The Valiant Cinematic Universe will now be divided, as Paramount acquires the rights to Harbinger and more Valiant properties from Sony, who'll retain Vin Diesel's Bloodshot franchise. With Hollywood's interest in shared comic book movie universes, Sony first began working to create one for Valiant's titles in 2016. The original plan was for two Harbinger movies and two Bloodshot films that would lead to a Harbinger Wars adaptation crossover.
While Bloodshot picked up steam when Diesel signed on in 2018 and is approaching its early 2020 release date, the Harbinger movie has been stuck in limbo. The film is based around the Valiant series of the same name, which follows a group of outcast teenagers with superpowers. It finally obtained a director in Justin Tipping late last year, and appeared to be moving ahead with Sony. A shortlist for potential stars began to emerge online, with Noah Centineo and Dylan O'Brien linked to the lead role of Pete Stancheck. However, it's no longer set at Sony - and neither are several other Valiant properties.
According to THR, Paramount has acquired the rights to the Harbinger movie from Sony. The move comes after producer Neil Moritz left Sony to sign an overall deal with Paramount last year. He's now managed to bring some Valiant properties with him, namely the Harbinger franchise. Tipping is still attached to direct, but the project is no longer being fast-tracked, and will instead undergo a short redevelopment period with Paramount. This move will divide plans for Valiant's cinematic universe, as Bloodshot will remain with Sony and may not be associated with a shared universe if one takes off.
Even though Bloodshot is a character with strong ties to the Valiant universe, he's not viewed as vital to the creation of a cinematic world. Paramount and Valiant have been able to retain core characters like X-O Manowar, Eternal Warrior, and Archer & Armstrong, along with the Harbinger catalog. While unconfirmed, it stands to reason that supporting Harbinger characters will also move to Paramount, even though Sony previously was developing a standalone film for Faith last year. Likewise, Dave Bautista was at one point attached to play Eternal Warrior, but it's unclear if that'll still be the case.
The division of Valiant's characters between different studios may not be exactly what fans of this universe may want, but at least the majority of them are in one place. The timing of this change is also noticeable, as Sony decided to let a potential shared universe go after regaining full control of Spider-Man. They plan to incorporate the web-slinger into the same world as Venom and other Marvel characters, which is likely why they made a deal with Paramount for Valiant's characters.
For Paramount though, this does give them a shot at entering the superhero cinematic universe landscape, which they haven't been part of since Disney bought Marvel Studios. They've recently begun focusing on relaunching G.I. Joe, have two more Mission: Impossible sequels on the way, and are mulling the future of the Star Trek franchise. The development cycle that Harbinger will be put through will likely be to ensure that it can launch this universe if successful, and hopefully we'll hear more about the state of it soon.
- Bloodshot (2020) release date: Feb 21, 2020