A long-gestating project has landed a highly anticipated director. An adaptation of the Image Comics graphic novel Cowboy Ninja Viking was announced years ago at Universal Pictures, after which Chris Pratt signed on to star and produce. But the project has been gestating for some time while Pratt honed his franchise skills in films like Jurassic World and the Guardians of the Galaxy/Marvel movies. Now, however, it appears Cowboy Ninja Viking may finally be moving forward—with Michelle MacLaren directing.
The critically acclaimed director of some of the best episodes of Breaking Bad, as well as installments of Game of Thrones, Westworld, and The Walking Dead, had initially been poised to make her feature directing debut on Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman. But after a few months on the DCEU project, MacLaren departed over creative differences—there were rumors that she wanted the film to be set in a far earlier time period than World War I, but it’s officially unclear as to exactly why MacLaren left the project. Patty Jenkins came onboard thereafter and the rest is history, but it’s exciting to see that MacLaren will now finally be making the leap to the big screen as Variety reports she’s onboard to helm Cowboy Ninja Viking.
There was no doubt MacLaren would find a big project after leaving Wonder Woman, but it was a question of what and when. Immediately after departing the superhero pic she signed on to executive produce and direct the pilot and Season 1 finale of the HBO series The Deuce, but with Season 1 of that show now complete it sounds like MacLaren is ready to make a movie.
Cowboy Ninja Viking revolves around an assassin who possesses the skills of the three titular personas, and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of tone this thing strikes. The script originated with Zombieland and Deadpool screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, and the most recent draft was penned by Identity Thief and The Hangover Part III screenwriter Craig Mazin. So it sounds like comedy will be a big part of the film.
Universal has set a June 28, 2019 release date for the film, and with Pratt’s duties in Avengers 4 complete it very much sounds like Cowboy Ninja Viking will go in front of cameras sometime later this year.