It might be hard to imagine now given the continued and unprecedented success of the genre, but for a long time studios believed that superhero movies were too risky a proposition and not worth either the effort or investment required, with the most high-profile comic book hits in history up until the turn of the 21st Century mostly comprised of either Superman or Batman adventures.
The disastrous reception to Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin almost killed the genre completely, and while many point to Bryan Singer’s X-Men as the project that kicked off the explosion in popularity that’s still going strong two decades later, 1998’s Blade was arguably even more pivotal in showing the studios how comic book characters could be the subjects of great movies while also treating them seriously and with the greatest respect.
One of the more recent adaptations to hit our screens was Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot, which ultimately sank at the box office before being released on home video just two weeks later as the Coronavirus pandemic kicked into high gear, but despite the movie’s poor performance, it appears as though the filmmakers are keen to forge ahead with their planned Valiant Cinematic Universe regardless.
While most people that attempt to launch an interconnected series of movies look to the MCU’s Iron Man for inspiration, Valiant boss Dan Mintz instead sees Blade as the one that they should try and emulate when it comes to trying to put the VCU on the map.
“One of my jobs is to take what took Marvel twenty years, and compress that down. That’s in defining who you are, more importantly who you’re not, and really, really hammering home on that differentiation. I see Bloodshot as our Blade. It certainly isn’t Iron Man, Kevin Feige got in there and connected it to a universe, and that really delivered that value to the fans. I think we’re able to develop and bring that next level of character that people really want now. It’s not the format, it is the evolution of story, and I believe that Valiant is an evolution of storytelling in a comic book.”
Bloodshot‘s poor critical and commercial performance, as well as rumors of an impending reboot already, may have gone some way to dissuading Mintz from following the Marvel Studios template, but with rumors of John Cena, Will Smith and Dwayne Johnson all being courted by the upstart franchise, it seems as though one setback isn’t going to stop Valiant from trying to get their shared universe up and running.