The comic-to-film adaptation of the Image Comics’ COWBOY NINJA VIKING is set to roll cameras in less than a month. This hasn’t stopped Universal from pulling in two new writers at the last minute to re-hash the script. The studio has nailed down director Michelle MacLaren, renowned for her contributions on Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, and already cast the talent with Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Jurassic World) playing the lead. Even with big names helming the film, many film aficionados believe the recent additions spell trouble for the planned action summer blockbuster, but maybe there’s a method to the studio’s perceived madness.
The story follows Duncan, a member of an unconventional government counter intelligence unit that turns multiple personality patients into ultimate assassins. When these agents, referred to as Triplets, go rogue, Duncan (with the personalities of a cowboy, a ninja, and a viking, respectively) is sent to bring them in or take them down. The film has set a release date for June 28th, 2019.
Unfortunately the movie, which has been a passion project for the self proclaimed super fan, Pratt, has been in development hell for the better part of a decade. The rights to the Image IP were gobbled up by the Disney money monster in 2010, but then released to Universal who got the ball rolling only a year later. Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, writers of the rated-R comic book movie hit ‘Deadpool’, were brought in to pen the first draft of the script. Then later, the dynamic duo was replaced by Craig Mazin, mainly known for the ‘Hangover’ films. Then in February of this year, Mazin was replaced by Eric Pearson, writer of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’. Looking at the talent that Universal has brought in to pen this script, they are obviously looking for a comedic tone, which is why it was surprising that the studio announced the introduction of Ryan Engle and Dan Mazeau to the writing room on May 17th of this year. Engle, known for his work on Dwayne Johnson’s new movie ‘Rampage’, and Mazeau, the man who scribed ‘Wrath of the Titans’, were asked to work together to create yet another draft.
The introduction of these two writers can only mean one thing: It has the funny, but it’s missing the action. When Wernick and Reese were penning ‘Deadpool’, they had the talent of T.J. Miller and Ryan Reynolds to help ad-lib the comedic moments during the filming process, but they still managed to hit you right in the feels for the sad moments. Enter the ‘Hangover’ writer, Mazin, to beef up the absurdity to eleven. Now add a dash of Pearson, with his penchant for one-liners and sacrificing the moment for the laugh, as he did in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, and you have a recipe for a hilariously absurd ride with plenty of quips and deep emotional scenes to spare. At this point, the script had its wisecracking cowboy and its silently emotional ninja, but it was missing one very important part: the loud and destructive Viking! It would appear that Universal knows exactly what it’s doing by adding in the very writers who brought us the over-the-top action of the ‘Rampage’ monsters and the likes of the KRAKEN. These guys know how to juggle huge action, and that may be what the script needs to send it soaring at the box office.
So, what do you think? Will the repeatedly re-worked script reflect the multiple personalities of these mentally unstable characters, or do these new writers spell certain doom for the upcoming adaptation? Comment Below!!