Netflix to Make Gundam Live-Action Movie With Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts

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Netflix is making a Gundam movie. On Monday, the world’s biggest subscription-based video streaming service announced that Jordan Vogt-Roberts — best known for directing Kong: Skull Island — would direct and produce a live-action Gundam movie. The comic book writer Brian K. Vaughan — best known for Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, and Runaways — will pen the Gundam Netflix movie script. Legendary Pictures, the studio behind Kong: Skull Island and other MonsterVerse movies including the most-recent Godzilla vs. Kong, will produce for Netflix. Vaughan will also executive produce with Cale Boyter for Legendary, and Gundam’s Japanese creator studio Sunrise.

Created by Yoshiyuki Tomino and Sunrise, Gundam began as “Mobile Suit Gundam” on TV in 1979 that depicted the war between a galaxy-spanning Earth Federation and one of its principalities, Zeon, which has declared independence. Pushed to the brink by the more-advanced Zeon that deploys mobile suits, the Federation responds with a prototype mobile suit of its own: the RX-78 Gundam. Its popularity has since led to over 50 TV shows, movies, manga, and video games — and generates over JPY 50 billion (about Rs. 3,434 crores) for rights holder Bandai Namco every year through licensing and toys.

Netflix is keeping the story “under wraps” for its Gundam movie, it said in its official announcement, though it did admit the larger universe — of an era where humanity now lives among the stars and those who live in space colonies vying for their freedom that gives way to war.

A live-action Gundam movie has been in development at Sunrise and Legendary Pictures for three years now since the two announced their intentions at the 2018 Anime Expo. Vaughan was brought on board in March 2019. We’ve heard precious little for the past two years. Now, the Gundam movie is under Netflix and Vogt-Roberts’ aegis. With a director now in place, the Gundam movie will likely start with casting next, before it prepares for filming. Netflix has not set a production start date, let alone a release date for its Gundam movie.

Netflix had originally attempted to get Godzilla vs. Kong for its platform, reportedly promising $200 million (about Rs. 1,506 crores) to Legendary. But WarnerMedia — the owner of Warner Bros. — blocked the sale as it wanted Godzilla vs. Kong for HBO Max. Though it missed out on that, Netflix has now gotten its hands on Legendary’s next mecha movie.

Why did LG give up on its smartphone business? We discussed this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Later (starting at 22:00), we talk about the new co-op RPG shooter Outriders. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

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