Photo credit: Helga Esteb /

Guillermo del Toro has announced his next film.  He will write and direct ‘Zanbato’ for Paramount and J.J. AbramsBad Robot.  This will be his first film since ‘The Shape of Water’ won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

The plot is being kept secret, but reportedly ‘Zanbato’ is about a young female (age between 10-15) with lethal fighting abilities.  Collider, who broke the news of this project, compared her to Hit-Girl and ‘Alita: Battle Angel’.  However, when the site accidentally referred to this as a “Ninja Project” on Twitter, del Toro quickly corrected them, but did note “But… there are Ninjas in it.”  He followed that with a zipped-lip emoji.  (The term “Zanbato” refers to an ancient Japanese sword, large enough to kill a horse.)

Although ‘Zanbato’ will be made under the Bad Robot banner, there was no indication what role, if any, J.J. Abrams would play in its creation.  The idea of del Toro and Abrams working together on a picture, however, sounds incredibly appealing!  While del Toro’s work has traditionally been considered niche, the widespread success of ‘The Shape of Water’ will certainly draw more attention to his next film.

Lately, del Toro has been busy prepping a stop-motion animated version of ‘Pinocchio’ which will go straight to Netflix.  But perhaps because stop-motion takes years to craft, del Toro has made room for another new live-action film.  His most recent output has been episodes of his Netflix animated programs, ‘Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia’, and ‘3Below: Tales of Arcadia’.  He also has two other projects in the pipeline, a historical drama, ‘Nightmare Alley’, and a documentary about his fellow filmmaker Michael Mann (‘Manhunter’).

Abrams is busy finishing up ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’, which is due in December and wraps up the ‘Star Wars’ saga as we know it.  He is also an executive producer of the upcoming HBO series ‘Lovecraft Country’, which was co-created by Jordan Peele.  That project is in post-production.

Are you excited by the thought of del Toro and Abrams working together?  What do you hope to see?