It’s time for a Robotech film update.
Deadline reports Hawkeye veteran Rhys Thomas has signed on to direct the live action adaptation of the 1980s cartoon classic. The script is being re-written by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka with Mark Canton and Gianni Nunnari on board as producers.
Launched in 1985, Robotech is the amalgamation of three separate Japanese anime series — Super Dimension Fortress Marcoss, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber Mospeda — interwoven to tell a multi-generational saga as Earth defends itself from successive groups of alien species desperate to recover a fuel-source which crash-landed on the planet in 1999. Heroes live and die, enemies become friends and lovers, and even the very beliefs the humans fight for are tested. It was pretty heady stuff for kids in the mid-80s and though the program came into some disfavor over the years, it is part of the reason anime became so successful in the United States.
The film will presumably take its cues from the Macross portion of the series. Indeed, Robotech owner Harmony Gold and Macross owner Big West settled their decades-long conflict in order to expedite development of the film. Of course, the movie has been on the board for a long time, attracting such talent as Tobey Maguire, James Wan, and Andy Muschietti. Its struggles to get made lead us to often joke that there is only one fact in Hollywood: the Robotech movie will never get made.
But that may finally be changing as Netflix is taking a chance on Mobile Suit Gundman, a Voltron film is in the works, and the Masters of the Universe film nears production. The other 80s cartoon stalwarts may finally join Transformers as live action film properties.
Thomas directed three episode of Hawkeye. His filmography also includes many episodes of Documentary Now! and various Saturday Night Live segments. That suggests the Robotech film may have a lighter edge than earlier takes, but that may actually be what it needs to set it apart. Of course, time will tell if Thomas’s versions will make it to the screen.