Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong: Skull Island) has signed on to direct a live-action Gundam movie, based on the iconic Japanese franchise. Y: The Last Man scribe Brian K. Vaughan is writing the script, while Vogt-Roberts will also produce. The production is a joint venture between Netflix and Legendary.
The Gundam franchise began in 1979 with Mobile Suit Gundam, a TV series that defined the “real robot” – or mecha – anime genre by featuring giant robots in a militaristic setting. The popularity of the series and its merchandise spawned a franchise that now includes 50 TV series, films and animations as well as manga, novels and video games.
Plot details are mostly under wraps for the film, but the original franchise is set in the Universal Century, an era in which humanity’s growing population has led people to emigrate to space colonies. The people living in the colonies begin to seek their autonomy, and launch a war of independence against the people living on Earth.
This sounds like it has the opportunity to be an epic blockbuster in the vein of something like Pacific Rim, except that it already has a strong, built-in fanbase that spans the globe. It’s easy to see why Netflix and Legendary are interested.
Vogt-Roberts has experience helming blockbusters thanks to the aforementioned Kong: Skull Island, plus he’s also currently attached to direct the Metal Gear Solid film. That project has been in development hell since the mid-2000s, so who knows if it will actually happen anytime soon. With two companies backing Gundam, Vogt-Roberts would probably be better off focusing on this first.
Expect Netflix to market Gundam strongly, as they definitely see franchise potential here. Each streaming company continues to search for that cash cow film franchise that can keep them afloat. We’ll see if this is it.