Matt Himes and Richard Ho
Wizard Magazine #169
After conquering the imaginations of an entire generation, the Voltron Force heads for some uncharted territory: Hollywood.
Originally launched in 1984, "Voltron: Defender of the Universe" is currently being developed as a big-budget, live-action film by New Line Cinema's Ford Oelman and Mark Costa. The duo snapped up the rights for the cult-favorite animated series from World Events and pitched the concept to producer Mark Gordon (Saving Private Ryan) and musician/producer Pharrell Williams, who will compose the score and produce the soundtrack.
For Oelman and Costa, the journey from TV to silver screen will truly be a labor of love. "We've always been part of the animation generation," said Oelman. "We grew up on shows like Transformers, Thundercats and G.I. Joe, and there's a strong sense of nostalgia for these shows as we get older. As fans, we wondered why there wasn't a Voltron film in development - so we decided to do something about it."
The original series followed the spacefaring adventures of five pilots who journey to the planet Arus to command the robotic lions that make up the fighting machine known as Voltron- all in an effort to save the universe from the dreaded Drule Empire.
The producers also plan to do Voltron justice when it comes to the visual effects, which Oelman confirms will be a combination of CGI and physical techniques. "We anticipate using some CGI for the science-fiction elements, but for the most part we want to bring a larger-than-life, realistic Voltron to the big screen", said Oelman. "It's important to utilize every possible technology when making a movie of this scope to ensure the creation of a believable world. For larger mecha battles it can be a good idea to use scale models. I think WETA [Workshop] was amazingly successful The Lord of the Rings, using CGI and scaling techniques as well as intricate makeup and costumes."
The popularity of the various animated series has already proven that Voltron has staying power - and the producers hope that longevity will carry over into the world of movies. "The fact that it's still airing in some territories 21 years after its conception is a testament to its durability," said Oelman. "The film franchise should have the same kind of resonance. We intend to make the first film a success so that we get to do it again and again."
OH. FREAKING. YES. You better believe I am all over this action. Now that Batman Begins is behind us, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is almost upon us, I was badly in need of something I could obsess about. Thank you, crazy-weird Japanese dudes, for creating Voltron. Thank you.