One month ago, Ain’t It Cool News broke an exclusive story about a new film based on Gaiking, a giant mech member of the Shogun Warriors. The Shogun Warriors were popularized via a number of manga and anime TV series during the 1970s, not to mention the legendary Japanese toy line that was licensed by Mattel. It was also the subject of a 20-issue series by Marvel Comics.
The Gaiking project was originally supposed to be a 7-minute short attached to Fincher’s Heavy Metal, but after that project moved to another studio, Jules Urbach took it and ran with it, and now it looks on track to be a full-blown feature film with Matthew Gratzner directing. Urbach was one of the founders of Lightstage, the company that developed the 3-D character mapping technology you saw in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Unsurprisingly, the Gaiking film will also use Lightstage. After the jump, see a teaser for the film and hear some more details, including possible release plans and what might happen with the title.
First, here’s the teaser trailer:
I’m a fan of the darker, less colorful aesthetic on display here. In the AICN post that debuted the trailer, Knowles emphasized that “Both Matt and Jules really wanted me to let you all know that while they like what you see here… this is essentially just the CG model – not what you’ll see in the film.” Also, according to Urbach:
We are building the robots life size. Matt is one of the last great practical effects guys in the business who can pull this off..The teaser we have now is CG for the robot. It is to give the fans a taste of the design we are going with, but it is not a true reveal given what we are going to be doing when we build the thing. The real deal is going to be mind blowing of course.
Recently, THR’s Heat Vision blog caught up with Urbach to get an update on the film. Urbach expounded on the differences between Gaiking and other giant robot films, saying:
Gaiking and those kinds of robots, you’re talking about giant robots that are piloted by humans. You’re not talking about Transformers, where they are their own characters. These robots are the extension of the pilots; they are really like giant suits of armor. So it’s really the people inside them that are the characters. That is a huge differentiator. Gaiking is one pilot. It’s really the pilot expressing himself through this giant mecha.
Asked if the title might be a little bit inaccessible, Urbach responded, “The title is something that we’re still looking at. It’s in the mix. We are very aware of the possible limitations. I can’t speak for Toei, so I can’t speak how it will be used in the marketing of that film. We just want to use it wisely.”
The film is currently in pre-production. The robot has been designed, along with many costumes and characters. While a script treatment exists, a screenwriter is still needed to expand it into a full script. Gaiking may hit theaters as early as 2012 although it “could be 2013.” Check out the entire interview here.