Toby Kebbell, who played Doctor Doom in Josh Trank's catastrophic Fantastic Four, will get another shot at a comic book franchise with Bloodshot, The Wrap reveals.
Kebbell will reportedly play the film's villain, "Axe." He joins a cast that includes Vin Diesel in the title role along with Sam Heugan, Michael Sheen, Eiza González, Talulah Riley, and Alex Hernandez.
Axe is likely a reinvention of Ax, who has ties to Project Rising Spirit and the Harbinger characters (who will reportedly feature in follow-ups if Bloodshot is a hit).
Per the Valiant Comics Wiki, "Ax is a young computer wizard who has been seen in different versions of the Valiant Universe. The original Valiant Comics version was an evil Harbinger who acted as a villain towards several different heroes. The rebooted Valiant Entertainment version is a more heroic political activist with no powers, who becomes an ally to the Harbinger Renegades."
It could be, then, that Axe is only a villain in the sense that he is tied to the government project that gave Bloodshot his powers and presumably wants him back once he goes off the reservation. He could theoretically stick around in a less-evil role for future stories.
Bloodshot, the first big-budget feature film to be based on a character created for Valiant Comics, will reportedly begin production in July.
Diesel will play Ray Garrison, a super-soldier created by Project Rising Spirit, whose powers come from nanites, which enter his bloodstream and give him a variety of powers, including the ability to recover from almost any trauma by consuming protein.
The process which gave him his powers also installed a number of implanted identities into Bloodshot's brain, creating a lasting identity crisis. For most of his publishing history, Bloodshot has not known his true identity, and has had no life outside of being Bloodshot. The current Bloodshot Reborn series, in which he tries (and mostly fails) to have a normal life, could easily be a major influence on the feature film, as it would ground the character somewhat.
The idea of the implanted identities was not to dehumanize him (although at times that provided some unexpected boons) but to give him personal motivations for each new mission.
His original purpose was to hunt down and capture or assassinate psiots -- rogue superhumans with mental powers that had been developed as part of Project Rising Spirit. Eventually, he broke through his programming and set about trying to learn the truth about himself.
Created in 1992 by Kevin VanHook, Don Perlin, and Bob Layton, Bloodshot’s anonymous backstory likely owes something to Wolverine, who was also the product of a clandestine experiment that gave him a healing factor. Wolverine's own past was largely unwritten at the time of Bloodshot’s creation. Agonizing about, and searching for, his true self was a major part of Wolverine’s story in the’ 90s.0comments
When Valiant relaunched in 2012 after about a decade without new comics, Duane Swierczynski reinvented Bloodshot for the new line.
Jeff Wadlow and Eric Heisserer will write the film for directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski. Little else is known about the project, although Jared Leto is reportedly in talks to play villain Angelo Mortalli. The hope is that Bloodshot will be successful enough to launch a trilogy of interconnected films, including the Project Rising Spirit-heavy Harbinger and Harbinger Wars.