Chris Pratt's Cowboy Ninja Viking lands Michelle MacLaren as director

Contributed by
Jan 31, 2018

The upcoming adaptation of the Image Comics series Cowboy Ninja Viking has just landed an acclaimed director who has been waiting a long time to make the jump to feature films.

According to The Wrap, Universal Pictures has signed Michelle MacLaren to helm the film, which is set to star Chris Pratt. If you feel like you've heard MacLaren's name before, she is one of the most acclaimed directors working in television, having filmed episodes of Westworld, The Walking Dead, The Leftovers, Breaking Bad (for which she won two Emmys as a producer on the show) and Game of Thrones, among others.

MacLaren was also announced as the director of Wonder Woman in late 2014, although she ended up departing the project in April 2015 over creative differences. That job went to another groundbreaking woman, Patty Jenkins. But while MacLaren has continued to work in television, it seemed to be just a matter of time before she got her break in the feature-film world.

Image Comics

Cowboy Ninja Viking tells the story of an assassin named Duncan who suffers from multiple personality disorder and is known within his counter-intelligence unit as a Triplet. With each of his three personalities trained in a different skill set — that of cowboys, ninjas and vikings — Duncan is dispatched to track down a number of Triplets who have gone rogue.

The comic was created by writer A.J. Lieberman and illustrator Riley Rossmo, running for 10 issues in 2009 and 2010 before being collected as a graphic novel. The project was announced several years back and the first pass at the screenplay came from Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, while a more recent rewrite was done by Craig Mazin (The Hangover Part III).

Cowboy Ninja Viking won't actually be MacLaren's feature-film debut; that honor falls to the historical drama The Nightingale, which comes out in January 2019. Cowboy Ninja Viking is due for release on June 28, 2019. It will be interesting to see how MacLaren fares with both, and what this director of some of the most superb TV of recent years can bring to the big screen.