Detective Pikachu: Everything We Know About The 2019 Movie
By Kevin Wong on
The live-action Pokemon movie is coming next year.
Founded in 1995, the Pokémon franchise is the highest grossing media franchise of of all time, including video games, trading cards, manga, television shows, and movies. There have been several animated Pokémon films, but no live-action films--until now.
Conventional wisdom might dictate that the first live-action Pokémon movie would be an adaptation of the original anime series, starring Ash, Misty, Brock, Pikachu, and Team Rocket. Instead we're getting Detective Pikachu, an action/mystery adventure starring the famous, electric-powered pika, due out in 2019.
We only have one teaser trailer so far, which unveiled a photorealistic approach to these iconic characters. Here's everything we've learned so far.
1. What's the release date?
Detective Pikachu will release worldwide on May 10, 2019. It will be competing for ticket sales against Avengers: Endgame, which will release two weeks prior, and the live action adaptation of Aladdin, which will release two weeks after.
2. In front of the camera
The main human protagonist is Tim Goodman, who's performed by Justice Smith (Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom); he already has some experience in being a foil to CGI characters. Pikachu is performed (motion capture and voice) by Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), and is Tim's father's former partner. Tim is the only one who can understand Pikachu; whereas everyone else hears the familiar, chirpy "Pika Pika!," he hears Ryan Reynolds making sarcastic quips.
3. Behind the camera
4. Powers of deduction
Detective Pikachu is not an entirely new creation. The movie is based on a 2016 adventure game for the Nintendo 3DS, also called Detective Pikachu.
In that game, Tim and Pikachu are investigating a series of incidents in Ryme City, in which Pokémon who have been mysteriously drugged turn violent and rampage the city. At the end of the game, it's revealed that a news network is planning to release the drug en masse, manufacturing a catastrophe they can then report on.
5. Parallels to the game
This plot of the game could definitely be an inspiration for the movie. Kathryn Newton, the female lead opposite Justice Smith, is playing the role of news reporter Lucy Stevens. And in the video game, the love interest is also a young news reporter, named Emilia Christie.
In both the game and the movie, Tim's father, Harry Goodman, is missing. But in the game, Tim and Pikachu don't start looking for the father until the very end of the game. In the movie, the search for Tim's father is the main thrust of the movie.
6. Pika PG-13?
And keeping with that darker tone, there are rumors that Detective Pikachu could be PG-13. While this may keep the youngest children out of the movie theaters, it might be good for the artistic vision of the film. The noir genre is not a PG-rated undertaking. And they'll likely be able to do the fight sequences justices with a little bit more leeway.
7. Fur vs. Skin
The photorealistic approach has garnered criticism from some of the fandom, who find the fur to be weird, gross, or off-putting. The smooth, solid look from the anime defines people's conception of these characters, so to see additional texture can be a bit of a shock.
Ultimately, the story and its characters will succeed on their own merits. And people's attention to the more aesthetic elements will depend on the overall movie's success.
8. Pokémon cameos galore
There's lots of Pokémon, both major and minor, that can spotted in the trailer. We see Jigglypuff, angry at being interrupted while singing. We see Psyduck as Lucy Stevens' companion. We see a band of Greninjas attacking someone. We see a Charmander walking down the street, flaming tail and all. We see a herd of Bulbasaurs.
We also see a raging Charizard, who seems poised to eat Pikachu. Expect some visually intense battles with a big-screen budget to back them up.
9. Why not Ash?
Despite his prominence and ubiquity within the larger franchise, Ash is not the protagonist of Detective Pikachu. In an interview with director Robert Letterman, IGN discovered the answer. It comes down to The Pokémon Company wanting something fresh and new:
"The Pokémon Company, they’ve already made many, many movies of Ash, and they came to Legendary with this idea of using a new character," said Letterman. "So when I came on board, I was pitched this character of Detective Pikachu, and I fell in love with the story behind it."