The Pokemon franchise is jumping to Netflix. A new live-action series based on the beloved video game series is in very early development at the streamer. Joe Henderson, who serves as co-showrunner and executive producer for Lucifer, is reportedly attached to the project. Netflix is already home to several animated Pokemon shows.
The project is still in the very early stages, and no plot details are available, reports Variety. Sources said Henderson was hired to write and executive produce the series. It is said to be in a similar vein as Pokemon Detective Pikachu, the hit 2019 film starring Justice Smith, Ryan Reynolds, and CGI Pokemon characters. That movie was a big hit, grossing $433 million worldwide and earning good reviews from critics.
Netflix likely already has enough data to show that its subscribers enjoy Pokemon shows. The streamer is home to the shows Pokemon Journeys: The Series, Pokemon: Indigo League, and Pokemon The Series: Sun & Moon. The animated movies Pokemon the Movie: The Power of Us, Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You!, and Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back - Evolution are also available to stream. Netflix has also produced original anime series based on Far Cry, Splinter Cell, and Terminator. Live-action adaptations of Cowboy Bebop and One Piece are in development as well.
As for Henderson, he is now working on the sixth and final season of Lucifer, which will be released on Sept. 10. The series stars Tom Ellis in the title role and is based on the DC Comics character created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith, and Mike Dringenberg. Henderson is also working on Netflix's series adaptation of Shadecraft, a comic he created with artist Lee Garbett. Henderson also worked on Hulu's 11.22.63 and the USA Network shows Graceland and White Collar.
This is not the first time Netflix and Nintendo — which is part-owner of The Pokemon Company — considered teaming up. Back in February 2015, The Wall Street Journal reported that the two companies were developing a live-action series based on The Legend of Zelda. At the time, Netflix was searching for its own Game of Thrones, but The Legend of Zelda series would have had a more family-friendly tone.
Sadly for Zelda fans, the series never came to fruition. During an episode of The Serf Times podcast, comedian Adam Conover said Nintendo stopped work on all adaptations in 2015 after the Wall Street Journal's report on the Zelda project was published. At the time, Conover was working on an animated adaptation of another Nintendo property, Star Fox.
"Then, a month later, suddenly there were reports Netflix wasn't going to do its Legend of Zelda anymore," Conover said, reports Collider. "I was like 'what happened?' And then I heard from my boss we weren't doing our Star Fox anymore. I was like 'what happened?'. He was like, 'someone at Netflix leaked the Legend of Zelda thing, they weren't supposed to talk about it, Nintendo freaked out... and they pulled the plug on everything, the entire program to adapt these things." Hopefully, the Pokemon project doesn't meet the same fate after Variety's report.