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Hollywood’s live-action Pokémon movie is about ‘Detective Pikachu’

Writers from 'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'Gravity Falls' are working on a Pokémon movie, but why is it about 'Detective Pikachu'?


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw


Posted on Aug 17, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 6:06 am CDT

The success of Pokémon Go virtually guaranteed that Hollywood would leap on the Pokémon bandwagon, and Legendary Pictures has already lined up its writing team for a live-action movie.

Strangely, the upcoming Pokémon movie won’t be about people collecting pokémon and battling each other. Instead, it’s an adaptation of the Nintendo 3DS game Detective Pikachu, which features—you guessed it—Pikachu as a private detective.

The game’s Sherlock-inspired trailer shows an animated Pikachu working alongside some human companions.

Screenwriter Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch are wrapping up contract negotiations to write the English-language Detective Pikachu movie.

This is a strong creative team, but the choice of inspiration is puzzling. Detective Pikachu is nowhere near as well-known as the ubiquitous Pokémon Go, and audiences are more familiar with the original games and cartoon series starring Ash Ketchum and friends.

In 2016, Pokémon is basically Narnia for millennials. It’s hard to understand why its first Hollywood adaptation is a detective movie, rather than the kind of fantasy-influenced adventure that made the franchise popular in the first place. 

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*First Published: Aug 17, 2016, 10:15 am CDT