Hollywood is finally ready to give Voltron the Transformers treatment. The 1984 animated series Voltron: Defender of the Universe may actually become a big budget Hollywood production. According to Vulture, a bidding war has erupted between producers of The Dark Knight Rises and Relativity Media, the studio behind a number of successful action films and Judd Apatow comedies in the last few years. Sources say development is moving along and the film could hit theaters in 2013 or 2014, which would put it in line for Voltron’s 30th anniversary.
For those who didn’t watch Saturday morning cartoons in the 1980s, Voltron is an interesting success story. The show was created by an American man named Peter Keefe in 1983 by splicing together licensed footage from two different Japanese animes: Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV. Keefe created new storylines by combining the footage, cutting out excessive violence and Japanese themes and locations. Popular 90s kids show The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was heavily influenced by the success of Voltron.
However, in recent years, the original Japanese owner of the animes, Toei, has demanded money every time a Voltron series or movie tries to get off the ground, which put a damper on the chances of a big budget film or revival for a very long time. In the last few years, a deal was struck with Toei and development on a new TV show and movie began. Concept art for the live-action CGI film was leaked last fall.
Voltron could make an interesting movie, but it would need a Transformers-sized budget, unique art style (it can’t look just like it), and a director more talented than Michael Bay. Can Hollywood pull this off? We’re not so sure.