gundam live-action movie

Brian K. Vaughan, the writer behind acclaimed comic book series like Y: The Last Man, Saga, and Paper Girls, has been tapped to write the screenplay for Legendary’s live-action adaptation of Sunrise’s immensely popular mecha anime franchise Gundam. Vaughan has been hired eight months after Legendary and Sunrise first announced that a live-action feature film version was in development.

Deadline broke the news that Vaughan has been tapped to pen the script for the live-action Gundam movie, for which he’ll also serve as executive producer. The film will be a joint co-production between Legendary and Sunrise, the Japanese animation studio that created the franchise that became a national and international phenomenon.

Vaughan is best known as a comic book writer behind acclaimed series like Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, Runaways, Pride of Baghdad, Saga, and, most recently, Paper Girls, earning 14 Eisner Awards, 14 Harvey Awards, as well as a Hugo Award for his writing. But he’s worked frequently in Hollywood as well, working as a writer, story editor and producer on Lost during seasons 3 through 5, and acting as showrunner and executive producer on the sci-fi series Under the Dome. This would be his first major feature film project, but considering his genre and comic book accolades, he seems well-suited to taking on the daunting task of adapting a beloved anime series.

The series is set in a distant future where humanity is at war, with rebellious colonies and a great empire doing battle in giant mecha robots piloted by human soldiers. Here’s the press release’s description:

The original Gundam series is set in the Universal Century, an era in which humanity’s growing population has led people to emigrate to space colonies. Eventually, the people living in the colonies seek their autonomy, and launch a war of independence against the people living on Earth. Through the tragedies and discord arising from this human conflict, not only the maturation of the main character, but also the intentions of enemies and the surrounding people are sensitively depicted. The battles in the story, in which the characters pilot robots known as mobile suits, are wildly popular.

Gundam is a worldwide phenomenon that began when Mobile Suit Gundam premiered in 1979 and essentially spawned the widely popular “mecha anime” genre that has influenced everything from Transformers to Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim. The franchise has since generated several anime series, manga series, video games, novels, and a highly lucrative merchandise line that accounts for 90% of the Japanese character plastic-model market. Needless to say, there are high expectations.

But Sunrise, the studio behind the franchise, is co-producing the live-action film with Legendary, which gives the project another vote of confidence. And with Gundam taking over all other mediums, and even getting a cameo in Ready Player One, it seems like a live-action feature is the next logical step.

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