Comic books fans are already familair with Valiant Entertainment's host of heroes and villains, and thankfully those hit characters are set to leap from the page into some new spaces. We already know that Valiant's developing several film projects with Sony, but we won't have to wait for the movies to see Valiant's characters in action because they're coming to the digital space in Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe.
Check out the first trailer for Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe below:
The upcoming web series, announced at New York Comic Con over the weekend, will be the first project for Valiant Digital — a new division of the company dedicated to creating short form content for emerging media. The six episode series, directed by Aaron and Sean Schoenke of Bat In The Sun Productions, will bring fans an original story inspired by the comics that will see ninja/MI-6 superspy Ninjak, a.k.a. Colin King, facing off against Valiant's greatest heroes.
Movie Pilot was invited to visit the L.A. set of Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe, and learned a ton of information about the upcoming series. If you want to gear-up on your Valiant Entertainment knowledge you're in luck, because we're running through everything we learned during our behind the scenes look at the project.
Why Is Ninjak Fighting Valiant's Heroes?
Ninjak might be a bit of an antihero, but as fans know he' generally a good guy, so why's he fighting the Valiant heroes in the first place? Well, as Valiant CEO and Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani told us, he's basically being forced to fight.
According to Shamdasani, the series will find Ninjak forced to steal a top secret item from MI-6 by Roku, a master assassin and one of his major adversaries. He does it, but can't reveal what's going on, prompting MI-6 to call in Unity — Valiant's premier superhero team — to track down the ninja and retrieve the stolen goods.
What Valiant Characters Will Ninjak Face?
Michael Rowe, best know for playing Deadshot on The CW's Arrow, will bring Ninjak to life for the new series. The actor's previous comic book experience will definitely serve him well, and having seen him up close in the Ninjak costume we can confidently say he's a great pick for the role. But Ninjak will have to face down some crazy competition during the series, including:
- Jason David Frank as Bloodshot
- John Morrison as the Eternal Warrior
- Chantelle Barry as Roku
- Kevin Porter as Armstrong
- Ciera Foster as Livewire
- Derek Theler as X-O Manowar
- Damion Portier as Shadowman
We also know that Valiant plans to reveal some more characters closer to the series's launch. Valiant fans will recall that both Faith and Toyo Harada have been involved with the Unity team in the past, so we could see them appear again.
Inspired By The Best Superhero Series
As the first series for Valiant Digital, and the first time Valiant's characters will appear in live action, the company's looking to prove to diehard fans and newcomers alike that it can make more than just great comics.
"We're essentially trying to do a Netflix Original series or a CW show that's digital only, digital exclusive," says Shamdasani, a smart move given the success of Marvel's Netflix shows and The CW's Arrowverse. We got a chance to watch two unfinished scenes from the series — one Bloodshot fight scene and one Ninjak fight scene — and Shamdasani's comparison is pretty accurate. Even in incomplete states, the scenes featured some solid special effects and fight choreography. And the costumes for Ninjak and Bloodshot were even more impressive, perfectly bringing their comic book looks to life.
Looking for more on the Valiant Universe? Check these out:
- Have A Little Faith: Why Valiant's New Series Is A Must-Read
- Can Valiant Bring A Resurgence Of Superhero Movies?
- Move Over, Marvel And DC: Valiant Begins A New Superhero Cinematic Universe
Even more interesting, the series will feature different styles in different episodes, matching up with the feel of Ninjak's various opponents. For example, the ninja's fight with super-soldier Bloodshot will be more grim and gritty, while his fight with the hedonistic immortal Armstrong will be a bit more comedic. The variety should give fans a reason to come back for every episode.
Jason David Frank & Michael Rowe Are Ready For Action
We got a chance to talk with stars Michael Rowe and Jason David Frank during our visit, and both are ready for some major action during Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe.
Frank plays Bloodshot, a violent super-soldier with a mysterious past, which might come as a shock to fans who know him as Tommy Oliver a.k.a. the Green/White Ranger from the Power Rangers TV series. We already thought his casting was spot on, and Frank's dedication to the role proves that's true. As the actor noted:
"I'm one guy that knows I'm a hard worker and I don't do the thing for anything else. It ain't about money, nothing else. ... People are going to see this and I won't even say 'underestimate' it because they won't have time to pick it apart. They're just gonna be so like, 'oh, wow, crazy.'"
Rowe is similarly dedicated to the role, having familiarized himself with Ninjak's various comic book appearances and getting martial arts training to make sure he'll be able to mimic the character's ninja skills on screen. It was a different process than Rowe's previous outing as Deadshot, and as the actor noted:
"For other superhero parts that I've prepared for, I didn't really read too many comic books because I didn't want to do an impression of a character. ... This is the first time that I've had the opportunity to absolutely be the first to bring [a character] to life, and I dug in so hard to the comics to do it."
It's great to hear that two of the series's biggest stars were so dedicated to their roles, and if the rest follow suit we're bound to get something pretty special.
Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe Is Perfect For Newcomers And Diehard Fans Alike
Valiant Entertainment hopes to reach a whole new audience with Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe and the Valiant Digital initiative. The upcoming series, which is heavy on action while still having an interesting story, should be an easy sell for newcomers — if you like superheroes, you'll like this. Casual fans might be familiar with the Marvel and DC universes, but Shamdasani noted that they'll also be able to find something to love from the Valiant Universe:
"For us, it's all about how can we do something [Marvel and DC] are afraid to do, that they haven't thought of, or their universe doesn't allow them to do. ... What we're hoping to get across is that our characters are grounded."
Newcomers can relate to the Valiant characters because they don't look or act like your typical superheroes. And while plenty of comics fans are know that, the show will still appeal to Valiant lovers. Josh Johns, Valiant's Associate Director of Digital Media and Development and a producer on the project alongside Shamdasani, noted:
"It's an original story, but it's steeped in the vast lore of the Valiant tradition. Any fan who's been reading our comics will see the little bits of inspiration along the way."
Ninjak vs. The Valiant Universe is set to show fans and newcomers alike something totally original, bringing all the quality you'd expect from your favorite superhero shows and movies to the digital space. With a stable of unique characters, top notch talent and plenty of incredible action, this is a superhero series you won't want to miss.
Ninjak Vs. The Valiant Universe will hit the web late 2017. What do you want to see in Valiant Entertainment's latest project? Let us know in the comments below.