Netflix currently has a CG-animated anime version of Ultraman that has it's second season being worked on at this time. Though, unless you're a hardcore anime fan, few have actually heard of the character who is one of the biggest superheroes in it's native Japan. Netflix wants to do something about that.
It's been reported over at Variety that Netflix is partnering up with Tsuburaya Productions to develop an Ultraman CG-animated feature film which, in the reports words, is “aimed at bringing a new, wider audience to the beloved silver-suited character.” It's far enough along that a script has already been co-written by Marc Haimes and Shannon Tindle. Haimes and Tindle both have done previous work at the stop-motion film company Laika, with Haimes having written the script for that Oscar-nominated hit Kubo and the Two Strings. Tindle, on the other hand, is an animator for Laika, having worked on both Kubo and Laika's first success, the 2009 film Coraline. Beyond writing the script for Ultraman, Tindle will also be making her directorial debut on the film with John Aoshima co-directing. Tindle released a statement following the film's announcement:
“Making this film is a dream come true. What began as an original story inspired by my love for Eiji Tsuburaya’s Ultraman somehow became an actual Ultraman film thanks to the incredible trust of the team at Tsuburaya Productions, and the support of the folks at Netflix Animation. We’ve assembled an all-star team and I can’t wait to share our unique take on Ultraman with the rest of the world.”
Tsuburaya CEO and chairman Takayuki Tsukagoshi had this to say about the project and Tindle's direction:
“This partnership with Netflix will be the first full-scale endeavor to reach the global market for Tsuburaya Productions. Ultraman, since it was created, has charmed many people around the world. And Shannon Tindle is one of those people. He was greatly influenced by Ultraman as a child, and he grew up to become a creator himself. I am delighted that families around the world will be able to watch Shannon and his team’s vision for Ultraman on Netflix and foster feelings of courage, hope and kindness.”
The story is said to focus on Ken Sato, with the synopsis being as follows:
A superstar baseball player who returns to Japan to become the latest hero to carry the mantle of Ultraman. His plans go awry, however, when he is compelled to raise a newborn kaiju monster — the offspring of his greatest enemy — as his own child. Sato will also have to contend with his relationship with his estranged father and the schemes of the Kaiju Defense Force.
Ultraman will be animated by ILM, which released the first concept art for the movie (the title image of this article). No actors have been cast yet for the roles, but Variety reports the team plans to cast a mix of Japanese and western stars. Tom Knott will produce and Lisa Poole will co-produce. Stay tuned!