The world of Pokemon is coming to Netflix with a brand new series currently in development at the world’s largest streaming service, confirming our previously published exclusive. The details about the project remain thin, but recent reports add fresh and exciting layers to the story, bringing even more excitement to the highly-anticipated series.
Besides confirming our scoop, Variety also reports that Joe Henderson, executive producer of Netflix’s Lucifer, which is about to air its final season, is attached to write and executive produce live-action Pokemon series for Netflix. And though the details remain scarce, sources indicate that the live-action series will be based on the original Pokemon game from 1996 while keeping the similar format to 2019’s Detective Pikachu, a film starring Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith. And given the film’s massive success with the audience and the critics, that’s a good thing.
The move to develop a live-action Netflix Pokemon series doesn’t come off as a surprise, given Netflix’s continuous expansion and acquisition of new content. The world’s largest streaming service is already home to various Pokemon releases, including Pokemon: Indigo League and Pokemon Journeys. 2019’s Detective Pikachu was a massive success that earned approx. $430 million on a $150 million budget – something Netflix hopes to replicate with the newly announced live-action series. Given the company’s expansion into video games, we wouldn’t be surprised if they acquired the rights to produce a Pokemon video game to go along with the live-action series.
The Pokemon series isn’t the only live-action adaptation Netflix currently has on its plate; the company previously announced original series based on Far Cry, Splinter Cell, and Terminator franchises cinematic and gaming franchises. And that’s not all; its list of currently-developing titles is even longer, as it contains live-action adaptations of popular anime titles like Cowboy Bebop and One-Piece. It’s worth noting that Netflix released a live-action adaptation of Death Note – an anime based on the best-selling manga property in North America. Sadly, it received mostly negative reviews, in contrast to Warner Bros.’ live-action adaptation of Bleach anime, which was distributed by Netflix worldwide.
The Pokemon media franchise exploded into a worldwide phenomenon almost immediately upon its launch in 1996, as two separate games for Game Boy handheld systems. Due to its massive success, the franchise was soon adopted into various different media, making it one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time. The video game series alone ranks as the fourth best-selling video game franchise, preceded by Super Mario, Tetris, and Call of Duty. Its anime television series became the most successful video game adaptation in history, spawning over 20 seasons and 1000 episodes broadcasted in 183 countries. Not to mention it’s the top-selling toy brand and a top-selling trading card game whose popularity caused public safety concerns in the US.
Despite being one of the highest-grossing franchises, Pokemon only had one live-action adaptation, and that’s 2019’s Detective Pikachu movie. Words about a possible sequel were whispered for a while, but Justice Smith stated that the movie likely won’t happen. If that continues to hold true, Netflix’s live-action series will be a second live-action adaptation in the Pokemon franchise.