A while back we told you about the next big thing in the comic book movie world: Valiant Comics creating their own shared movie universe. The American comic book publisher has been making waves over the last few years, with a steady stream of brilliant, award-winning and easily accessible comic book titles that often put the Big Two (that’s Marvel and DC) to shame with their quality storytelling and characters. And it seems they were going to try and duplicate that success, even recruiting a pair of “wicked” filmmakers to get the movie universe off the ground.
Since then though, we haven’t heard a thing about Valiant’s cinematic efforts. It seems however, that we were maybe just listening in the wrong place, as I somehow missed some big news from last month already! As Bleeding Cool reported, one of Valiant’s coolest characters, Ninjak (who is basically the answer to the question of “What if James Bond and Batman had a child and he was also a ninja?”) would be the first Valiant character to be adapted to screen. But the small screen to be exact, as he will be debuting in a live-action web series.
Rumours surrounding the details of this web series were flying around all over the place, but the likeliest of the bunch is that Ninjak himself would be played by Michael Rowe, best known for playing Deadshot in Arrow. Also rumoured was that the series would be between 6 and 8 episodes and see Ninjak on the run for some reason, having to fend off several of Valiant’s other big name heroes like alien armour-wearing warrrior X-O Manowar, unstoppable super soldier Bloodshot, teen hero Faith, the immortal Ivar the Timewalker and the Eternal Warrior, brother to Ivar and guardian of the Earth itself, a new Valiant character named Savage, and more.
What was confirmed thus far though, was that the series would be produced/directed by Bat In the Sun, the very popular Youtube channel responsible for the awesome Super Power Beat Down videos that we’ve featured on Extras a number of times already. If you’ve seen Bat In the Sun’s work, then you should know that a series focusing on a group of Valiant’s best heroes going toe to toe with one of its deadliest is absolutely perfect for the filmmaking skill set (let’s just hope they get better actors and scriptwriters to match their fight choreography acumen). And apparently the series has already been filming for some time now, as Valiant and Bat In the Sun had been secretly developing this behind the scenes.
Part of this production was gathering a cast, and it appears that besides for Rowe, Jason David Frank (who most famously played the Green Ranger in Power Rangers) and as well as WWE superstar John Morrison were part of the series. Morrison had recently played the Winter Soldier in Bat In the Sun’s Nightwing vs Winter Soldier video so he already had a good working relationship with them.
And earlier this week, more details popped up over on Bleeding Cool as the series was officially confirmed by Valiant who announced that they would showing it off at next month’s New York Comic Con.
Valiant Entertainment, the most acclaimed publisher in comics today, and Bat in the Sun Productions, the team behind the YouTube sensation Super Power Beat Down, join forces for a feature-length live-action series! Join directors Aaron & Sean Schoenke, stars Michael Rowe (CW’s Arrow/Flash), Jason David Frank (Power Rangers), Derek Theler (Baby Daddy), Valiant’s top executives and more for a first look at footage from the top-secret project! Exclusive giveaway and signing to follow!!
Guests: Michael Rowe, Jason David Frank, John Morrison, Derek Theler, Chantelle Barry, Aaron & Sean Schoenke, Josh Johns, Dinesh Shamdasani, and Special Guests!
When it comes to the names mentioned above outside of the previously mentioned trio, Bleeding Cool found Derek Theler already hanging out with Rowe on Instagram, and as you can see he’s quite the physical specimen. The 6ft5 actor was apparently once also in the running for Captain America before Marvel went with Chris Evans. Based on his physical credentials, Bleeding Cool guesstimate that he would probably be a good fit for X-O Manowar, aka the Visigoth warrior king Aric Dacia who was plucked from 5th century Europe by a highly advanced alien race, before escaping back to modern times with a mythical suit of armour.
Bleeding Cool also speculates that with her long, bright red hair, Australian singer/actress Chantelle Barry is a good fit for Roku, the deadly female assassin at odds with Ninjak in a large portion of his solo titles. She was trained by the Order of the Undead Monk and possesses razor sharp psychokinetic hair that she can control at will. Of the other names on that list, Aaron and Sean Schoenke are the Bat In the Sun directors, while Dinesh Shamdasani and Josh Johns are the respective CEO and Associate Director of Digital Media and Development of Valiant itself.
There’s no word yet on what this web series means for Valiant’s feature film plans. Will this exist apart from the movies they have in the pipeline, or will the actors they have in this eventually transition to the big screen? No offense to these guys though, but I don’t think them the type of actors who can carry the type of tentpole feature film that Valiant hopes to put out theatrically.
As a huge fan of these characters and more, I hope they nail this first step though, because this is essentially a proof of concept as to whether or not fans really want another comic book cinematic universe to deal with.
Last Updated: September 15, 2016