Netflix announced it has partnered with Tsuburaya Productions to develop a new CG-animated feature film for the iconic Japanese superhero Ultraman.
According to Variety, the upcoming Ultraman animated film features a brand new story and is aimed at bringing a new audience for the red and silver-clad superhero. Shannon Tindle will make his directorial debut along with John Aoshima (DuckTales, Gravity Falls) who will co-direct the project. The feature will be based on a script both Tindle and Marc Haimes (Kubo and the Two Strings) co-wrote. Tom Knott and Lisa Poole are set to produce.
“Making this film is a dream come true. What began as an original story inspired by my love for Eiji Tsuburaya’s Ultraman somehow became an actual Ultraman film thanks to the incredible trust of the team at Tsuburaya Productions, and the support of the folks at Netflix Animation,” says Tindle. “We’ve assembled an all-star team and I can’t wait to share our unique take on Ultraman with the rest of the world.”
The original story mentioned will follow a superstar baseball player named Ken Sato, who returns to Japan to take up the mantle of Ultraman. Things don’t go quite as planned, and he finds himself with a newborn kaiju monster that he wants to raise as his own. It seems the kaiju are just one part of Sato’s life problems as he must also tend to his relationship with his estranged father and the Kaiju Defense Force.
While this is an original story that is designed to bring in a new global audience, it looks to appease those that have followed Ultraman for the past few decades as well. The animation itself will be done by Tsuburaya Productions and Industrial Light and Magic. To get an idea of the direction the studios are going for, you can check out the concept art above.
While there are no actors attached to the project, it is planned to cast a mix of Japanese and western stars, as well as below-the-line talent from Japan.
“This partnership with Netflix will be the first full-scale endeavor to reach the global market for Tsuburaya Productions. Ultraman, since it was created, has charmed many people around the world. And Shannon Tindle is one of those people. He was greatly influenced by Ultraman as a child, and he grew up to become a creator himself,” says Takayuki Tsukagoshi, CEO and chairman of Tsuburaya Productions. “I am delighted that families around the world will be able to watch Shannon and his team’s vision for Ultraman on Netflix and foster feelings of courage, hope and kindness.”
Shannon Tindle is probably most known for his animation work on features such as Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings. He has also worked on projects such as Megamind and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends.