Chris Pratt is about to have another franchise under his belt. Not only is the former Parks and Recreation star the lead in both the Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World franchises, but he is about to be three classic heroes all rolled into one in another comic book adaptation. Universal has just set a release date for Cowboy Ninja Viking, which will adapt the Image Comics series for the big screen, which will arrive in theaters on June 28, 2019.
The news comes courtesy of Deadline, who are reporting that Universal has placed Cowboy Ninja Viking for a premium summer release and has confirmed that Chris Pratt, who has been attached to the project for some time, is indeed going to star as the titular hero. As the report notes, Pratt will play a hero who puts to use the best skills of three different personas; a cowboy, a ninja and a viking, as the title suggests. No director has been attached yet to direct the adaptation, but Mark Gordon, Michael De Luca and Guymon Casady will produce alongside Chris Pratt.
Cowboy Ninja Viking started out as a comic book series from writer A.J. Lieberman and artist Riley Rossmo in 2010. Disney had originally optioned the book, but the project never got going at the Mouse House, so Universal stepped in and decided to actually do something with it. Things have taken a while to get going, but it sounds as though they are heating up for real now. Here is an official description of the plot from the Cowboy Ninja Viking comic books, courtesy of Image Comics.
"It started with Dr. Sebastian Ghislain: rogue psychotherapist/covert op/DJ. Tasked with creating a counter-intelligence unit, he turned to those long thought useless to society...patients with Multiple Personality Disorder. These agents became known simply as Triplets. Misguided? Yeah. Impractical? Sure. But did it work? Absolutely not. Now someone has located each Triplet and created a band of ridiculously disturbed, but highly effective assassins. Our only hope? A Triplet known as Cowboy Ninja Viking!"
Marvel and DC Comics have always been the big two, but with comic book movies so big at the moment, studios are looking elsewhere to try and find their next big franchise. Image Comics is one of the major publishers being tapped, as they are responsible for The Walking Dead comics that spawned one of the biggest shows on TV. In addition to Cowboy Ninja Viking, a new Spawn movie was recently announced with Blumhouse producing, who just so happens to have a distribution deal with Universal.
Chris Pratt has asserted himself as a major talent in Hollywood and he seems like the kind of guy that a franchise can be built around. Cowboy Ninja Warrior also seems like something that could really make use of every one of his talents, both as an action star and for his comedic chops. At one point, World War Z director Marc Foster was attached to direct, but that didn't come to pass. John Wick directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch were also in talks at one point, but they have since moved on. Currently, the only other movie slated for the same release date is Paramount's Transformers 6, but since Bumblebee recently moved to December 2018, it seems likely Paramount could shift that release date as well.