Gatchaman was a planned CGI animated film produced by Imagi Studios and was to be distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures. The project began in 2004 and it spent years in development hell, going through several directors and screenwriters, with DC Comics alumni Paul Dini being one of them.
In 2011, Imagi filed for bankruptcy and shut down their animation studio, resulting in the cancellation of the film project. Imagi had also planned a "Gatchaman" toy line to tie in with the film, this too was cancelled.
Kevin Munroe originally signed on to direct the film, but ultimately parted from the project in April 2008 to go direct Dylan Dog. Munroe cited "creative differences" as reason for his departure. Paul Dini wrote early script treatments for the film, but left the project as the executives had not approved it and wanted rewrites done. Robert Mark Kamen had also written an early screenplay.
Jun Falkenstein signed on to direct the film shortly after, but also left the project as it stalled once again.
Differences in the Adaptation
As the script and art direction went through several revisions, what follows are a list of changes seen throughout the various images and reels:
- Dr. Nambu was to be of Afro-Japanese descent.
- Joe was now American, and his actual name was "Joseph" rather than "George". It is believed that the "Joji"/"George" similarity would be lost on Western viewers. His parents would have been killed after being shot to death by Galactor agents, after they bombed the restaurant where the family was celebrating Joe's twelfth birthday (rather than him being eight when they died). He also would have been the last member of the team to join, after initially resisting and only feeling the need to after Dr. Nambu would wind up captured.
- If Thomas Mitchell's animatic reel was any indication, his parents' names were also changed. While his mother did not have her name mentioned, Joe's father went from being "Giuseppe" to the more American-sounding "Daniel" and was depicted as a light-haired man with a mustache.
- The team members' ages may have been raised for the film, as development material of Jun describes her as being nineteen (as opposed to sixteen). Jun is also described as "Eurasian", referencing her half-Japanese/half-American heritage from the original series' supplemental materials.
- Galactor was described as an alien organization in interviews, presumably due to "Battle of the Planets" and other adaptations popularizing that assumption.
- The team was to originally wear armored uniforms inspired by the NTT Gatchaman ads, however, the 2010 teaser trailer by Imagi showed that the development team opted to have them wearing the original '70s uniforms later on. Another early piece of promotional art shows them in uniforms inspired by the '94 OVA.
- Some early concept art went with the idea of the numbered T-shirts, while other development material such as the storyboard reels and animation tests showed a more OVA-inspired look for the team's civilian wear. The concept artists in particular couldn't decide whether to have Jun sport long hair like her TV series self, or go with the bobbed hair style from the OVA.
- Utoland was to be a full country, rather than a city in an unspecified one. Utoland was to also look more futuristic, ala "Blade Runner".
- Dr. Nambu was to be captured by Katse and presumed dead by the team. He would have met another hostage of Katse; a mysterious woman named "Laura" who he apparently had a history with. It is unknown what Laura's further role in the film would have been.
- The Red Impulse team did not appear to exist.
- Berg Katse seemed to lose their hermaphroditic origin, and appeared to be solely male, as well as being much more darker and sadistic.
- Crescent Coral Base was renamed "Poseidon Base".
Storyboard and development video gallery
|TV animation||Science Ninja Team Gatchaman · Gatchaman II · Gatchaman Fighter · New Gatchaman (unproduced)· Good Morning Ninja Team Gatchaman · Gatchaman Crowds · Gatchaman Crowds insight · Battle of the Planets: Phoenix Ninjas|
|Movies||Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: The Movie · Gatchaman (2011 - unproduced) · Gatchaman (2013)|
|Adaptations||Battle of the Planets (movie) · Eagle 5 Brothers · G-Force: Guardians of Space · Eagle Riders· Battle of the Planets: The New Exploits of G-Force (unproduced)|
|Other||Gatchaman (OVA) · NTT Gatchaman · Tachimals Theater · Infini-T Force · Time Bokan: Royal Revival|