John Milius, the director of Conan the Barbarian (1982) was unavailable to direct Conan the Destroyer (1984). The studio took a more active role than they had on the first film, which led to some serious mistakes, according to Schwarzenegger in his latest autobiography. After the phenomenon of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Universal thought Conan the Destroyer (1984) would make more money if it were family entertainment. Schwarzenegger argued against this change but they overruled him. Director Richard Fleischer agreed with Schwarzenegger, but complied with Universal's wishes to make Conan the Destroyer (1984) more like a comic book. Although it out-grossed Conan the Barbarian (1982), it didn't do as well in the US, because it was more family-friendly, just as Schwarzenegger and Fleischer feared. He later expressed the same fears in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) when the Terminator was forbidden from killing anyone. Both Schwarzenegger and Dino De Laurentiis washed their hands of the series, with Schwarzenegger opting to only do contemporary movies from now on.
During his lifetime, Wilt Chamberlain claimed sexual encounters with over 20,000 women. Ironically, in this movie Queen Taramis charges Chamberlain's character Bombaata with protecting Princess Jehnna's virginity.
Writers Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, who wrote the original story treatment for this movie, were deeply displeased by the final screenplay by Stanley Mann and the finished film, so they made their story into the graphic novel CONAN: THE HORN OF AZOTH, published in 1990, with art by Mike Docherty. The names of the characters were changed to untie the graphic novel from the movie: Dagoth became Azoth, Jehnna became Natari, Zula became Shumballa, Bombaata became Strabo, Toth-Amon became Rammon, and the characters of Queen Taramis and The Leader were combined into sorcerer Karanthes, father of Natari.
The part of Malak was originally assigned to David L. Lander. Due to both his deteriorating health from the onset of Multiple Sclerosis, and difficulties with the director, Lander was let go, and the part was recast with Tracey Walter.