Paramount Picks Up 'Harbinger' Comic From Sony, Possibly Killing The Planned Valiant Comics Movie Universe

Back in 2015, DMG Entertainment made a huge investment in Valiant Comics in an effort to support their desire to build a cinematic universe based on their own comic book characters. It seemed like Sony Pictures would become the home for this cinematic universe since they picked up the rights to Harbinger and Bloodshot, and those two movies would eventually lead into a crossover event movie called Harbinger Wars. But unfortunately, it sounds like Sony has dealt a blow to yet another cinematic comic book universe.

While Sony Pictures still has a Bloodshot movie on the way in February 2020 with Vin Diesel in the lead role, they are selling off the rights to make a Harbinger movie to Paramount Pictures, and the key talent involved behind the scenes will be going with it.

The Hollywood Reporter has details on the Harbinger movie heading to Paramount Pictures. Coming with the comic is attached director Justin Tipping, who also wrote the script with Joshua Beirne-Golden after an initial draft was written by Eric Heisserer (Arrival). Producer Neal Moritz also remains on board after having an integral role in the swap and moving his first-look deal with Sony to Paramount in 2019. He'll be producing with Valiant Comics' own Dan Mintz and Toby Jaffe.

For those who don't know, Harbinger is a comic series that operates as Valiant's version of X-Men, though it's not a total rip-off. The story centers on Peter Stanchek, a teenage runaway with telekinetic powers who forms a team of superpowered beings, known as Harbingers, to take on Toyo Harada, the first Harbinger to manifest superpowers who now runs a foundation that has been hunting down other superpowered people.

Harbinger was originally slated to start production this fall. Dylan O'Brien (The Maze Runner) and Noah Centineo (To All the Boys I've Love Before) were circling the movie, but now those plans have been scrapped. Instead, the movie will head to Paramount for a short development process to pick up all the pieces of the project, and the creative team will figure out how to move forward from there.

This is kind of a big deal, because it means the the Valiant Comics cinematic universe may not happen as originally envisioned. Valiant finds themselves in a similar situation that Marvel did for a long time because now Bloodshot is situated at Sony, and the character won't be available to be included in a potential crossover. But if Harbinger Wars happens at all, there are those behind the scenes who say the character isn't quite as integral to any crossover or universe-building potential as a character like Spider-Man, so a Valiant universe may still be possible without him.

The original plan was to have a five-film series that ended with Harbinger Wars, and with Bloodshot out of the picture, other characters would have to fill those slots. Thankfully, Valiant still has the rights to other characters like X-O Manowar, Eternal Warrior and Archer & Armstrong. But it remains to be seen if Paramount Pictures has any interest in using those characters to build their own cinematic universe. That's proven to be rather difficult for any studio that isn't Marvel, so they're probably best served just taking it one step at a time.

Is anyone out there interested in these Valiant Comics adaptations?