The live-action adaptation of the seminal 1980s anime series Robotech has been in development hell for what seems like at least half a decade. Tobey Maguire, Akiva Goldsman, Lawrence Kasdan, and many others tried their hand at bringing it to the big screen, but to no avail. Now the Warner Bros-based producers Hollywood Gang are set to try adapting the anime, along with producers Gianni Nunnari and Mark Canton, and 300 and G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra screenwriter Michael Gordon. They are already looking at a particular filmmaker to handle the development this time, and sources say that Andy Muschietti, director of the 2013 horror hit Mama, is the frontrunner for the gig.
The original Robotech series was a combination of three different anime series from Japanese studio Tatsunoko — Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospeada, all combined together by American production company Harmony Gold and creator Carl Macek into one 85-episode narrative about Earth repelling a series of inter-related alien invasions over several generations. By far the most popular of the three chapters was the Macross saga, which spawned several independent sequels of its own in Japan. Robotech introduced an entire generation of kids to anime, and was far more adult and sophisticated than the average weekday afternoon cartoons of the time like G.I. Joe and Transformers.
Will the folks at Hollywood Gang have a better shot at getting this going? If Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark writer Lawrence Kasdan couldn’t crack it, I’m not sure who can, but of all the eighties toy/cartoon properties that end up as movies these days, Robotech has the best shot at being something truly memorable.
For more on whether anime adaptations actually have a chance in Hollywood, check out Dan Casey’s take on The Dan Cave.