In 2014, Michelle MacLaren, one of television’s most highly-sought after directors, having worked on huge hit shows like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, signed aboard to direct Wonder Woman. You may remember us writing about it.
And then, due to the oft-stated reason of creative differences, she left the film in 2015 to eventually be replaced by Patty Jenkins – and the rest is history. Who knows what MacLaren’s version of the film might have looked like (there were rumors of a talking tiger character), but I’d say things worked out alright for that project regardless of the tumultuous pre-production process.
But it did leave an open question regarding MacLaren: just where would she finally make her long-awaited big screen debut?
It can now be told! As the filmmaker has signed aboard to direct Chris Pratt in an adaptation of the Image comic Cowboy Ninja Viking, which has been in development since 2014. The comic, created by AJ Lieberman and Riley Rossmo, centers on an assassin who is trained in the skills of…cowboys, ninjas, and vikings! When the film adaptation was first announced nearly four years ago, Heidi gave some nice context to the series itself:
With 56 super franchise movies coming at ya in the next six years, The Beat has been keeping an eye on whether any of those zillions of non Marvel/DC comics options might be getting closer to the screen. And the answer is sort of yes. For instance Cowboy, Ninja Viking, written by AJ Lieberman and drawn (in spectacular fashion) by Riley Rossmo came out from Image in 2009, five years ago. It was published in the briefly-trendy Golden Age size and was one of the first books to introduce the now ubiquitous limited-palette/expressionist art style that you find in so many comics.
While the Lieberman/Rossmo joint has some inherent humor in the concept, it seems likely that with Pratt on-board, they may lean hard on his on-screen talent for quick wit and affability. Sadly, most movies that haven’t have struggled to make good use of him (see: Passengers).
But more importantly, its great to see MacLaren land on another big project, a comics-based one at that. Here’s hoping it’s the start of a huge feature career. Cowboy Ninja Viking will open June 2, 2019.
Entertainment Editor for The Beat covering film, television and the occasional comic book. His work can also be found at GeekRex.com and can be heard on the GeekRex podcast. Also, your go-to Grant Morrison/Love & Rockets/Hellboy/Legion of Super-Heroes expert.