Wrestler/actor John Cena can be an enigmatic man at times. Take his Instagram profile for instance. He has made a habit of posting seemingly random photos on his account and specifically states in his bio that the pictures will be posted with no explanation, for the viewer’s enjoyment. Recently, Cena posted a panel from Valiant Comics’ X-O Manowar series.
The post sent fans into a tizzy over what it could mean. Was it a random post from a comic that Cena likes? Or was it an indirect declaration of Cena’s desire to play the character of the superhero X-O Manowar? Or was it a confirmation of him having already signed on to play the role?
The conversation around Valiant Comics and their roster of superheroes has been heating up around Hollywood this year. Vin Diesel took the first step towards establishing a Valiant cinematic universe with the film Bloodshot, about a soldier who has a near-death experience and comes out of it with super-regenerative abilities. During the press tour for the movie, Diesel had confidently predicted that Bloodshot would kickstart a new comics movie franchise comprising of the Valiant universe superheroes.
That sentiment proved ill-founded after Bloodshot was released to middling reviews and a poor box-office response. While the global lockdown can be blamed for the film’s poor reception amongst general audiences, Hollywood studios are a nervous lot and are usually reluctant to follow up a dud movie with another installment in the franchise.
But if the Valiant universe does come to the big screen again, X-O Manowar would be a good place to start. The series tells the tale of Aric of Dacia, a warrior prince who was abducted by a race of insectoid slaves known as The Vine. Aboard their vessel, Aric found an armor known as X-O Manowar. After the armor bonded with Aric and allowed him to escape, he found himself on present-day Earth, fighting the good fight alongside other Valiant characters.
It is the kind of space superhero film that is hot property after the success of Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel. If Cena does take on the role, it will be his first time playing a superhero, but not his first time being in a comic-book film. The actor is set to appear in James Gunn’s upcoming Suicide Squad sequel as the anti-hero/villain Peacemaker.
Interestingly, if Cena does end up playing X-O Manowar, he will be following in the footsteps of his onscreen brother Vin Diesel, the first Valiant comics superhero to appear in a live-action film. Cena and Diesel, of course, play brothers who hate each other in the ninth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise, set to hit theaters next year.
For now, Cena is busy with Wrestlemania 36, where his match with Bray Wyatt was his first match in over a year. Cena had built up to the match by posting different photos of Wyatt and his alter ego The Fiend on his Instagram page for many days.