‘Pokemon’ Live-Action Movie: Everything We Know So Far

A Pokemon movie is officially in the works. As announced earlier this year, Legendary Entertainment is currently producing a live-action film adaptation of the popular media franchise, which has spurred video games, anime, and most recently, the hit mobile game Pokemon Go. With production set to begin next year, details about the movie are gradually starting to surface. Here’s everything we know about the developing project so far.

1. It was (partially) inspired by Pokemon Go fever

Pokemon | The Pokemon Co.

Pokemon | The Pokemon Co.

Though fans have been floating the idea of a Pokemon movie for years, it seems the fervor surrounding Pokemon Go helped spur studios into pursuing the project.

As The Hollywood Reporter revealed, Legendary Entertainment was close to securing the rights to the Pokemon property in a secret auction back in April, several months before Pokemon Go was even released. But after the app game became a bonafide hit in July, Legendary wasted no time closing the deal. Just two weeks after the game’s launch, the studio announced it had struck a contract with The Pokemon Co., the Japanese outfit that manages the rights to the franchise.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Legendary beat out Netflix to nab the film. This will be the first ever Pokemon live-action film franchise.

2. It will follow the new Pokemon character, Detective Pikachu

Great Detective Pikachu game | The Pokemon Co.

Great Detective Pikachu game | The Pokemon Co.

The upcoming live-action movie will tell an original story centering on Detective Pikachu. As fans know, Detective Pikachu is a new character who was initially introduced in the Great Detective Pikachu Nintendo 3DS game in Japan earlier this year. More specific details about the plot and how exactly the story will be told are being kept under tight wraps for now.

3. The creative team is already filling out

Nicole Perlman

Nicole Perlman | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

In August, Variety reported that the studio is in negotiations with two high-profile scribes, Nicole Perlman and Alex Hirsch, to pen the script for the project. Perlman is known for her work with Marvel, having penned comic book-inspired hits like Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy. She is also set to co-write the highly anticipated upcoming Captain Marvel flick.

Meanwhile, Hirsch’s past work includes creating the cult favorite animated Disney series, Gravity Falls.

Update 12/2/16: Legendary Entertainment has announced that they’ve tapped Rob Letterman to direct the new Pokemon movie. Letterman’s previous directing credits include Shark Tale, Monsters vs. Aliens, Gulliver’s Travel and most recently, Goosebumps.

4. It will premiere sooner than you think

Pokemon movie The Pokemon Co.

Pokemon | The Pokemon Co.

An official premiere date has yet to be announced, but fans can expect the Pokemon film to hit theaters sooner rather than later. As Legendary confirmed during its announcement of the project, production on the film is being “fast-tracked” to start sometime in 2017. Universal will distribute the movie stateside and everywhere outside of Japan, while Toho will handle distribution within Pokemon‘s home country.

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