In case you’ve forgotten, Sunrise and Legendary announced a live action Gundam film in 2018 as part of the franchise’s 40th anniversary. We haven’t heard anything since and with the pandemic happening, no one has an idea of how the production is going along and when would the film be released. But that changed as a couple of updates were announced for the project which were enough to spark some discussion — and some unsolicited thoughts from yours truly.
For starters, the live action Gundam movie is now going to be a Netflix Original instead of a theatrical release. Now this isn’t something to be scored about anymore, as many films got the streaming service treatment ever since the pandemic happened. But this might also be an indicator of their confidence with the production. Remember that Legendary recently released Godzilla VS. Kong on both HBO Max and in theatres. That said, being released on Netflix would also mean a wider audience, especially in the international market.
A couple of names have been attached to the production as well. Front and center is Jordan Vogt-Roberts who’s set to direct and produce the film. He has previously worked on Kong: Skull Island, another Legendary property, and part of their MonsterVerse. He’s accompanied by Brian K. Vaughan whose screenplay credits include Y: The Last Man and Runaways and will also be an executive producer. Overseeing the film from Legendary would be Cale Boyter (Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, Pacific Rim: Uprising) along with the franchise’s parent company Sunrise.
Nothing is known of the story as of this post though they certainly have 40 years worth of material to pick up from. Most Gundam stories take place in the Universal Century timeline where multiple wars between humans living on Earth and the space colonies took place. Personally, I’d prefer it to be a stand-alone story that borrows elements from previous Gundam series. This would allow more casual viewers to jump into the movie without having to know any previous entry.
No release dates have been announced so far so it definitely seems that they are taking time with this production. Live action anime adaptations aren’t exactly Hollywood’s forte at the moment, but can be great if done carefully. Case in point being 2019’s Alita: Battle Angel. And besides, live action Gundam productions currently have a low standard thanks to the abomination that is the 1999 Canadian live action TV movie G-SAVIOUR so I think they’ve learned their lesson quite hard.