There’s a good bet that, if you were excited by seeing a full-size Gundam in action in this year’s Ready Player One, then this news is going to give you palpitations. News out of the ongoing Anime Expo 2018 revealed that Legendary and Sunrise are teaming up for a Gundam movie, the first-ever live-action, feature-length film for the long-running anime series. Folks who don’t know their Gundam from Voltron or Transformers probably don’t care much about this, but for nerds out there who may have participated in their very own Gundam-themed original RPG or spent a lot of time building 1/100 scale models, this is massive.
Since 1979’s introduction of Yoshiyuki Tomino‘s Mobile Suit Gundam, an anime series in part about humans piloting bigger-than-life mobile suits but more about political dissidents and colonialism, the franchise has gone on to live in numerous series, features, video games, and much more. Its mechs have evolved from the relatively simplistic yet classic design of the RX-78-2 model to the completely insane and ridiculous. No story details are available yet, but Cale Boyter is overseeing for the studio.
While I’m normally cautiously optimistic, Boyter’s track record is not encouraging: Pacific Rim: Uprising, Monster Trucks, and Blade: Trinity to name a few. And that’s without factoring in sure-to-arise issues of cast whitewashing and cultural appropriation of Japanese stories in Western movies lately. I’m going to need to see that the Legendary team realizes that Gundam is about much more than mecha, so hopefully Sunrise holds fast to the beloved franchise’s tenets. Mecha-fingers crossed!
Here’s a look at the press release in full:
Legendary and Sunrise announced today at Anime Expo 2018, plans to co-produce the first-ever live-action feature film version of GUNDAM, based on Sunrise’s massively popular Mecha anime and science fiction media franchise. The billion dollar property was created in 1979 and has spawned a multi-platform universe encompassing televised anime, manga, animated films, video games, plastic models, toys, and novels among other media. Gundam continues to dominate master toy licensee Bandai Namco’s earnings almost forty years after its inception.
The original Gundam series is set in the Universal Century, an era in which humanity’s growing population has led people to emigrate to space colonies. Eventually, the people living in the colonies seek their autonomy, and launch a war of independence against the people living on Earth. Through the tragedies and discord arising from this human conflict, not only the maturation of the main character, but also the intentions of enemies and the surrounding people are sensitively depicted. The battles in the story, in which the characters pilot robots known as mobile suits, are wildly popular.
The story for the live-action version of Gundam is being kept under wraps.
The project will be overseen by Cale Boyter on behalf of Legendary with the Sunrise creative team.
In the meantime, Legendary currently has three films in production, including Skyscraper, coming to theaters on July 13; and both Godzilla: King of the Monsters and the live-action Detective Pikachu, films both in post-production, with Godzilla vs Kong prepping to go into production next.
What Gundam storyline would you like to see the movie take on? Personally, I say start from the beginning so that the narratives, characters, and mecha themselves can evolve naturally, but I’ll settle for just a good movie at this point. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!