Pokemon started out as a pop culture phenomenon across the world in the late 1990s, and it has since continued to be popular among both children and adults through the video games, anime, manga and, most recently, the mobile game Pokemon Go. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, there's been talk over the last several weeks about a live action Pokemon adaptation hitting theaters. While recent reports indicated that such a project was a long time away from happening, it's just been announced that a live action Pokemon movie is officially on the way.
The Pokemon Company and Legendary Entertainment have partnered to launch the "first-ever Pokémon live-action film franchise." The original story will follow Detective Pikachu, a new character who was introduced in the Great Detective Pikachu Nintendo 3DS game earlier this year in Japan. Details about how exactly the story will be told weren't revealed, but production is being "fast-tracked" for sometime in 2017. Universal will distribute the movie everywhere outside Japan, while Toho will handle distribution within Pokemon's home country.
While Pokemon fans have thought about a live action movie's potential for many years, official talk about such a project reality has only surfaced within the past few months. Back in April, several studios were bidding for the rights to make the movie. Then fast forward to last week, when it was reported that Legendary had closed a deal to tackle the project, coinciding with Pokemon Go's release. The day after, it was reported that the Pokemon Company and Nintendo wanted to remain focused on the game rather than start creating a movie deal. We can presume now either that information was incorrect or the game's enormous success led them the change their minds. Considering how many people have downloaded Pokemon Go in less than a month, it's definitely the right call to seize this opportunity while the franchise is experiencing its biggest amount of popularity in over a decade.
Pokemon first hit the scene in 1996 with the Game Boy games Pokemon: Red Version And Pokemon: Blue Version (the latter was Green in Japan), and the anime series followed in 1997. While the anime released five theatrical movies between 1998 and 2002 (1999 and 2003 in the U.S.), because Great Detective Pikachu is the source material for this movie, it sounds like we won't see characters like Ash, Misty, Brock and more being realized in live action. The Great Detective Pikachu video game follows a talking version of the franchise's mascot solving mysteries with a human. Presumably that means the movie will have a well-known celebrity voicing the CGI Pikachu, while a younger actor will be the main human star. Let's hope this Sherlock Holmes-style adventure will try to include as many of these "Pocket Monsters" as possible, as well as feature a few battles.
We'll keep you updated on the live action Pokemon movie's latest developments as they come in, but make sure to let us know what you think about this news in the comments below.
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Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.