Wes Ball To Direct Movie Adaptation Of Valiant Comic, Harbinger

Live-action adaptations of comic book movies aren't exactly a new thing. "Judge Dredd," "Ghost World," "Tank Girl," "Tales From The Crypt," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," and "Josie and the Pussycats" all predated the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe. And of course, there were the various Marvel and DC heroes that adorned the silver screen before these shared movie universes existed as well. But since the rise of the MCU and the DCEU, studios have craved the marketing potential of franchise films connected by a shared mythology, and attempted to replicate the success for themselves. That's why we've seen a ton of non-Big Two comic book properties make the jump to (or in some cases, back to) the screen over the past decade. If they had their way, every studio would have their own "Spider-Man: No Way Home," right?

Now, after a few attempts in the past to get its own cinematic universe started, it looks like Valiant Entertainment is finally making bigger strides to bring their extensive catalogue of characters to the big screen. After testing the waters with 2020's "Bloodshot" starring Vin Diesel at Sony, the company has teamed up with Paramount Pictures to bring "Harbinger" to life with the creative minds that brought us the "Maze Runner" series and "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings."

A Valiant Effort

"Harbinger" follows a teenager named Peter Stanchek, who has psionic powers thanks to being born into a race of evolved superhumans known as Harbingers. He's initially on the run, but is taken in by the most powerful Harbinger in the world, Toyo Harada, and his Harbinger Foundation. Though some see him as a philanthropist, others think Harada is a megalomaniac and Peter finds himself aligned with the latter group. While leading his own team of Harbingers, Peter looks to get to the bottom of things and find out the truth behind Harada and his corporation by exposing their evil plan to weaponize their heroes' powers. It's almost like a happy (but not really happy) medium between "X-Men" and "The Boys."

According to Deadline, Wes Ball is attached to direct Paramount's upcoming adaptation of the Valiant Comics staple from a script written by Andrew Lanham. Ball is best known for directing the three "Maze Runner" films, but he's currently attached to the upcoming "Planet of the Apes." Largely known for his collaborations with filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton on movies such as "The Glass Castle," "Just Mercy," and "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," Lanham also wrote Vincent D'Onofrio's western "The Kid."

And as we mentioned, this isn't the first time Valiant Entertainment has tried to bring "Harbinger" to theaters. The company has been trying to get its own cinematic universe off the ground for a long time. Back in 2008, Brett Ratner had plans to adapt the then-discontinued Valiant comic. Nothing materialized, but when DMG Entertainment decided to drop big money on Valiant in 2015, it was set to move forward with films based on Bloodshot, Shadowman, and Archer & Armstrong. The following year, Sony took the "largest independent superhero universe" on a different path when it outlined plans for a five-film series starting with "Harbinger" and culminating in an "Avengers: Endgame"-level crossover film titled "Harbinger Wars." In 2018, Sony announced plans for a film based on Faith Herbert (a.k.a. the Harbinger known as Zephyr), so it seemed like things were on track for Valiant.

However, things went sideways in 2019. Sony Pictures sold off the rights to the Valiant Universe to Paramount Pictures. Despite being on the schedule for fall of that year and courting Dylan O'Brien (also of "Maze Runner" fame) and Noah Centineo from Netflix's "To All The Boys" series, "Harbinger" was dead again. And when "Bloodshot" premiered in 2020, it not only had to contend with a new theatrical landscape thanks to the ongoing pandemic, it also didn't receive the kind of reviews that Valiant was likely hoping to get. 

Based on these recent developments with Ball and Lanham, it doesn't look like Vin Diesel's biotech killing machine was the final nail in the Valiant coffin after all. It's currently uncertain if the upcoming "Harbinger" will share continuity with "Bloodshot," but either way, the Valiant Cinematic Universe could still be a thing.