Since January of 2020 when Netflix released its adaptation of the popular video game franchise, The Witcher, they’ve been hitting success after success on the gaming front. Video Game Movies have long been a sore spot for fans of the games with terrible adaptations like Dead or Alive or Blood Rayne. Netflix seems to have found the secret for success and their next project could be the biggest one yet. It’s still in very early development, but according to a Variety report, the streaming giant is working on a live-action Netflix series for the Pokémon franchise.
After the runaway success of Detective Pikachu in 2019 starring Ryan Reynolds, it’s a surprise that a sequel wasn’t announced shortly after. But, with that movie only a few years removed, maybe the jump to Netflix for a live-action series was greenlit based on the success of the movie. With a budget of only $150 million, it grossed over $400 million which isn’t quite Marvel money but it’s still a success where most video game movies flop hard.
Netflix and the Pokemon Company are playing it smartly too, based on the rumors, the series will be akin to Detective Pikachu which hopefully means they’ll tell an original story with new characters. Something adaptations of all types easily fall prey to is trying to adapt the product perfectly from the source material. Because books, video games, and even comics are such a different medium, it’s easy to lose something in translation and upset fans.
By understanding the world and the characters and telling a new story, you avoid a lot of the pitfalls of early video game and comic book adaptations. It’s very unlikely that they’ll bring back a Triple-A actor like Ryan Reynolds, but fans should be optimistic about this project. Netflix has also handled several new animated Pokemon movie releases in recent years.
The project will be led by Netflix’s Lucifer co-showrunner Joe Henderson, who will be writing and executive producing the series. Lucifer has been a big success for Netflix so putting him in an executive producer role seems like a great fit, but I’m a little hesitant to see what his handling of a script in the Pokemon world might look like.
Regardless, Netflix has a great track record with its video game properties, and with their recently announced plans to dip their toes into gaming as well, a Pokemon live-action has never had a brighter future on a big or small screen.