The fact that a live-action Pokemon movie is on the way should be a surprise to nobody. However, we are still a little shocked about the form the movie is taking. Now we have some potential new details about the film's plot. We know the movie will be based on the Detective Pikachu game, rather than the traditional monster training RPG series, but now, some apparent audition tapes may have revealed the film's basic story.
According to audition tapes posted by Omega Underground, the two main characters of the film will be a pair of teenage humans named Tim and Lucy. Tim is searching for his missing father and he is apparently forced to take a gruff-talking Pikachu with him, a Pokemon that apparently only he can understand. Lucy is a junior investigative reporter who is tracking a story about how captured Pokemon are apparently turning on their trainers. She will be joined by a Psyduck Pokemon of her own.
It's a solid enough premise for a mystery. One assumes the two threads of the plot are in some way related. Whether those details are just missing from these audition tapes, or whether they're meant to be held back until later in the movie isn't clear.
While the idea of a live-action Pokemon film is mostly unsurprising, the popularity of the franchise among a mainstream audience is higher than ever thanks to games like Pokemon GO, the fact that the first movie out of the gate won't be something closer to the main series games, or the previous anime and related films, came out of left field. Hollywood is still trying to find the video game that will make the medium more viable for Hollywood. Perhaps this is just some outside the box thinking in that regard.
What makes it even more surprising is that the title character is going to be unlike the traditional view of Pikachu. The word is that the voice role of the Pokemon could go to somebody like Hugh Jackman or The Rock, which is not the sort of name we were expecting. Though, based on the description here of Pikachu being "gruff-talking," it certainly fits. For what it's worth, when the original Detective Pikachu game was first announced, fans actually started a petition drive to get Danny Devito cast in the role. He can certainly be gruff-sounding as well.
At this point, Detective Pikachu doesn't have any officially announced release date, so we have no idea when we might see the film. However, since actors are auditioning for the roles and voice actors are being considered, it does seem clear that the project is in active development. Will a Pokemon movie be the project that finally legitimizes video games in Hollywood? To be honest, that would be the least strange thing this movie did.