On Friday, it was revealed that the upcoming Pokémon movie will be titled Pokémon Detective Pikachu and unveiled the logo (see below). Some fans may have been wondering why the first live-action movie based on Pokémon will be the story of Detective Pikachu, when Ash Ketchum has been the face of the animated series for more than two decades.
IGN talked to director Rob Letterman at the 2018 Pokémon World Championships and asked why this is the case. “The Pokemon Company, they’ve already made many, many movies of Ash, and they came to Legendary with this idea of using a new character. So when I came onboard, I was pitched this character of Detective Pikachu, and I fell in love with the story behind it,” Letterman said.
“It’s a really great story. It was something with a lot of heart, and it was just very unique. And because there’s already been so much work done with Ash, for the first live-action movie I thought it was a really good idea to try something new with a new character, but bake it into the universe of Pokemon. So it still follows all the rules, and we get to see a lot of our favorite things.”
Letterman added that audiences can expected to see a “good spread” of Pokémon from old and new generations. He said that fans can expect visual effects like Rocket Raccoon from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies.
“They’re incredibly real, you should think of it as the way Rocket Raccoon sits in the movie as if he’s really there. It’s that technology. The same group of people that worked on that, or worked on Jungle Book. We’ve got the people on it that worked on Fantastic Beasts. They’re technically, some of the most high-end visual effects in the world,” Letterman said. “It’s completely photorealistic, like they are alive and in the movie.”
Starring Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool series), Ken Watanabe (Godzilla), Justice Smith (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) and Kathryn Newton (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), the film is from director Rob Letterman (Goosebumps, Gulliver’s Travels) and writers Nicole Perlman and Letterman—with Eric Pearson and Tom McCarthy having completed the production polishes.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu, which is scheduled for a May 10, 2019 release, centers around Smith’s character’s father getting kidnapped. He teams up with Pikachu (Reynolds) to help find him. Newton is a journalist who helps them on their quest.
Pokémon has delighted fans of all ages around the world for over two decades. With more than 300 million video games sold worldwide, 23.6 billion Pokémon TCG cards shipped to 74 countries, and an animated series spanning 20 seasons, Pokémon is one of the most successful entertainment properties in the world.