One month before production was set to start on the Chris Pratt-led action vehicle Cowboy Ninja Viking, Universal has removed the film from its release calendar and delayed production indefinitely, according to Collider. However, the film reportedly still remains in active development.
Michelle MacLaren (Game Of Thrones) had been set to make her feature directorial debut with the project, which is based on the graphic novel written by AJ Lieberman and illustrated by Riley Rossmo. Pratt was set to play protagonist Duncan, a new kind of assassin who manifests the toughest skills of three different personas – you guessed it: a cowboy, a ninja, and a viking.
Both remain attached to the film in their respective roles, and they likely would have been joined by Priyanka Chopra, who was in talks to play the female lead. She could still join the film, as could others, though their involvement would have to align with the new production schedule, which no one currently knows.
The film had been in pre-production when Universal abruptly ended discussions with potential supporting actors. It was expected to be a major summer release next year – scheduled for June 28, 2019 – though sources say the studio wasn’t in a rush to release it as they have high hopes and franchise aspirations for the project.
Dan Mazeau (Wrath Of The Titans) and Ryan Engle (Rampage) wrote the most recent draft of the Cowboy Ninja Viking script, with Craig Mazin (Hangover II) penning a previous incarnation, and the original script being written by Deadpool writers Paul Wernick and Everett David Reese.
With that many writers on board at some point, it could be a case of too many cooks in the kitchen that has made Universal push the film indefinitely in search of the best possible script, though that is just speculation. The budget for the film is reportedly relatively modest for an ambitious action movie so delaying the film isn’t going to bankrupt the studio, at least.
But this is still a relatively big deal, as not often is a major summer release due out in less than a year delayed indefinitely. It’s possible Universal simply rejigs the release date over the next few days and any panic from fans of the source material will have seemed premature, but for now we wait on details regarding the future of Cowboy Ninja Viking.