Marvel and DC may be the first brand names in mind when it comes to western comic books featuring superheroes, but there are more of them in the wider comic publication market. One of these publishers with a solid following of its own is Valiant Comics, formed in 1989 and, following alternating periods of having parent companies and independence, is now a subsidiary of DMG Entertainment. With the big success of Disney-Marvel’s MCU, and the moderate one of Warner-DC’s DCEU, Valiant partnered with Sony to produce film adaptations of its own superhero comics, prospectively known as the “VCU.” Its two initial offerings are “Bloodshot” and “Harbinger,” but now the second film has gotten another studio.
As The Hollywood Reporter tells us, Paramount Pictures has secured production for the film version of Valiant Comics’ “Harbinger,” from its original holder at Sony Entertainment. This transference of production responsibilities is a big wrench in the plans of Sony to develop a superhero film franchise based on another well-known (if not major) comic-book label. Also heading over to Paramount under the new arrangement is the “Harbinger” movie’s original production posse: director Justin Tipping alongside producers Neal H. Moritz, Toby Jaffe and DMG-Valiant’s Dan Mintz.
“Harbinger” is one of the most popular titles from Valiant Comics (later Valiant Entertainment) publishing history, beginning from 1992 to 1995 and rebooting from 2012 to 2014. It is set in a world where some people are born with psychic abilities that can have a variety of applications, similar to Marvel’s “X-Men.” Japanese-American business magnate Toyo Harada is a powerful psychic with a megalomaniacal drive to dominate the world to prevent humanity from destroying itself. His Harbinger Foundation recruits other psychics like himself, using his unique power to awaken their abilities. When a teenaged Harbinger recruit manifests similar power-awakening abilities as Harada, and discovers the philanthropist’s sinister goals, he assembles a group of fellow Harbinger runaways to stand against Harada.
On its original development timetable under Sony Entertainment, “Harbinger” was supposed to have started filming summer or autumn of 2019, but preparations have stalled while Sony worked on the other, first-to-release Valiant movie, “Bloodshot.” With Paramount picking up the movie, it will again undergo a new development process under its new studio before filming. The original prospective Sony cast, including Dylan O’Brien and Noah Centineo, is apparently not being retained.
While Sony Entertainment is looking to get “Bloodshot,” starring Vin Diesel, released on February 2020, it is now missing the expected follow-up of “Harbinger,” jeopardizing their infant “Valiant Cinematic Universe” before it takes off. The splitting of Valiant’s film rights to different studios is now similar to the situation with Marvel and Sony, which has pulled out co-production of “Spider-Man” and has again removed the character from the MCU franchise.
Image courtesy of Comic Book.com