In an age where every company with the film rights to anything is plotting a cinematic universe, Valiant Comics is coming out with the Valiant Cinematic Universe —or “VCU” for short. While the Valiant Comics properties aren’t as well-known as that of Marvel or DC, Valiant’s shared movie universe is already shaping up to be better-prepared than DC’s own (whatever it’s called—DC Extended Universe? Worlds of DC?), as they’ve planned more than one movie in advance and don’t intend to splatter every character all over the first interconnected movie and jam as many Easter eggs and sequel setups in there as they can. Here is Everything We Know (So Far) About The Upcoming Valiant Comics Cinematic Universe.
9 It’ll kick off next year with Bloodshot
The first installment in the Valiant Cinematic Universe is due to be released imminently. Bloodshot is set to hit theaters in the spring of 2020, with Vin Diesel in the lead role. Diesel is easily on the Robert Downey, Jr. spectrum of movie stardom, so he’ll make a good starting point. Bloodshot is the superhero alter ego of Ray Garrison, a U.S. Marine who is resurrected as a killing machine when he and his wife are murdered and swiftly turns on his creators. It’s a compelling character to start with, as he’s sort of an antihero and has a dark edge.
8 Bloodshot will release on February 21, 2020
Bloodshot will be arriving in theaters pretty soon. Sony Pictures will be releasing it on February 21, 2020, where it’ll face off against two other adaptations—not from comic books, but classic literary adaptations: an animated version of Jack London’s Call of the Wild and a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. From the previous week, it’ll contend with Sonic the Hedgehog and the Kingsman prequel The King’s Man. In the following week, it’ll square off against the new movie version of Fantasy Island, written and directed by Jeff Wadlow (who, funnily enough, is co-writing Bloodshot, so he’ll be competing with himself at the box office!).
7 A couple of Marvel actors will appear in Bloodshot
The team at Valiant has borrowed a couple of actors from Marvel Comics movies (one MCU actor, one Fox actor) to appear in Bloodshot. Guy Pearce, who played Aldrich Killian to some controversy and disappointment from fans in Iron Man 3, has been cast to play Dr. Emil Harting, the scientist who is responsible for creating the technology that first turns a murdered Ray Garrison into the killing machine that is Bloodshot. And Toby Kebbell, who played Doctor Doom (if you can even call him that) in 2015’s much-maligned Fantastic Four reboot Fant4stic, has been tapped to play Axe, the film’s antagonist.
6 Harbinger is up next
After Bloodshot has been introduced to movie audiences via two solo movies, the VCU will follow it up with two film adaptations of the Harbinger comics. These comics tell the very different story of a group of teenage outcasts with superpowers who form a team to fight evil.
The screenplay will be written by Eric Heisserer, who is also working on the script for Bloodshot, and it’s been reported that the studio has hired Justin Tipping—a TV director behind episodes of Dear White People and Black Monday who, as yet, hasn’t directed a major Hollywood film—to get behind the camera.
5 Harbinger was supposed to be the first one
Bloodshot wasn’t always planned to be the first installment in the VCU. Originally it was going to be Harbinger, and Bloodshot would be saved for second. However, the studio didn’t have enough money for Harbinger without some upfront revenue, so Bloodshot was bumped up. It’s like finding out that Kevin Feige meant to start the MCU with Thor instead of Iron Man. The first movie in a cinematic universe is the make-or-break one. Man of Steel doomed the DC Extended Universe, while Iron Man set up the Marvel Cinematic Universe for lasting, timeless success. Still, it seems like a violent, darkly themed superhero adventure starring Vin Diesel as an ass-kicking antihero leans more towards the latter than the former.
4 There will be five movies in the first stage of the franchise
In the first stage of the VCU—the MCU calls these “Phases,” but the VCU has yet to announce a name for them —there will be five movies. This was part of a five-picture deal signed by Valiant Comics, Sony Pictures, and Original Film. It will comprise two Bloodshot movies, followed by two Harbinger movies, followed by a movie named Harbinger Wars that will bring the characters together. The MCU started off with six movies, but matching them would be a little ambitious. Heck, five is ambitious, but the Valiant characters are captivating and there’s no doubt they’ll grip a worldwide moviegoing audience.
3 It’ll have a dark tone
The team at Valiant Comics generally goes for darker stories, so their cinematic universe will have a pretty grim, violent tone. The DC Extended Universe suffered from its dark tone in contrast with the MCU’s lighter tone, but in the case of Valiant, they’ll probably be able to make it work. DC’s problem was that the people in charge —Warner Bros. executives—didn’t understand the characters they were adapting. Marvel movies are made by Marvel themselves, and they work simply because Marvel understands its own characters. Valiant will be heavily involved in the development of the VCU, and they understand their own characters and the tone that works, so we’re in safe hands.
2 Instead of The Avengers, we’ll have Harbinger Wars
Whereas the MCU brought all of its characters together from solo origins in the ensemble team-up The Avengers, the VCU will do something a little different. Clearly, based on Justice League’s failure, an attempt to outright duplicate Marvel’s model would be futile. Instead, the VCU will give us a movie named Harbinger Wars.
This will follow up a couple of Bloodshot movies and a couple of Harbinger movies by bringing Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot into the Harbingers’ world—possibly as enemies at first, and then later as allies. More characters will likely be brought in as the franchise progresses.
1 Faith Herbert might join the VCU in the future
Last summer, it was announced that Sony Pictures had started working on a film adaptation of the Valiant character Faith Herbert. Faith is famous for being one of the only plus-sized superheroes in comic books, so it would earn the VCU some Black Panther/Captain Marvel-style cred for diversity. Maria Melnik, who wrote the horror movie Escape Room (which is due to get a sequel next summer) and has contributed scripts to TV dramas like Black Sails, Counterpart, and American Gods (on which she worked as a staff writer), has been hired to write the script for the Faith Herbert movie.