Skydance Productions has hired Jack Reacher screenwriter/director Christopher McQuarrie to direct and write the live-action adaptation of Star Blazers, the North American name to a Japanese Animated TV series known as Space Battleship Yamato
The series follows a crew of survivors from Earth whose planet’s atmosphere was radiated in an attack by an alien race from the distant planet of Gamilon. Using alien technology that was transmitted to the survivors of Earth, The Argo, an old sunken Japanese battleship, was resurrected. With scientists estimating the human race has just a year before the radiation from the surface will seep underground to kill the last vestiges of humanity, a bold crew of volunteers makes a desperate attempt to make a final voyage to outer space in the hope of saving planet Earth.
McQuarrie, Josh C. Kline, David Ellison and Dana Goldberg are set to produce. Paul Schwake and Shoji Nishizaki, the adopted son of the late Yamato co-creator, Yoshinobu Nishizaki, will executive produce.
Star Blazers was a hit series because its episodes relied more on its character development than its action sequences. Like the Robotech series that would follow Star Blazers a decade later, this 70’s product was considered groundbreaking for its time. And the show didn’t talk down to its youthful audience.
But with this new version to carry on what was started by original production companies Claster Television and Sunwagon, people may wonder who Skydance will cast for the film roles. Skydance is known for big budget Hollywood blockbusters like Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Delivering the big marquee names will not be much of a problem. But with Star Blazers, there needs to be a cast of young and old performers.
Hopefully this product will not mirror the Japanese update too much. Released in 2010 in Japan and due in North American theaters this November, Space Battleship Yamato honored this classic series in an interesting revision. This product was directed by Takashi Yamazaki and written by Shimako Sato. They crafted a modernist take of this universe. A review can be found here.
This update starred Takuya Kimura and Tsutomu Yamazaki. Kimura is a member of the boy-band, SMAP, and Yamazaki is best remembered for his role in Tampopo. This Japanese product offered a mix of known talent that spanned decades. Even a few of the original voice talent appeared, namely Isao Sasaki (the narrator). Hopefully the North American treatment will follow suit by following a similar development plan.
The difficult part for McQuarrie will be in providing a balanced script to highlight an ensemble cast. Star Blazers is about a group of people than a film dealing with one or two big name characters. Fans will want something along the lines of the original X-Men film, where the whole cast had equal screen time. What fans don’t want is an X-men 3 — or as we would like to call it, the Wolverine/Storm syndrome.
And what of the voice cast that carried the animated series. Will previous actors like Amy Howard Wilson (the original voice of Nova) be asked to do cameos in the film or will they be invited to the Hollywood premiere. To have the original voice cast in the film could make for an emotional passing of the torch. It’s better to have their involvement in some form because, to borrow from Billy Joel, Skydance didn’t start the fire.
Writer’s Note: Some of the original Star Blazers voice cast can still be seen attending various conventions throughout North America. Amy Howard Wilson herself will be appearing at the upcoming A-Kon 25 in Dallas, Texas.
Source(s): Deadline Hollywood.