Nobody needs another American live-action remake of a Japanese anime series, but how about an American live-action remake of a Japanese anime series that was already chopped up for American audiences decades ago? And what if that Japanese anime series was actually several distinct anime shows that were technically unrelated, but they were combined into one thing anyway? Yes, we’re talking about Robotech, one of the first anime shows to make a big impact on the U.S. and one that Hollywood seems to remember every few years when it starts getting the urge to throw a bunch of money at a hot property with name recognition.
It’s been five years since we last got an update on someone trying to make a Robotech movie, which means we’re due for an update… and look at that, we’ve got one: Deadline says Hawkeye director Rhys Thomas has been tapped to direct a Robotech movie for Sony (“Harmony Gold also is involved,” Deadline says, which is a funny detail for those of us who’ve been following the comings and goings of Robotech, because of course Harmony Gold is involved).
This seems like a legitimate step toward this movie actually happening, since it has a script and a director, but we’ve been fooled before. That five-years-ago update was that Wonder Woman co-writer Jason Fuchs was working on a script (the current script doesn’t seem to be his), and a few months before that we had heard that Andy Muschietti would direct the movie (he’s not doing it anymore, obviously). James Wan was attached years before that, and Warner Bros. was trying to make it happen years before that, and Tobey Maguire’s production company picked up the rights years before that in the wake of the success of the first Transformers movie.
So this has been a saga, the likes of which you’d normally have to combine three unrelated anime shows to get, and now—maaaaaybe—it will actually end in the movie getting made. But we’re not overly optimistic about that… it has been nearly 15 years since Tobey Maguire started trying to pull this off.
For those who don’t know Robotech, it starts on a near-future Earth (in the distant year of 2009) after an alien spaceship crash-landed years earlier and inadvertently gifted humanity with a lot of exciting sci-fi technology—including the ability to make extremely cool transforming fighter jets called Valkyries. The aliens eventually come back, looking for their spaceship, and some bad stuff happens. It’s like Top Gun meets Transformers meets Star Trek, and a pop singer named Minmei plays a surprisingly huge role in the events. It’s all pretty cool.