Fans of two venerable properties from the worlds of manga and anime, take note: You might be seeing more of them soon, and with flesh-and-blood actors playing the roles. Let’s do this by age. First up: Astro Boy. First introduced in 1951 under the Japanese name Mighty Atom, Astro Boy is the most famous creation of the beyond-influential Japanese artist Osamu Tezuka. A robot boy created by a scientist to replace his dead son—just go with this—Astro Boy became an even bigger star with an international reach via a 1960s anime series that both helped define the form and bring it to an international audience. Astro Boy has continued on sporadically in one form or another since then, most prominently in a 2009 animated film starring the voices of Freddie Highmore and Kristen Bell.
The Hollywood Reporter has an item today about a live-action revival courtesy of Animal Logic, an Australian production company that’s done work on films like Avengers: Age Of Ultron but has an eye on developing its own projects. (Also in the works: A Betty Boop movie. Animal Logic apparently has a thing for big-eyed cartoon characters.) Will it be for kids like the original? Sure. But also, per Animal Logic’s Zareh Nalbandian, it’s for grown-ups too. He told Hollywood Reporter, “We actually see him in the same league as an Iron Man,” a comment that might sound some alarm bells for Astro Boy purists who don’t want to see their little robot hero blowing up shit real good. But let’s wait and see. In the meantime, it’s worth noting that this isn’t the first live-action version of Astro Boy: He also starred in a Japanese TV series that predates the animated version. (The following clip begins with animation, then hits the live-action action around the 1:30 mark.):
Elsewhere in the blowing-up-shit-real-good-like-Iron-Man department: Robotech. Introduced in 1985, the series helped popularize anime, specifically the people-in-big-robot-suits-doing-big-roboty-suit-things subgenre of mecha, to a generation of overseas fans. This one’s been in the works for a while, with talks dating back to 2007, when Tobey Maguire attempted to bring the series to the big screen. Now Deadline has an item suggesting that Warner Bros. is actively working on it again with Hollywood Gang, the production company behind 300, Immortals, and 300: Rise Of An Empire. Also on board is writer Michael Gordon, whose credits include 300 and G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra. That combination of talent might make it a little too easy to imagine what the finished project will look like, and whatever form it takes might pale a bit next to Pacific Rim, but let’s stay upbeat. If we can’t get excited about a movie about humans in giant robot suits, what can we get excited about anymore?