Harbinger movie heads to Paramount, squashing Sony’s Valiant Universe
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the cinematic adaptation of Valiant Entertainment property Harbinger is setting up camp at Paramount Pictures, vacating Sony Pictures where a crossover with their upcoming Bloodshot was in the works.
TV director Justin Tipping (Dear White People, The Chi) moves to Paramount with the project, as does the script he co-wrote with Joshua Beirne-Golden from an original draft by Academy Award-nominated writer Eric Heisserer (Arrival). Bloodshot producer Neal Moritz, whose first-look deal moved from Sony to Paramount in 2018, will remain on to produce Harbinger with Toby Jaffe and Valiant Comics’ Dan Mintz. Actors Dylan O’Brien and Noah Centineo were at one time circling the project, but now that it is no longer on the fast track they are not attached. Paramount will put Harbinger back in development with the currently-attached behind-the-scenes team.
However you shake it, this move is not exactly a vote of confidence in Sony’s Bloodshot, which is currently in post-production with Blur Studios’ Dave Wilson making his feature debut from a script by Heisserer and Jeff Wadlow. Vin Diesel is playing the title role of Ray Garrison/Bloodshot, and when the film opens on February 21, 2020 it was hoped to launch a crossover franchise that would ultimately lead to a Harbinger War film featuring the title team and Bloodshot. Those plans now appear to be scrapped, according to the trade. However, Valiant still retains the rights to popular original characters like X-O Manowar, Eternal Warrior and Archer & Armstrong, which could now form a Valiant Cinematic Universe at Paramount.
Plans for the Bloodshot/Harbinger team-up at Sony were originally announced in 2015, with Bloodshot at that time to be directed by John Wick duo David Leitch and Chad Stahelski. The plan was to produce two films for each series then have them both collide in a fifth film, Harbinger War, based on the 2013 crossover comic.
Created by Kevin Van Hook, Don Perlin and Bob Layton, Bloodshot tells the story of a former soldier killed and brought back to life with technological upgrades. This allows him to be the perfect soldier by healing from injuries, shapeshift, and even interact with technology. Harbinger on the other hand was created by Jim Shooter and David Lapham and centers on a group of teenagers with varying superpowers and the Harbinger Foundation that hunts them down, hoping to use them for world control.