Pokemon fans were initially worried when Legendary and Warner Bros. first announced plans to make a live-action film adaptation based on the popular anime and video game franchise, and needless to say they were relieved when Pokemon: Detective Pikachu turned out to be such a love letter to its original source material. But Detective Pikachu is a much different Pokemon story from the norm of what fans had expected to see, so why was this particular story chosen for Pokemon's live-action debut?
Speaking with ComicBook.com, Detective Pikachu co-writer Benji Samit revealed that Detective Pikachu was selected before he and co-writer Dan Hernandez were even signed onto the project officially. It was always planned as the first major outing to specifically show a new side of the Pokemon franchise.
Samit explained why this story was the plan all along "When we first got involved, it was already Detective Pikachu. I think some of those conversations happened before us. Detective Pikachu is what Legendary and the Pokemon Company were in agreement of." The philosophy behind this decision was to present as fresh of a perspective as possible, "If we're going to make a live action Pokemon movie, it needs to be different. It needs a reason to exist. We don't want to just remake movies we've already seen before."
Samit was completely on-board with this decision, "I think they rightfully thought this weird side-game that most people were not familiar with was actually a really cool thing to see in live action." Samit and Hernandez loved the idea of an odd pocket of the Pokemon world existing in a different way than the other regions, "Ryme City and Pokemon and people living together is such a cinematic thing [and] that's what they wanted to do from very early on. When we first heard about it, we were like, 'Yeah, that sounds awesome!'"
Although the film is such an odd detour from the current Pokemon franchise, Samit and Hernandez made sure to blend in as many references to the video game and anime franchises as possible to add a sense of familiarity. It's why Mewtwo plays such an important role in the film, and why there's a definitive connection to Pokemon: The First Movie too.
Pokemon: Detective Pikachu is now out in theaters, so there's still time to check out this unique story for yourself. 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.
Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City—a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world—they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe." You can read ComicBook.com's spoiler-free review of the film here.