Now that it’s in theaters, I can finally admit that I think Detective Pikachu is a pretty crazy concept to introduce audiences to a cinematic world of Pokémon. After all, it’s a film about a boy trying to solve the potential murder of his father alongside a Pikachu who sounds like Ryan Reynolds, a wild departure from the familiar story of a trainer capturing, fighting, and traveling with monsters. However, fans may be surprised to learn that the movie’s writers deliberately set it apart from the popular anime storyline, while also consciously setting it in the same universe as Ash and his friends.
Nintendo has a long history of protecting its bigger brands from Hollywood after the abysmal 1993 Super Mario Bros. film, so the story goes that The Pokémon Company would only allow Legendary the rights to the property if they created a movie that didn’t revolve around the same story as the anime and games.
After its announcement, many fans expressed their displeasure that they wouldn’t see Ash and his Pikachu on the big screen, but in an interview with ComicBook.com, co-writers Benji Samit and Dan Hernandez revealed that fans shouldn’t count out his appearance in a future film.
“We definitely did do it that way as like, ‘This is like maybe connected to the rest of the Pokémon world.’ It’s not like we’re saying that this is an alternate universe where Pokémon and humans live side by side. This is just a different area in their known world where they decided to do things differently… We wanted to be clear that this is the same Universe as all the other Pokémon stuff, it’s just a different side of it.”
The game series’ storyline, which was loosely adapted into the popular anime series, finds a young Pokémon Trainer and their chosen starter Pokémon (like Ash and his extraordinary Pikachu) traveling across a vast geographical region, making friends and battling an evil crime organization when they’re not too busy catching ‘em all. It’s a simplified hero’s journey that would make an incredible cinematic adaptation in the future.
After all, Detective Pikachu is officially in theaters this weekend, and its likely success pretty much guarantees not only a sequel, but an entire cinematic Pokémon universe to come.