Guardians of the Galaxy star Vin Diesel will step into a superhero role for the second time when Bloodshot debuts on March 13. (Or third, if you consider Xander Cage a personal hero, as everyone should.) Unlike the usual box office giants of the comic book genre, the title character hails not from Marvel or DC, but the pages of Valiant Comics. It’s understandable if your immediate reaction to a Bloodshot movie isn’t “whoo!” but “who?”, and we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about this pale-skinned badass with nanites in his blood.
Breaking down Bloodshot’s “identity” is more complicated than it sounds because he’s a man with layers, like an onion, or an extremely deadly Shrek. Created by writer Kevin VanHook and artist Yvel Guichet, the character first briefly popped up in 1992’s Eternal Warrior #4 and was an immediate hit with readers. He received a pretty lengthy 52-issue solo run, which was rebooted in 1997, and then again in 2012. Throughout the years, Bloodshot’s backstory has been fleshed out, but the basics remain the same.
In his final form, “Bloodshot” is a super-soldier, the end result of an experiment conducted by the shadowy government agency Project Rising Spirit. They have their fingers firmly wedged in all sorts of unethical mumbo-jumbo—including a good old-fashioned ancient secret society called The Sect—but their crowning achievement is Bloodshot, an ordinary man injected with state-of-the-art nanite technology. (Yes, they “shot” the tech into his “blood”. Do the math.) There were many failed attempts, but the one that stuck involved a former soldier named Ray Garrison. Diesel will play Garrison in the film alongside Talulah Riley as Gina DeCarlo, Garrison’s wife, who he lost during a mysterious double assassination.
Or did he? The nanotechnology implanted in his body gives Garrison a host of superhuman abilities, including instant-healing, super-strength, and shape-shifting. He’s basically like all the Terminators somehow had a child, and it inherited 0% of Jason Clarke’s lameness. However, in an attempt to keep their living weapon loyal and motivated to the cause, Project Rising Spirit also designed the tech to manipulate his memories, which shifted based on the mission. Eventually, Bloodshot learned enough to know that even “Ray Garrison”—and the entire past that came with it—was possibly a false memory. Bloodshot has a lot in common, thematically, with his brother-in-bloodshed over at Marvel, Wolverine. Both characters were experimented on and manipulated to serve a purpose, and both broke free and dedicated themselves to finding out the truth behind who they really are.
Based on the trailer, that’s the driving force of the Bloodshot film as well. But it’ll be interesting to see how close-ended the final product turned out to be. Back in 2016—when Jared Leto was still attached to play Bloodshot—Sony had huge plans for its Valiant-verse. Originally, Bloodshot was supposed to follow the Valiant adaptation Harbinger, and both films would lead to a cross-over titled Harbinger Wars. (The same name as a storyline that also played out in the comics, one that involved telekinetically-gifted children called Psiots, who Bloodshot had been forced to capture as part of his Project Rising Spirit programming.) But things have definitely changed; just last year, Sony offloaded a number of its bigger titles, which included Harbinger hopping over to Paramount.
But still, with Diesel attached and even the least well-received comic book titles still raking in money, you gotta’ assume Sony has some sort of future in mind. We’ll find out for sure when Bloodshot debuts on March 13. Check out the latest trailer below, and be on the lookout for Perri Nemiroff’s interviews with the cast, including an update from Diesel on The Last Witch Hunter 2.