Sony has reportedly tapped Justin Tipping to direct Harbinger, the second movie in the studio's planned Valiant Comics universe. As far back as 2008, Paramount had designs on making a Harbinger movie with Brett Ratner attached to direct, but nothing came of those plans. Then in 2015, Sony struck a five-movie deal with Valiant to create an entire cinematic universe based on the publisher's titles, including Harbinger and Bloodshot.
Harbinger was in fact originally announced as the first Valiant movie slated to be produced by Sony, but plans later changed and Bloodshot was moved to the front of the line. Jared Leto was originally reported to be seeking the lead in Bloodshot but Vin Diesel ultimately claimed the starring role. Bloodshot is now officially in production, with Dave Wilson slated to direct, and Guy Pearce, Lamorne Morris and Eiza Gonzalez joining Diesel in the cast.
With Bloodshot well on the way to being realized, Sony is moving ahead with the next part of its Valiant Comics shared universe plan. THS reports that the studio has signed Justin Tipping to direct Harbinger, the follow-up to Bloodshot. Tipping has been a frequent collaborator with writer-actor Lena Waithe, directing an episode of her series The Chi, as well as helming the TV movie Twenties, which Waithe wrote. Tipping also worked on the Harbinger script along with Joshua Beirne-Golden.
First published in 1992, Valiant's Harbinger tells the story of a group of super-powered teenage outcasts who band together to battle a fellow super-being who seeks to use their powers for evil ends. The movie will reportedly revolve around the character of Pete Stanchek, aka Sting, a powerful Harbinger who is initially a student of the film's villain Toyo Harada, but later breaks away. The plan for Sony is to release Harbinger after Bloodshot, and then cross over the two titles for a film called Harbinger Wars, that will see Vin Diesel joining forces in some capacity with the teenage characters of Harbinger.
Much like Bloodshot director Dave Wilson, Harbinger helmer Justin Tipping has limited experience when it comes to directing feature films. It remains to be seen if Wilson or Tipping can pull off the superhero genre in a way that satisfies Sony brass while also keeping fans of the original Valiant Comics happy. The juggling act between fan service and making a movie palatable to general audiences is always a tricky one, and it arguably becomes even more difficult when the director in charge is someone who brings limited experience to the table. Of course, from the studio's point-of-view, inexperienced directors are a little easier to control than helmers who have a lot of big hits to their name and therefore demand more creative autonomy.
No release date has yet been announced for Harbinger.
- Bloodshot (2020) release date: Feb 21, 2020