Since 1979, the Gundam franchise continues to innovate on the science-fiction military-mecha narrative. The series ranges from a genre-defining TV series to various multi-media efforts such as manga and video games. It is now among the highest-grossing media franchises that will surely only expand upon the release of its highly anticipated live-action Netflix adaptation.
This live-action adaptation arrives soon alongside the fall release of Cowboy Bebop and the upcoming Yu Yu Hakusho project. Gundam still rests in the infancy of pre-production but let's unravel everything we know thus far about the mecha-focused hit. Strap in, engage those thrusters, and prepare your love, your anger, and all of your sorrow.
Gundam Project Cast
In the pilot seat of Netflix's Gundam movie is none other than Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts. He is also simultaneously heading the Metal Gear Solid movie starring Oscar Isaac as Solid Snake. The director/producer has worked on a number of TV series, such as Death Valley and You're the Worst, but also has a variety of video shorts under his belt. Chief among them is a 2017 live-action trailer for Destiny 2: New Legends Will Rise.
Though only a little under two minutes of runtime, the trailer clearly shows Vogt-Roberts' commitment to the live-action format. But he also manages to keep intact the Destiny 2 formula while still evolving upon it through filmography. Brings Gundam to life on the big screen will require that style and creative ingenuity.
Netflix's Gundam Writing Team
Aside from Vogt-Roberts, the only other name on the bill for Gundam's cast currently is the film's screenwriter, Brian K. Vaughn. His work in comic books has been considered awe-inspiring with many likening him to greats like Alan Moore and Frank Miller which shows given his countless awards.
Vaughan's self-started comic creations include Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina. He has also assisted on TV series -- most notably Lost and Stephen King's Under the Dome, for which he was selected to adapt by the horror author himself.
It's unclear what exactly the live-action film will focus on with its story. It could potentially be a simple adaptation of the original TV series from 1979. While hardly telling, the storyline as told on the Untitled Gundam Project IMDb page reads simply: "A war takes place involving giant robotic battle suits." This is essentially the plot of nearly every form of Gundam anime arc, so it doesn't give us much insight into the narrative focus.
The original Mobile Suit Gundam TV series took place in the far-flung future of Universal Century year 0079. As fans know, the war between the Earth Federation and the Principality of Zeon is the central conflict.
The story focuses on an Earth Federation space vessel called the White Base as it launches to rendezvous with a new prototype weapon called the RX-78 Gundam. This giant robot becomes crucial in their survival against the Zeon and their tactically proficient Lieutenant Commander Char Aznable. By the way, he came here to laugh at you.
Previous Gundam Ventures & Hathaway
This wouldn't be the first time Gundam has been brought to the real world, as evidenced by the Canadian TV film called G-Saviour. This project is best left forgotten and proves that Sunrise is on the right track this go around. Netflix is also currently adapting an animated Mobile Suit Gundam film.
Simply titled Hathaway, the streaming service recently unveiled the news via an eye-catching trailer. The live-action movie could potentially have some sort of tie-in with this anime rendition, but time will only tell.
Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino remarked "There's nothing cool" about the military. Fans are hoping that Netflix's adaption doesn't glorify the military in any way and stays true to its source material.
Gundam Movie Release Date
Given how early in development the film is right now, it remains unclear when exactly we could potentially be sitting down to actually watch it. An appropriate guess puts the release as late 2022 or early 2023, given the scheduling and timeframe of Vogt-Roberts' other projects. We do know he will be working on the Gundam movie first before diving headlong into the stealth action of Metal Gear, so you'll be stepping into the cockpit soon enough.
In the meantime, as the wait for both the Gundam live-action movie and animated Hathaway feature take hold, catch up on all the history. Fans can find all the classic hits Char's Counter Attack alongside Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn and Iron-Blooded Orphans on Netflix.
There's a lot of great stories about Spider-Man the MCU could pull from, but you can't tell them until he's older.