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Is a POKÉMON Cinematic Universe in the Works?
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Have you ever wanted to be the very best, like no one ever was? Was catching them your real test and training them your cause? Then you’re in luck because Detective Pikachu might just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to seeing Pokemon on the big screen.

No, you didn’t doze off while hearing Jigglypuff do karaoke at the local coffee shop. You’re not having a strange fever dream. This intel comes directly from the set of Detective Pikachu.

Editor’s note: This episode of Nerdist News Edition is sponsored by the new Hellboy movie, hitting theaters April 12. 

Back in April 2018, I clambered aboard the back of the nearest Pidgeotto and flew across the pond to the United Kingdom where I journeyed to Shepperton Studios in order to visit the set of Detective Pikachu. Along with a small group of international press, I spent the day learning the secrets of Ryme City, including how Danny DeVito actually did voice Detective Pikachu for one beautiful, brief moment in time.

While on set, producer Ali Mendes hinted that Detective Pikachu could be the beginning of something much larger. She said that the world of Pokemon is “…such a rich universe. There are so many ways you can go inside of it. We’re trying to get the first movie right, and then once we’ve done that, we’ll see where we go from there, but absolutely. There are a lot of opportunities. … We’re going to have a lot of [Pokemon] in this movie, but we want to play with all of them at some point.”

Obviously, no one in their right mind thought that Detective Pikachu was going to be a one-off movie. Back in January, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Legendary is already developing a sequel to Detective Pikachu with 22 Jump Street writer Oren Uziel, and that was months before the first film would ever hit theaters. Considering that Pokemon is the highest-grossing franchise of all time, not expanding the universe beyond the first movie is a bit like bringing a Magikarp to a gunfight. It’s not very effective. The real question is how will they expand the world from here?

Well, also back in January, We Got This Covered reported a rumor that there were actually two Pokemon movies in active development. One of these is likely to be the aforementioned Detective Pikatwo, but the other was alleged to be based on the original video games, Pokemon Red and Blue. Those games followed the adventures of you, a 10-year-old child, who is forced to leave your home, travel all over the world, capture and train rare Pokemon, avoid glitching out your save by messing around with Missingno, and attempting to battle your way into the annals of history.

While this is all still just a rumor and should be taken with a Wailord-sized grain of salt, the closest person to a Gym Leader that I know, IGN‘s Joshua Yehl, reported on this news earlier this week and wisely noted that 2013’s Pokemon Origins was a four-part animated retelling of Pokemon Red and Blue. Clocking in at approximately 90 minutes, it makes a compelling case for how one might go about distilling the “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” experience into a feature film.

Personally speaking, I don’t want to see them bring Ash, Brock, and Misty to the big screen. Not because I don’t want to see Timothee Chalamet in a jaunty baseball cap yelling commands, but because I think the Pokemon universe is ripe for telling new stories that we haven’t already seen in a different medium. Give us the story of a Team Rocket whistleblower as a prestige drama! Scare me silly with a psychological thriller set in Lavender Town! Show me a wordless tearjerker about Cubone and its mother! The possibilities are truly endless.

There will be 60 Pokemon in Detective Pikachu, which is but a small fraction of the 800-plus that have been created over the last 20 years. Now with Pokemon Sword and Shield coming to the Nintendo Switch, that roster is about to get even larger. So, playing with all of them at some point, like Mendes said, might take an awfully long time. But like the former president of Nintendo, my body is Reggie. Bring it on!

Thanks to Hellboy for partnering with us on this video. Hellboy is coming to theatres April 12th, pre-order your tickets now: https://tickets.hellboy.movie

Image: Universal

Editor’s note: Nerdist is a subsidiary of Legendary Digital Networks.