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If you’ve been wondering what is going on with the long in-development live-action big screen update of the classic anime series Space Battleship Yamato, then today’s news is likely to make you happy. Sort of. The project, which has been kicking around in development since at least 2011, is still inching toward production and Mission: Impossible 5 helmer Christopher McQuarrie is still driving the ship.
According to Japanese newspaper Sports Nippon – with helpful translation from the Anime News Network - the Space Battleship Yamato movie has been green-lit and will hit theaters in 2017-2018, if all goes according to plan. The new Space Battleship Yamato will tentatively be rechristened as Star Blazers (in a move guaranteed to annoy otaku around the globe…), but those worried that the film will lose touch with the source material should breathe easy. The project will be overseen by Shoji Nishizaki, son of the show’s executive producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki.
Speaking of that source material, the original anime revolves around an event where Earth is attacked by an alien invasion. The survivors are forced into underground bunkers because there are dangerous levels of radiation on the surface of the planet, but things look bleak because they have less than a year until that very radiation begins to seep into their new home. An alien technology is their only hope for survival – but they’ll have to travel beyond the stars to get it.
Space Battleship Yamato predates both Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica, debuting back in 1974, and was originally conceived as an outer space updating of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. The show underwent serious revisions and eventually morphed into a more straightforward space opera under the watchful eye of Leiji Matsumoto. The series found an appreciative American audience when it was dubbed into English, although purists will insist you watch the original version with subtitles. The series is credited with helping pave the way for English translations of anime titles.
As a huge fan of the property, McQuarrie is probably the best choice to guide this project through production. He’s intimately familiar with the source material, and should be able to serve as a bridge between Hollywood’s business concerns and fans who don’t want to see an iconic franchise destroyed simply for the sake of making money. While no cast has been announced, here’s to hoping McQuarrie doesn’t fill the film with a bunch of familiar American faces. The filmmaker will have a good amount of time to think about those important decisions while working on the upcoming Mission: Impossible 5, which is scheduled to start shooting in the next few months and is currently scheduled to be released at the end of next year
Whatever happens, it appears that Space Battleship Yamato is still coming – which is both exciting and terrifying news. Do you see this project working, or will we likely wind up with a compromised feature that doesn’t appeal to fans or new viewers? For those of you who fear an Americanized version of the story, it should be noted that Christopher McQuarrie’s take on the material won’t be the first time the story has made the jump from anime to live action. In 2010, Takashi Yamazaki helmed an updated version of the story that merged elements from Season 1 and Season 2 of the series. If you haven't seen the film yet, head over to page two to watch the trailer!