Netflix’s Live-Action Pokémon Series

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Variety recently reported that Netflix is set to produce a live-action Pokémon series. The project is currently in the early stages of development. This series will be the Pokémon franchises’ second live-action instalment, the first being the 2019 Detective Pikachu movie starring Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith.

The company previously announced that Netflix will be the home of the next series of the long-running Pokémon anime.

What we know so far

The series is set to be a standalone project, with no connections to the Detective Pikachu movie. However, it will be “akin” to the movie, which was a box office success that Netflix likely wants to replicate with this series.

Lucifer executive producer and showrunner Joe Henderson has been attached to this project. It’s suggested that he’s taking the lead with it. Henderson is known to currently be finishing the final series of Lucifer, which will be streaming on Netflix later this year. Perhaps in the coming months, we’ll see an official announcement from Netflix and Henderson about the Pokémon series.

Henderson’s previous work includes the series White Collar and the mini-series 11.22.63, which was based on a Stephen King story.

The live-action TV series will be the first of its kind for the franchise. Where the series has already been adapted to film and TV, the latter has only ever been animated.

Detective Pikachu, voiced by Ryan Reynolds

What we can expect from the series

Pokémon was first launched by Nintendo in 1996 with the release of Pocket Monsters: Red Version and Green Version. Since then, the franchise has sky-rocketed with 122 video games under its belt. The games spawned multiple anime and manga series, trading cards and almost every other kind of merchandise imaginable. Pokémon has given the world some of its most recognisable fictional characters, from Pikachu to Ash Ketchum.

The latest game instalments, Pokémon: Sword and Pokémon: Shield have sold more than 21 million copies worldwide since their release in 2019. Both games are available on Nintendo Switch, with more on the way. Both Pokémon: Shining Pearl and Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond are set to release later this year. The games are remastered versions of the beloved games for Nintendo DS.

In the world of Pokémon, stories generally follow a plucky trainer who is seeking to conquer Pokémon Gyms and defeat an evil that desires to control pokémon for their own gain. The best-known of these is Team Rocket, usually seen represented by the widely-recognised Jessie, James and Meowth.

Whilst the Detective Pikachu movie didn’t follow this classic framework, it still honed in on the nostalgia that many fans have for Pokémon. It took some inspiration from Pokémon The First Movie: Mewtwo strikes back, which also portrayed the creation and subsequent escape of the powerful pokémon Mewtwo. But, Detective Pikachu was otherwise a new take for the franchise. Perhaps the series will follow in the movie’s footsteps. Or, it may stick to the franchise’s roots.

James, Meowth and Jessie

Pokémon: Master Journeys: The Series premieres on Netflix on September 10th. Pokémon: Shining Pearl and Pokémon: Brilliant Diamond releases on 19th November for Nintendo Switch.

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