Although the Ultraman franchise has been one of the hugest Tokusatsu properties in Japan for many years, its parent company Tsuburaya Productions has been making an effort to get the franchise an even wider range of potential fans. There have been major moves made to expand the franchise outside of its Tokusatsu roots, and these efforts have brought Ultraman into the conversation again.
One of the most surprising ventures is the upcoming Shin Ultraman film project, with Studio Khara producing, Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno writing the script, and Shin Godzilla director Shinji Higuchi directing. Now the cast is starting to come together.
庵野秀明×樋口真嗣「シン・ウルトラマン」製作！出演は斎藤工、長澤まさみ、西島秀俊（コメントあり）https://t.co/YIJy8xW3aOJuly 31, 2019
According to eiga Natalie, Shin Ultraman has added its three initial members of the main cast. This includes Takumi Satoh, who will be the one transforming into Ultraman in the new film, Masami Nagasawa, and Hidetoshi Nishijima. The details of their characters are light for now, but each one is excited to be a part of the film after reading the initial script.
Studio Khara announced that Shin Ultraman is currently on track for a release some time in 2021, with TOHO distributing the film in Japan upon release. Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno is currently writing the script, and the first draft was notably completed on February 5th. Anno will be putting his full attention into the new Ultraman film after the release of the fourth Evangelion film, Evangelion 3.0 + 1.0, which will be launching in Japan on June 2020.
Tsuburaya Productions previously announced their effort to make their properties more recognizable to a wider variety of fans through new projects. This has included an anime series for Gridman the Hyper Agent, a proposed live-action Ultraman reboot produced in the United States, and most recently an anime rebooted take on the franchise released on Netflix.
This new Netflix anime is based off of Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shiguchi's ULTRAMAN manga, which is a sequel to the original 1966 Ultraman television series. The first season is currently available for streaming in both Japanese with English subtitles and English dub, and runs for 13 episodes.
The first season was popular enough to garner a second season, which is currently in the works, and Netflix officially describes ULTRAMAN as such, "Several years have passed since the events of Ultraman, with the legendary "Giant of Light" now a memory, as it is believed he returned home after fighting the many giant aliens that invaded the Earth. Shin Hayata's son Shinjiro seems to possess a strange ability, and it is this ability, along with his father's revelation that he was Ultraman, that leads Shinjiro to battle the new aliens invading the Earth as the new Ultraman."