The Marvel/Netflix Universe may be in danger, but Netflix probably isn’t sweating it. Instead, the streaming giant is making real use of its own comic book IP library, Millarworld, with the 2016 comic Reborn entering production as Netflix’s first original Millarworld movie.
On Wednesday, Netflix announced via its sci-fi and fantasy Twitter division, NX on Netflix (@NX) that the 2016 comic Reborn will be adapted into a feature film directed by Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie) with Sandra Bullock (star of Bird Box) attached as producer.
Reborn, set in a “virtual fairy tale” that plays up the tropes of fantasy novels and role-playing games, is a 2016 comic published by Image and written by Mark Millar, best known for comics like Kick-Ass and Kingsman, and artist Greg Capullo (DC’s best-selling Batman).
Reborn is only of many Millarworld properties set to be adapted by Netflix. In 2017, the streaming service acquired Mark Millar’s comic book company Millarworld, which houses virtually all of Millar’s original works not including his comics for Marvel and DC. Previous to the merger, Millarworld comics like Wanted, Kick-Ass, and Kingsman became the source material major Hollywood movies.
A number of Millarworld books are already in the Netflix originals pipeline. The comics Empress, Huck, and Sharkey the Bounty Hunter are slated to become films, while Jupiter’s Legacy and American Jesus will be shows. In December 2018, Millar confirmed Jupiter’s Legacy would be the first series released, with former Daredevil producer Steven S. DeKnight as showrunner. Now Reborn will be a film as well.
While Millarworld comics don’t have the benefit of time and heritage to be “iconic” — certainly not in the way many Marvel and DC comics are — Millar has an undeniable (if eerie) track record of successful, profitable adaptations without the benefit of established brand recognition.
Who among us went into Kingsman going, “Sweet, a Millarworld movie”? Very few, I bet, and yet Kingsman: The Secret Service was a major box office winner when it was released in 2014, functioning as counter-programming to Fifty Shades of Grey. The sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, saw similar results in the summer of 2017.
As Marvel and Netflix start a rocky divorce that will see a migration of Marvel content to Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, it’s logical that Netflix would look elsewhere a stable of ready-to-adapt stories in the form of Millarworld. DMG Entertainment did the same thing in 2017, in its purchase of Valiant Comics, which has a deal with Sony. (Bloodshot starring Vin Diesel will be released in 2020.)
*Related video: Everything new coming to Netflix in February 2019.