You may have heard of Netflix’s CGI Ultraman series that’s about to land in the not so distant future of April 2019 — but that’s only the tip of the iceberg, because our silver, alien-transforming hero is getting a full franchise reboot (on the English side of things) which will hopefully restore him to international fame.
Tsuburaya Productions, one of the cornerstones of the tokusatsu (Japanese special effects) genre helmed by famed artist Eiji Tsuburaya and home to Ultraman, has recently enlisted transmedia producers Starlight Runner Entertainment in reintroducing the franchise to international audiences. There’s apparently been talk of a live-action series made for streaming platforms, but nothing’s set in stone so far.
Nevertheless, if it’s anything like the original Ultraman and Ultra Q series from 1966, we imagine it’ll follow an anti-monster defense agency fighting off otherworldly creatures to protect Earth, in which one of its members holds the secret identity of Ultraman.
Understandably, fans of the franchise may be a little worried about how Ultraman’s going to translate in the fairly Western-centric media landscape (we’ve all seen how Super Sentai got adapted to Power Rangers and yeah, it’s not pretty). But you may be a little relieved to hear that, Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner, has claimed, “Ultraman is one of my greatest childhood heroes. We’re honored to be embarking on this mission to bring this family of characters back to the world stage.”
They’ll also be working with The Licensing Group to offer the whole merchandising shebang. While Starlight Runner’s worked on digital spin-offs for franchises like Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean and Sony’s Men In Black, The Licensing Group has recognisable titles like Mortal Kombat and Baywatch under their belt. Between the both of them, they’ve evidently vast enough experience with big IPs, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that they’ll do right by Ultraman.