Laurentiis wanted to overdub the lines from Arnold and Gerry, and Milius only won half of that battle. "This was more of Dino’s bullshit. He stirred up the guys at Universal because he hated me and had lost control of the picture. Well they kept Arnold’s voice but we had to overdub Gerry which was a waste of time. What I did is find a sound guy who helped me find a guy whose voice was exactly like Gerry’s. Subotai’s voice isn't Gerry, but it sounds like Gerry."  
The opening narration of CONAN, THE BARBARIAN (inspired by the famous "Nemedian Chronicles" from Robert E. Howard) is thus recited by Mako, not Schwarzenegger: “Between the time when the oceans absorbed Atlantis and the advent of wire of Arius, it one period ago of the history very little known in which Conan lived, intended to pose the crown of Aquilonia decorated with invaluable stones on a disturbed face. It is me its chronicler which only can tell its epopee. Let tell you to me these days of great adventures…”

Which, in Conan's own words, would have been something like:
Know, O Prince, that between the years when the ocean drank Atlantis and the Rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of... And hither came I, Conan, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, to tread jeweled thrones of the Earth beneath my sandaled feet. But now my eyes are dim. Sit on the ground with me, for you are but the leavings of my age. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure.
      … if one refers to the second draft of the Milius script dated from November 1980. Was this voice-over narration ever recorded by Schwarzenegger (in its entirety) and tested in some primitive version of the film? Difficult to say. But it's extremely probable that it was. At least, partly. [4]
      One of the pre-production drawings from the notebooks of costume designer John Bloomfield (see the "Conan Files" on the Special Edition DVD) indeed shows us Conan sitting on some kind of throne, holding a lance, and reads "Conan prologue"; this drawing is obviously very similar to the final image of the Milius film. Should we assume that this last shot originally was the opening shot of the film? [5]

In the audio commentary, this very same shot is punctuated by a comment from Schwarzenegger ("Ah, here is the shot which we filmed in England!") which perhaps deserves some explanations.
On October 10th, 1980 (that is to say approximately three months before the official beginning of principal photography), the actor actually went to the Shepperton studios in London, to shoot a teaser trailer during 3 days there. This teaser was to be used in front of the movie FLASH GORDON (another De Laurentiis production), during its Christmas release, but this finally never happened, for unknown reasons. In it, one would have seen an aging Conan, king of Aquilonia, inviting the viewing audience to discover the account of his first adventures. It is generally admitted that the image which encloses from now on the film (and its sequel) in fact comes from this never-seen trailer.
Unfortunately, the teaser is nowhere to be found in the extras of the DVD, but one can find (again, in the "Conan Files" section) some stills from the London shooting (
cf. extras). It should be noted that Conan wears the beard on some of them, and not on others (the Conan who appears at the end of film is bearded). I had initially thought that these differences simply came from a promo/posed photos session (during which various compositions would have been tested): with or without the beard, with or without the sword, with or without the enveloping fog, with or without the fur coat on his shoulders, with or without the lustful slaves at his feet, taking the pose of Rodin's The Thinker or not (pose that Schwarzenegger will take again several times during the film, when close to the chained Princess before the final battle, or on the steps of Thulsa Doom's palace).

  One small detail however makes me believe that all these alternate images were in fact indeed filmed by Milius, and not simply "photographed": the last shot of CONAN, THE DESTROYER. One can still read here and there that it is the same shot than the one which encloses CONAN, THE BARBARIAN, but this is completely false, as a small comparison between the two images reveals it very quickly (one will notice, in particular, the presence how much problematic of the Father's sword at the sides of king Conan in the second version [6]). [7]      
In issue #44 of the "Starlog" magazine, from March 1981, appears a photograph of Conan sitting on his throne. As a caption, one can read:

  Arnold Schwarzenegger is seen thoughtfully enthroned as the aging Conan in the early production still (on this page) from the first scene in the film. Conan is reflecting on his pursuit of revenge against Thulsa Doom, the high priest of Set and the cold-blooded murderer of Conan's father and mother. He speaks, and begins a "tale of an age undreamed of... and the days of high adventure..."  
The doubt thus is not allowed any more: originally, the film was to open on a shot of King Conan, undoubtedly a slow dolly in gradually approaching his face marked by the passage of the years. In its concern of symetry, the film obviously ended with the exact opposite movement (slow dolly back gradually moving away from the character). One can wonder besides whether the same shot was used in both cases (simply edited backwards): evidence is the duration of the black screen on which from now on the film begins, which exactly corresponds to the current duration of the final King Conan shot (that is to say 34 seconds)! Ultimate argument in favour of this assumption, the description of the opening scene of CONAN, THE BARBARIAN, such as one finds it in "The Films of Arnold Schwarzenegger" (Citadel Press, 1993) by John L. Flynn:

  The motion picture opens with a shot of Conan as the sixty-years-old king of Aquilonia (Schwarzenegger) and a simple, off-screen narrative by the Wizard of the Mounds (Mako).  
In short, the film has thus successively known three different openings: Schwarzenegger's narration on a shot of King Conan; Mako's narration on a shot of King Conan; Mako's narration on a black screen. The first option was discarded, one suspects it, because of Schwarzenegger's strong Austrian accent. But why was the second option not retained? Probably because the producers thought that to open the film with a shot of a character (Conan) accompanied by a voice corresponding to another character (the Wizard) was likely to confuse the audience... [8]

Last note:: in the novelization, the story is told neither by Conan, nor by the Wizard, but by a third character, obviously created from scratch by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter for the occasion:


  Privileged was I, Kallias of Shamur, above all my brethren amongst scribes of Aquilonia, to have heard from the lips of my king, Conan the Great, the story of his travails and the high adventures that befell him along the way to the summit of his greatness. Here is the tale as he told it to me in the later days of his reign, when age had laid its fell hand upon him, albeit lightly...

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ConanCompletist 2004