Many of us have been wondering why, with remakes and nostalgia adaptations ruling the roost in Hollywood for years, someone hasn't gotten off their butts and started making a "Robotech" movie. The series, originally distributed by Harmony Gold, was one of the first American introductions to anime, bringing high-quality animation, complex serialized storytelling and even death to kids of the 1980s who were by-and-large unprepared for such mature entertainment mixed in with their "Smurfs" cartoons. "Robotech" has an enormous cult following, and they're finally getting a movie of their very own courtesy of Warner Bros. and director Nic Mathieu.
Hollywood Reporter reports that Mathieu, a commercials director whose upcoming feature debut, The Wind, was written by blockbuster writer David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Spider-Man), is now in talks to make Robotech. The story, about an alien spaceship that crashes into the Earth, spawning a new era of world peace before the ship's owners, the 50-foot tall Zentradi, come back to claim their property and destroy the human race. Fortunately, humanity has reverse-engineered the alien technology and built Veritech Fighters, giant jets that transform into giant robots capable of fighting the Zentradi on their own terms. At the center of it all is Rick Hunter, an ace pilot and conscientious objector who becomes an unexpected hero for the human race.
It's a potentially enormous and daunting project for even the most seasoned directors, and the obvious question is probably whether Nic Mathieu has the chops to pull it off. Looking at his commercials, however, like the one for Zenith below, makes you think that he's been preparing for just this kind of movie for some time now.
"Robotech" had an interesting journey to American television screens. The original series was actually adapted from three separate anime series with similar design schemes, and played as different generations within the same overarching storyline. "The Macross Saga" was the original, and most iconic part of the trilogy, and was followed by "The Southern Cross" (in which Earth encountered the Zentradi's masters) and "Robotech: The New Generation," in which Earth has been successfully invaded by a race called The Invid, leading to a ragtag rebellion. The original Japanese versions of each series were significantly different in many respects, but Americans are generally more familiar with the Harmony Gold USA adaptations.
Robotech is being co-produced by Tobey Maguire, who by now may be a little too old to play Rick Hunter as originally planned, but then again, he's always going to look kind of boyish, isn't he? Multiple screenwriters have been attached to the project since Maguire started developing it in 2007, including Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) and Alfred Gough & Miles Millar ("Smallville").
This is our time to be a star!