When Universal Pictures and its parent company NBCUniversal purchased DreamWorks Animation back in August, the new owner had quite the list of projects to comb through. One of them appears to be a live-action Voltron movie. This idea was quietly being developed by Jeffrey Katzenberg when he was heading up DWA. The animation company already released the most excellent first season of a new animated series Voltron Legendary Defender, which will return to Netflix on January 20, 2017.
Deadline reports that the inherited movie project is only in the early script stage at the moment. Universal is basically biding their time, probably to see how the new Power Rangers movie does and to keep an eye on the box office-busting franchise Transformers, before moving forward with production. The good news is that screenwriter David Hayter is the one penning the script. Tom Engelman will produce.
Hayter has a handful of screenwriting credits to his name, with more that have been announced, but they’re big credits. X-Men, X2, and Watchmen are Hayter’s produced comic book scripts while his work on Black Widow was previously announced. He also happens to be the voice actor behind a wide range of video game characters, most notably that of Solid Snake in the “Metal Gear Solid” franchise. I mention all this just to bolster Hayter’s nerd cred, something he’ll certainly need to tackle a live-action Voltron script.
The story of Voltron, in its various iterations, follows a team of astronauts/explorers who discover five powerful, gigantic robot lions who fuse together to create the massive legendary robot, Voltron. The mecha is one of the largest in the history of the sub-genre, even larger than the original base version of the Megazord from Power Rangers lore. (Feel free to start a fan petition for a crossover battle between these two similar franchises.)
Universal certainly isn’t afraid of going big on the big screen, though the joint production of Pacific Rim might have left them a little gun-shy about getting back into the mecha game. The status of the sequel Pacific Rim: Maelstrom might also determine Voltron‘s fate. On one hand, if Power Rangers bombs and the Transformers franchise shows signs of slowing down, Universal might scrap the legendary defender at the script stage. The Pacific Rim sequel is in pre-production with shooting scheduled to start soon, so that picture is pretty well locked-in. Will Universal double-down on mecha movies? Stay tuned to find out!