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ROBOTECH Back In Development At Warner Brothers

The live-action adaptation of the seminal 1980s anime series Robotech has been in development hell for what seems like at least half a decade. Tobey Maguire, Akiva Goldsman, Lawrence Kasdan, and many others tried their hand at bringing it to the big screen, but to no avail. Now the Warner Bros-based producers Hollywood Gang are set to try adapting the anime, along with producers Gianni Nunnari and Mark Canton, and 300 and G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra screenwriter Michael Gordon. They are already looking at a particular  filmmaker to handle the development this time, and sources say that Andy Muschietti, director of the 2013 horror hit Mama, is the frontrunner for the gig.

The original Robotech series was a combination of three different anime series from Japanese studio Tatsunoko — Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospeada, all combined together by American production company Harmony Gold and creator Carl Macek into one 85-episode narrative about Earth repelling a series of inter-related alien invasions over several generations. By far the most popular of the three chapters was the Macross saga, which spawned several independent sequels of its own in Japan. Robotech introduced an entire generation of kids to anime, and was far more adult and sophisticated than the average weekday afternoon cartoons of the time like G.I. Joe and Transformers. 

Will the folks at Hollywood Gang have a better shot at getting this going? If Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark writer Lawrence Kasdan couldn’t crack it, I’m not sure who can, but of all the eighties toy/cartoon properties that end up as movies these days, Robotech has the best shot at being something truly memorable.

For more on whether anime adaptations actually have a chance in Hollywood, check out Dan Casey’s take on The Dan Cave.

[HT: Deadline]

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  1. JetpackBlues says:

    If they make a Robotech movie based on the bastardized EU they created?  I’m fine with that.  Let it become its own thing.
    To continue to pimp it using characters from the Macross saga makes it seem like they’re doing a live action movie based on that.  I’m NOT fine with that.
    And I’ll say, considering the Robotech Academy Kickstarter fell flat, the franchise is gasping for air (my opinion).

    As always, let the Japanese handle it when they decide it’s time.  They’re better at converting anime to live action.

  2. sharadoc says:

    Would love it if they just stuck to Macross. It’s a rich universe and the idol singer Lynn Minmay was great for bringing in the young girl element. It was great having a musical interlude. 

  3. Random Opinion says:

    I mostly agree with you in keeping an open mind toward possible Hollywood adaptations of Japanese or other Asian pop culture properties.  I would offer some slight caveats, however.  I think the points you make on the value of adapting can primarily (or, alas, perhaps solely) be argued for manga and novels.  Once something has been adapted in animation, then it has already entered into the motion picture medium (of which I include TV).  Many anime fans make effective arguments that once an anime property is produced, likely any Hollywood live-action adaptation would be only a copy of a copy and necessarily involve a decrease in the quality of the art.  Also, the anime properties being picked for possible adaptation are the best of the best, so the Hollywood production would have to live up to or eclipse the already A-1 genre-defining original–nearly an impossible task.  But like “All You Need is Kill,” there are tons of Japanese written works and unadapted manga that I could make no argument against Hollywood acquiring and taking a stab at.  And if Hollywood can someday create a live action work that stands up or exceeds the original motion picture work, then the argument is rendered moot.  But as of yet no Western filmmaker has been able to crack the code.  So I’ll remain skeptical till then–but I won’t be a Chicken Little every time an anime property is optioned either.

  4. TAYLOR Hyslop says:

    Harmony Gold are jerks to the Robotech fanbase. Watch Macross instead.

  5. D. Hall says:

    Too bad they can’t stay within the realm of the stories.  Look at the Hobbit.  Robotech rocks.