Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Kong: Skull Island's Jordan Vogt-Roberts to direct live-action Gundam movie for Netflix

A Gundam statue in Japan
A Gundam statue in Japan
Photo: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP (Getty Images)

With Kong: Skull Island, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts proved that he has a capable hand when it comes to big franchise movies (“big” as in physically large, because King Kong is really big and also the thing we’re talking about in this story is big), which is probably one of the reasons why Sony was happy to hand him its long-in-the-works Metal Gear Solid adaptation—another reason being that Vogt-Roberts is a famously huge Metal Gear fan, to the extent that he physically appeared as a heavily bearded wastelander in creator Hideo Kojima’s underrated Death Stranding. Now, Legendary has similarly decided to hand him another huge license that he’s a fan of, with Netflix announcing on Twitter that Vogt-Roberts is going to direct a live-action adaptation of iconic robot anime series Gundam.

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This Gundam movie has been in the planning stages for a couple of years now, with the only real movement before today coming in 2019 when Brian K. Vaughan signed on to write it, but now that Netflix has picked up the movie and is actively hyping it up on social media, it seems slightly more likely that the movie will actually get made at some point (which, again, does not seem to be the case for Vogt-Roberts’ Metal Gear). We know pretty much nothing else about this project, but the director is so excited that he can’t even tweet about how excited he is. Also, if you doubt his Gundam cred, the symbol on the jacket and facemask that he wore to the Godzilla Vs. Kong premiere is from Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, and some of the helmets worn by the helicopter pilots in Kong: Skull Island were designed to look like the Gundam’s iconic forehead crest.

If you’re wondering what Gundam is, though, you’ve sure come to the right place! The A.V. Club’s own Sam Barsanti (Disclaimer: That’s me! Hello!) wrote a very long essay about Gundam and the most newcomer-friendly variations of Gundam throughout its history of movies and TV and plastic model kits, but the best thing about Gundam—and the thing that potentially lends itself to an adaptation like this really well—is that none of that really matters. For decades, Gundam shows and movies have taken place in separate continuities from each other, so unlike a Star Wars or whatever where it’s all supposed to take place in one universe, Vogt-Roberts and Vaughan could tell a Gundam story that is wholly original and requires no previous familiarity with the characters or storylines. That’s assuming, of course, that they include some of the key Gundam hallmarks like giant robots, a mysterious rival in a mask, a hero with no real business being the hero, and constant crushing reminders that war is bad, fighting is bad, and giant robots are the worst.

Interestingly, this announcement comes just a few weeks after Godzilla Vs. Kong director Adam Wingard got approval from Warner Bros. to make a movie based on the old ‘80s cartoon ThunderCats, which is apparently something he’s wanted to do since he was a kid. That means two of the four directors who worked on Legendary and Warner Bros.’ “MonsterVerse” movies are now making dream-come-true projects (three if you count the fact that Godzilla’s Gareth Edwards already made a Star Wars). So if Godzilla: King Of The Monsters director Michael Dougherty is sitting on some really good idea for, like, SilverHawks or BraveStarr, now’s the time to start pitching.