Bloodshot doesn't want to be like other superhero movies. It pokes fun at the gritty origin story, it doesn't have surprise cameos from other superheroes, and there's no post-credits scene to set up a sequel.
But the filmmakers did write a post-credits scene they never filmed and it featured one of the of the biggest villains from the Valiant Comics universe where Bloodshot exists.
'We had a great post-credits sequence," producer Dinesh Shamdasani tells Inverse. "We were talking to Ken Watanabe of coming on board to play [Toyo] Harada."
In an interview, Shamdasani, the longtime Valiant Comics fan who served as the publisher's CEO and Chief Creative Officer before his exit in 2018, broke down the entire written sequence. He also revealed why it didn't happen and what it would have led to in a possible "Valiant Cinematic Universe."
Warning: Spoilers for Bloodshot ahead.
In Bloodshot, now playing in theaters, Vin Diesel stars as Ray Garrison, a deceased U.S. soldier who becomes a test subject for the cutting-edge military group, RST. With a billion nanomachines called "nanites" in his bloodstream, Ray is reborn with incredible superpowers, such as super strength, super healing, and the ability to interface with any technology. But there's more to RST than it seems, and it's not long before Ray uncovers the conspiracy behind his resurrection.
“The after-credits sequence that we had talked about that Vin fell in love with...”
Though Ray confronts his evil creators in the movie's epic finale, Shamdasani reveals that Ray would have met the true antagonist of the Valiant Universe, Toyo Harada, in a post-credits scene that addresses one of the biggest questions left unanswered: Why was Bloodshot created in the first place?
"The after-credits sequence that we had talked about that Vin fell in love with was, you’d see Bloodshot, after the end of the movie, some undisclosed time later," Shamdasani says.
He describes a sequence where Bloodshot would be "in full regalia," complete with his signature comic book look and weaponry of Desert Eagle handguns and katana swords on his back.
"He's in an urban environment. He opens the door, and suddenly behind this door, it's a vast, snowy, landscape. Trees, forest. You see snowflakes coming out the door that intercept our urban environment. He's super confused."
Adds Shamdasani, "It's a little magical realism inside a sci-fi film."
From there, inside that snow-frosted forest, Bloodshot comes face-to-face with a massive, "unnaturally large" dire wolf voiced by Ken Watanabe.
"This dire wolf doesn't move its mouth, but you hear, telepathically, it speaks," the producer says. "It's Harada. He's talking about the war that's coming. And Bloodshot has to make a choice." The sequence ends with a close-up of Bloodshot's red eyes as he says, "I've made my choice."
Vin Diesel was apparently so in love with this scene, he even rehearsed as the wolf. "Vin loved [this] so much that at 4 o'clock on a Saturday he performed this scene in his penthouse, including an imitation of a wolf. He was that in love with it."
The Harbinger Wars
In the Valiant Universe, many of the strings are pulled by Toyo Harada, a billionaire mogul and powerful psionic with superpowers such as telepathy, telekinesis, and mind-control. Harada is a "Harbinger," the next step in human evolution, and establishes the Harbinger Foundation in order to recruit and train people with abilities. He was created by Jim Shooter and artist Don David Perlin and first appeared in a 1993 issue of Solar, back when the character had comics published under Valiant.
The introduction of Toyo Harada in Bloodshot was conceived of to set up a shared universe of Valiant movies that would culminate in a movie based on Harbinger Wars, the 2013 Valiant Comics crossover storyline by Joshua Dysart and Duane Swierczynski.
The post-credits scene, says Shamdasani, would have revealed the purpose of Bloodshot's creation. "A question I think we got away with, that no one seems to be asking and we tried hard to obscure, is really the big question in the movie. Why in the hell is RST even building Bloodshot?"
“The backstory to Bloodshot is he's built to fight something.”
"This is game-changing technology," he adds. "It should be used for curing cancer or a million other things. Why have they militarized it? This is not the best use of the technology, unless there's a reason. The backstory to Bloodshot is he's built to fight something."
Shamdasani says that one of the original plans for Valiant and Sony Pictures was to launch a focused, shared universe of five movies based on two Valiant franchises: Bloodshot and Harbinger. "We were trying to build what we had in the comics, which is he's [Bloodshot] the tip of the spear for humanity against the threat of Harbingers. Harada is leading the Harbingers and that scene, Bloodshot is like, 'I'm on the side of humanity.' And we build up to — if we got the sequel — him and the Renegades and Harada and stuff like that."
Shamdasani says the whole thing was a "dream, fantasy plan" that almost happened until it didn't. "Valiant wasn’t one hundred percent on board with that plan," Shamdasani says. "It was one of the last vestiges of their approval. I don’t know the thinking behind it, but they didn’t feel it was something they wanted to do."
The post-credits scene was also close to rolling. "We got far down the road, we got Watanabe’s people, it was scripted, we started looking at locations. But the rights moved before we had the chance to shoot."
For now, Bloodshot "remains a solo film" that, if sequels happen, will only flesh out Bloodshot's story and not anyone else from the Valiant Universe. But Shamdasani wouldn't be surprised if more Valiant heroes get in on the action.
At the moment, a Harbinger movie is still in production at studio Paramount Pictures.
"It remains a solo film that," he says. "if we’re lucky enough in success, certainly there's sequels."
Bloodshot is in theaters now.