Legendary Pictures is poised to have a massive 2017, with the release of Kong: Skull Island and The Great Wall. The latter is from director Zhang Yimou and stars Matt Damon as a warrior who helps the Chinese defend the titular wonder of the world from an unknown threat (marketing has offered glimpses of monsters). The Great Wall has come under fire as the subject of the latest Hollywood whitewashing controversy (which Damon has addressed), but the film's official marketing materials have teased a fantasy epic filled with sweeping visuals and breathtaking action. Legendary has had success with creature features before in the form of Pacific Rim and Godzilla, so they're hoping Great Wall can continue the tradition.
The movie is hitting several foreign countries by the end of the month (including, fittingly, China), and will not hit the United States until February. This gives the studio a couple more months to continue to promote the big-budgeted production. It's very common for would-be tentpoles and blockbusters to have tie-in material that can flesh out the story the film presents. Fans may recall that Doctor Strange had a prequel comic that offered more details on Mads Mikkelsen's villain. The Great Wall is getting something similar - a graphic novel titled Last Survivor.
In a press release, Legendary Comics announced that the book will be available on January 24, 2017 in both hardcover and electronic versions. It will serve as a prequel the the movie, revealing key backstory elements about the secret society of heroes who defend the world from within the Great Wall. You can read the official description below:
What if an army was created to defend our world from an enemy so dangerous, its very existence must be kept a secret? Built to keep out the ferocious Tao Tei, The Great Wall is the most powerful defensive structure ever built; but it is the heroes within that make the wall great:The Nameless Order. Set sixty years prior to the film, in the mysterious lands of ancient China, tragedy forces young Bao into joining The Nameless Order and upholding the corps’ four principles: Discipline, Loyalty, Secrecy, and Sacrifice. Challenged by rivals, haunted by his past, and tested by desires, Bao spends his life preparing for one singular moment: when he will have to defend the world from ferocious monsters that have come to devour us all.
An original graphic novel inspired by the major motion picture The Great Wall from Legendary, Universal Pictures, China Film Co., Ltd and Le Vision Pictures, directed by Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers) and starring Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal and Willem Dafoe. The Great Wall: Last Survivor is written by Arvid Nelson (Rex Mundi) with art by Gian Fernando (13 Legends). The cover art is by Whilce Portacio.
Given that the graphic novel is set 60 years before The Great Wall, it is unlikely that it will be required reading for general audiences to understand the film's plot. However, it could very well enhance the experience of watching the movie if one picks it up beforehand. There may be some small references to the comic in the screenplay, and having knowledge of the history of the Great Wall and the Nameless Order would only add weight to the proceedings. The Great Wall trailers have featured a highly distinct visual flair, so ideally the artwork will be eye-catching as well.
As stated above, Legendary is a studio that has carved out a niche for themselves in the realm of monsters, so it will be interesting to see how The Great Wall turns out. February is not a month typically known for huge box office numbers, but every once in a while an outlier like Deadpool comes along. Great Wall's commercial prospects will probably greatly depend on the word-of-mouth; if the reactions are positive, then it should be in decent shape. Damon is coming off financial hits The Martian and Jason Bourne, so he's riding a hot streak into the new year.
Source: Legendary Comics
- The Great Wall (2017) release date: Feb 17, 2017