Last month, Valiant was the latest comic book publisher to throw their hat into the ring by announcing plans to enter the entertainment industry, thanks mainly to a nine-figure investment from the Beijing-based DMG Entertainment. The decision was not only inspired from the well-documented success of publishing giants Marvel and DC Comics, but also that of Image Comics, the smaller publisher who hit it big with AMC’s ultra successful TV series, The Walking Dead, adapted from their comics of the same name. Now, Valiant Entertainment’s newest move in the film industry is a five picture deal and partnership with Sony Pictures.
The highlights of the deal detail two of the indie publisher’s most popular properties – Bloodshot and Harbinger – getting their own respective releases before culminating in the crossover film, Harbinger Wars. The five picture deal obviously seems like Valiant and Sony are taking a page from Marvel’s playbook, with the idea of building a cinematic universe that will culminate in a crossover film for separate franchises.
Bloodshot will be the first film arriving in theaters for Valiant, with a release date in 2017, while Harbinger will follow at some point shortly thereafter. Perhaps the most noteworthy mention is the attachment of directing duo David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, the guys behind last year’s action romp John Wick. The two filmmakers are slated to direct Bloodshot, with Jeff Wadlow – director of Kick-Ass 2 – and Eric Heisserer (2011’s The Thing) set to pen the script. Heisserer is then also attached to write the script for Harbinger, although there is no director listed for the project yet.
Bloodshot is one of Valiant’s most beloved properties, and tells the story of a soldier brought back from the dead and given superhuman strength, speed, endurance, and healing powers thanks to innovative nanotechnology. In many ways, Bloodshot is a darker version of Marvel’s Captain America, with both super-soldiers sharing similar backstories. Bloodshot also shares similarities, however, with Wolverine from X-Men and Jason Bourne of the Bourne franchise, as he’s similarly suffering from amnesiac symptoms and on the hunt for those responsible.
Harbinger, on the other hand, follows a group of outcast teenage superheroes and can best be described as Valiant’s version of the X-Men. The eventual crossover film for both properties, Harbinger Wars, is based off the 2013 critically acclaimed comics of the same name.