Mobile Suit Gundam is an absolute legend at this point. It is one of the most enduring mecha anime series across decades years of various series, sequels, OAVs, animated theatrical releases, model kits, toys and, at least, two attempts to make it a huge hit here in the states. It has its American fans, of course, but it has never picked up the mainstream momentum of, say, Transformers.
But Legendary Entertainment feels the series has the potential to become a Transformers sized movie franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company has picked up the film rights to Gundam with an eye toward a live-action feature. The original 1979 series chronicled a war between the Earth and its satellite colonies across the solar system. The colonies introduce mobile suits — anthropomorphic combat mecha more agile and powerful than conventional war machines — and carve out an early lead in what comes to be known as the One Year War. A colony still loyal to Earth reveals its latest accomplishment, the RX-78-2 Gundam; the most advanced mobile suit yet devised. In a twist of fate, young colonist Amuro Ray becomes pilot of the Gundam and joins a ship of raw recruits and refugee children. The group become central to the war as their successes in battle draw the attention of the antagonistic colonists and one of their hot-shot pilots, Char Aznable.
Subsequent series continued the conflict throughout the 80s and early 90s, while newer Gundam programs take place in alternate realities, but all are filled with great robot action and surprisingly complex treatises on the application of political power. It is currently unclear if Legendary will adapt any of the established storylines or try for something new, but the themes of autonomy and corrupt political dynasties may prove interesting fodder in a robot beat-em-up film.
Cale Boyter is overseeing the project for Legendary. The Sunrise creative team — the group responsible for the program’s stories over the years — will also be involved.