The Pokemon Company and Legendary Entertainment have closed a deal for the rights to a live-action Pokemon film. The first film in what will likely be a franchise is being fast-tracked for a 2017 production start date. According to the Hollywood Reporter, that film will focus on Great Detective Pikachu.
Legendary Entertainment, which is a subsidiary of China's Dalian Wanda Group, has been bidding on the property. Warner Bros and Sony were also in the running back in April. After the release and wild success of Pokemon Go, Legendary upped its game to close the film deal. Legendary partner Universal Pictures will be handling the distribution of the film outside of Japan, while Toho will distribute in the Pokemon Company's home region.
Great Detective Pikachu is a relatively new take on the fan-favorite face of the Pokemon franchise. Development on the 3DS title began in 2013 and it was released on the 3DS eShop in Japan on February 3, 2016. The game is focused around a super-intelligent talking Pikachu and his pet human boy; together they fight crime. Despite the game being Japanese-only, the lead character is named Tim Goodman and the live-action teaser for the game featured an non-Japanese actor and setting.
The Pikachu also has an oddly deep voice in Japan, portrayed by veteran voice actor Toru Okawa. American fans drafted a petition to have It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia star Danny Devito as the English voice of the character, but Devito shot that idea down. I want Liam Neeson, Idris Elba, or Benedict Cumberbatch honestly. The latter would be amazing, since people are going to bring those actors up anyways.
There's no details on whether the film will adapt the game's plot directly, or do something different with the premise.
Live-action Pokemon are in our future! Are you excited?