Netflix has turned a number of major Japanese IPs into live-action series and that trend is continuing. Variety has confirmed that a Pokemon live-action series is being made by Netflix. The series is early in development and there are few details about the series beyond its existence.
The only information that Variety has confirmed thus far is that Joe Henderson is attached to be an executive producer and writer for the series. Henderson has worked on a number of adult-oriented television series in the past including Netflix’s Lucifer, White Collar, and Almost Human. While this begs the question of whether the series might end up being targeted to an older audience than most Pokemon content, this is unlikely given how protective Nintendo and The Pokemon Company have been of their most popular IPs.
The move for Netflix to create its own live-action Pokemon series comes after Netflix obtained the broadcasting rights to a load of Pokemon content. As of this writing, the original series, Pokemon Journeys, and Pokemon Sun and Moon are all available to watch on the service alongside several of the most recent movies.
Variety notes that the Pokemon live-action series will be akin to the Detective Pikachu movie that featured Ryan Reynolds.
Detective Pikachu took place in the Pokemon world and featured humans alongside CGI Pokemon. Though fan reaction to the trailers was initially mixed, the visuals of the movie were well-regarded upon its cinematic release. Reynolds voiced the titular leading Pikachu, with a variety of Pokemon including Psyduck, Charizard, Greninja, and Mr. Mime being featured prominently as well.
Though Detective Pikachu wasn’t critically acclaimed, the generally positive reception of the movie served as a proof of concept for future live-action Pokemon projects. Whether Netflix can execute the idea effectively is a different question.
Netflix has taken on a number of adaptations of both anime and video games with mixed results. The Witcher and Castlevania series were both smash hits but the live-action movie adaptation of Deathnote was a catastrophic failure while DOTA: Dragon’s Blood sits somewhere in the middle. A live-action Pokemon series could wind up being anywhere on the spectrum of quality.
There is no word on when the live-action Pokemon series could come out but given how early it is in production it could be years before fans see it.