Comic book writer Brian K. Vaughan has been tapped to pen the screenplay for Legendary Pictures’ ‘Gundam’ live-action film based on the famous anime created by Yoshiyuki Tomino for Sunrise Studio. Legendary announced that they were working on this adaptation last July at Anime Expo, but this is the first sign that the project is moving forward. Cale Boyter is overseeing the project for Legendary, working with a team from Sunrise.
Vaughan is best known for writing the acclaimed comic books ‘Saga’, ‘Papergirls’, ‘Y: The Last Man’, ‘Ex Machina’ and Marvel’s ‘Runaways’. His work has earned him 14 Eisner Awards, 14 Harvey Awards, and a Hugo Award.
In addition to his comics career, he served as showrunner and executive producer of the series ‘Under the Dome’, and writer, story editor, and producer of ‘Lost’. His comic book ‘Runaways’ has run for two seasons on Hulu, with a third likely. His DC/Vertigo series ‘Y: The Last Man’ is being adapted as simply ‘Y’ and is set to air on FX later this year.
Vaughan signed a 3-year deal with Legendary in December, to develop both original projects and adaptations of his comics, in both “traditional and non-traditional” platforms.
‘Gundam’ will mark his first film work, although he was previously tapped to work on screenplays for a ‘Silver Surfer’ movie for 20th Century Fox, prior to the studio being bought by Disney, as well as Hasbro toy adaptations ‘M.A.S.K.: Mobile Armored Strike Kommand’ and ‘Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light’ for Paramount.
The ‘Gundam’ anime began in 1979, making 2019 its 40th anniversary. (Specifically, April.) The property didn’t make its way to the US and other western territories until 1994, where it became a huge sensation. The ‘Gundam’ empire spreads beyond the anime, selling billions in merchandising, most notably in plastic model kits. ‘Gundam’ sales make up 90% of that hobby’s market.
While ‘Gundam’ is part of the mecha genre, Tomino brought an innovative, grounded approach. Unlike fanciful examples like ‘Voltron’, the “giant robots” in ‘Gundam’ were weapons, with limitations which include a tendency to break down, and run out of fuel and/or ammunition.
If Vaughan is just now starting on the screenplay, however, it will likely be a few years before this hits theaters. Are you excited to see a live-action ‘Gundam’ film?