Detective Pikachu might not be the last time you see real people interacting with fictional (but real in my heart) pokémon. Netflix is reportedly in early development on a live-action Pokémon TV series, according to Variety, with Lucifer co-showrunner and executive producer Joe Henderson attached to shepherd the project to a screen near you.
It felt almost like a fluke that Detective Pikachu happened at all, given the relative obscurity of the niche Pokémon spinoff game it was based on and Nintendo’s seeming reluctance to take big swings on live-action adaptations after the mythically lackluster quality of the Super Mario Bros. movie. As of late, though, Nintendo’s been expanding into other mediums — like theme parks — and taking on new partners — like Ubisoft and its Rabbids franchise — so maybe the time is right for a popular Netflix show?
For Netflix, a Pokémon show is just another step toward what it sees as its partially game-driven future. The company already has a hit with The Witcher and arguably another with Castlevania, and it has Resident Evil and Tomb Raider shows in the works. It’s also just made it clear that it actually wants to fund and deliver mobile games to its subscribers at no additional cost. A Pokémon show could continue a relationship with Nintendo it was already reported to be cultivating. As early as 2015, it was rumored that Nintendo and Netflix were developing a live-action Legend of Zelda series, which was reportedly canceled due to leaks.
That Zelda show never came to fruition and given just how early this Pokémon project sounds, it’s very possible it ends up going the same way. But Nintendo and Netflix are in very different places than they were half a decade ago. Maybe this time live-action Pokémon lightning strikes twice.