Prior to the development of Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, concept artist RJ Palmer made a name for himself in the online Pokemon fan community by creating a variety of realistic-looking Pokemon. While many of the designs looked incredible, others looked rather terrifying given their overwhelming size and imposing nature. One Wednesday, Palmer shared his original design for Venusaur, which even he admitted was a little too freaky to be directly translated onscreen.
"This was my design for Venusaur on Detective Pikachu," Palmer wrote, uploading two designs of Venusaur with different plant designs on its back. "This was during a period where I was free to explore a more naturalistic approach. Looking back though its super clear that this would be too scary for the tone of the movie. I think the design they ended up with is fabulous!"
This was my design for Venusaur on Detective Pikachu. This was during a period where I was free to explore a more naturalistic approach. Looking back though its super clear that this would be too scary for the tone of the movie. I think the design they ended up with is fabulous! pic.twitter.com/SSekVKI47D— RJ Palmer 🔜 Anime Expo H3 (@arvalis) May 28, 2019
The design that wound up in the move was a much more gentler-looking Venusaur, complete with the same cartoonish eyes from the original game.
Detective Pikachu Venusaur is cute... CUTE!! pic.twitter.com/XBhxRPBybn— Bulbasaur Propaganda (@BulbaGanda) April 10, 2019
While Venusaur doesn't do much in the film beyond making a cameo appearance, Bulbasaur plays a crucial role late in the film. After getting injured from a falling rock after the massive Torterras begin to move, Tim (Justice Smith) manages to communicate with a group of wild Bulbasaurs and convinces them to take him to a healing Pokemon. The Bulbasaur brigade take him directly to Mewtwo, who heels Pikachu but is captured by Roger Clifford, who is actually a Ditto in disguise.
It isn't revealed until later in the film that Mewtwo purposefully fused Tim's father's consciousness with his Pikachu in order to save him from the injuries of the car crash. The psychic Pokemon unfuses the two, revealing that Tim's father Harry is actually played by Pikachu's voice actor, Ryan Reynolds.
Pokemon: Detective Pikachu is now out in theaters now. The official synopsis for the film reads as such, "The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry's former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself."