Take a moment to think about the concept of comic book movies. You’re likely either thinking about the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the DC Extended Universe. These are franchises that have needed years, millions and millions of dollars, and enough dedicated fans to make something big. But, despite some blips here and there, they made it happen. It sometimes seems like the future of comic book films will forever be on their shoulders, but we may be proven wrong. The Valiant Cinematic Universe is on its way to shake things up. Dan Mintz, chairman of Valiant Entertainment, spoke with Deadline about the future of the VCU. He knows that they’re “standing on the shoulders of giants” but they’re ready to disrupt it all.
The Valiant Cinematic Universe Is Ready To Stand In The Spotlight
Everybody knows what Marvel and DC are, regardless of their interest in comic books. Batman, Captain America, and Wonder Woman (to name a few) are all household names, and rightfully so. They deserve to have the spotlight, but there’s more than enough room to share it if another franchise can differentiate themselves enough. DMG Entertainment recently took over Valiant Entertainment and their comics. There are more than 2000 characters to work with, and they’re ready to take them to the big screen.
The company recently stepped into the waters of comic book films with Bloodshot. The film, starring Vin Diesel, released on March 13th, 2020. Not the best time for a new release, considering the global pandemic that premiered alongside it. The story follows the titular character as he is killed and re-animated to receive superpowers. Box office numbers are a poor representation of the potential for the film, as COVID-19 slew any potential it had. However, the coronavirus isn’t the only problem that any VCU films will face. The biggest problem? It’s going up against major cinematic universes that have already been established.
In a recent interview with Deadline, Dan Mintz had plenty to say about the future of the Valiant Cinematic Universe. He recognizes that it’ll be a tough road ahead, but believes in the genuine strengths of each Valiant character. His words shed light on the potential that the company has, and why it’s one that we should be keeping our eyes on.
Image via Columbia Pictures & Sony.
How Valiant Entertainment Is Unique Enough
Marvel is owned by Disney. Per The Mouse’s demands, there are certain things that just can’t happen at Disney. They’ll always be family-friendly to a certain extend, and so things like gore, nudity, and excessive cursing just can’t happen. They’ve made it work so far, but it does limit them. Mintz addresses this and compares the two companies, saying that “If they’re network TV, we’re HBO. If they’re PC we’re Mac,” highlighting their differences. There’s certainly nothing wrong with network TV, but HBO has found fame for its boundary-pushing content that network TV could never do. And, if Deadpool proved anything, people are down for some R-fated superhero films.
Mintz also believes that it’s incorrect to think that the state of comic book films will always be the same. He compares it to before either company had an entire cinematic universe created. There was a time where Batman films were at the center of everything, and people would laugh at the idea of Marvel ever being able to compete. People thought DC would always be in the lead but were proven wrong. If that can happen, why can’t Valiant Entertainment shake things up in a similar way?
They’re Ready To Shake Up The Format
One thing that Mintz believes about comic book films is that they become formulaic. “After a while, it’s just superheroes hurling planets at each other. It becomes so big,” he explains. Sure, it’s pretty neat to watch heroes hurl planets. But he has a point. The “good guy always wins” aspect in previous comic films has become formulaic and it’s easy to predict how the ending will always turn out.
Valiant’s solution to this problem? Mintz believes that the characters they have to work with are more human than superhuman, giving them unique problems to face. The DCEU has made progress with this, as many of their struggles rely on issues of morality rather than just superpowers. In fact, Mintz comments on how Joker did this in a superb way, as it allowed people to lean into the humanity of it all. The DCEU has tried to tackle this kind of story, especially in allowing characters to debate whether the decisions they are making are for the greater good. Still, they tend to be on a larger scale, which, Mintz says, just becomes “so big”.
We know that the origins of superheroes aren’t always what matters because we’ve seen it all. Instead, it can be worthwhile to spend more time developing the character as a whole, and not as a single clog in the machine. This, Mintz says, allows us to go “deeper”. Some hero films are hesitant to push beyond what we’ve been comfortable watching for years, but the VCU isn’t afraid to push the boundaries created by expectations.
Yeah, they’re pretty big. Image via Marvel Studios
Valiant Has Some Fresh New Characters With Good Stories To Tell
Valiant is the youngest in the bunch of comic publishers. They’re from the 90s, which Mintz believes gives them an edge. He explains how DC and Marvel are both products of their time and the time period where their characters were born will always force them to have specific limitations. Since Valiant characters are relatively newer, they escape some of those limits, and have “more of a worldview”. He adds that “their problems are closer to our problems,” stating that there is more diversity.
Some of Valiant’s characters include Faith, a plus-size superhero woman, Rai, a Japanese cyborg, and Mary-Maria, a Latinx martial artist. They are characters that Valiant created so that they could explore stories through the eyes of different perspectives. Fans have been complaining about the lack of representation in both Marvel and DC for years, often commenting on why it took so long to get a female standalone film for either. With Valiant, that looks like it should never be a problem.
If We Ever See Scorsese Direct A Superhero Film, It’ll Be Valiant
Martin Scorsese made headlines for his dislike of superhero movies. He claimed that they were not real cinema, comparing them to theme parks. Mintz comments on this, saying that he thinks that Scorsese may think differently about their characters. Scorsese characters are “not good or bad or right or wrong. They just are,” he claims, explaining how many Scorsese characters, despite their beliefs, still feel like characters that we can understand and can feel their deep past. If VCU characters can feel like that, maybe he’ll have a change of heart and see the benefit in these “theme park” characters.
Scorsese knows his characters, but would he ever bring a comic book character to life? Image via Netflix.
The Future of the Valiant Cinematic Universe
Right now our only Valiant Cinematic Universe film to watch is Bloodshot. The future of the rest may be delayed because of the pandemic, but they’re still very much in development. The next film, Harbinger, will be directed by Justin Tipping and released by Paramount. Other upcoming films include Archer and Armstrong, Shadowman, and Faith. Plenty more are rumored to be in the works.
Dan Mintz is passionate about the future of Valiant and the Valiant Cinematic Universe. He also has a deep love for comic book movies and thinks that Hollywood has gotten them wrong before. They’re “the gangster films and westerns” of our time, and “the anchor of pop culture”. We don’t disagree, and we’re excited to see what the future of the Valiant Cinematic Universe holds for us.
It took Marvel more than 20 years to build a successful universe, but Dan Mintz thinks that Valiant can do it in less time. So, readers, are you excited to see what’s to come? Let us know what you think about Valiant characters, and if you believe that Bloodshot was a good introduction.
Featured image via Sony Pictures.
Meghan Hale is a graduate student living right outside of Toronto, Canada. She has always been the go-to gal for talking about anything film related and has a frustratingly long list of movie trivia up her sleeve. She is currently working on her first screenplay, as well as a horror novel, with the goal of publishing it while Stephen King is still around to read it.