Tsuburaya Productions continues its greater attempt to expand its Ultraman brand further with a new film revitalizing the property from the creative team behind the critically and commercially successful Shin Godzilla revival. With director Shinji Higuchi and Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno writing the scripts, Shin Ultraman will be bringing a new take on the famous Tokusatsu hero to the big screen sometime next year in Japan. But while production continues at a mysterious pace thanks to Anno's current work on the next Evangelion film, the new Ultraman look has been decided on and shown to the public for the first time.
During the recent Tsuburaya Convention 2019 held in Japan -- which also announced the new anime set in the Gridman universe, SSSS.Dynazenon -- Studio Khara revealed the official look at the new Ultraman along with the film's logo.
Tsuburaya just unveiled a first look at #ShinUltraman! The design incorporates the ultimate throwback to Tohl Narita's original concept, in which the iconic Color Timer is nowhere to be seen. pic.twitter.com/zgygvvk4F9— Vintage Henshin (@VintageHenshin) December 14, 2019
For fans who saw Shin Godzilla's rebooted take on the famous Kaiju, Shin Ultraman's first look should feel familiar. Like Godzilla, the new Ultraman is completely alien. Removed are the Color Timer -- which acts as a energy and strength meter for various entries in the franchise -- and eye holes. This makes it more in line with original concepts from Tsuburaya Productions art director Tohru Narita, so it's not a complete departure from the original franchise. But it's definitely cryptid in nature.
Studio Khara previously announced that the Shin Ultraman reboot film is currently on track for a release some time in 2021, with TOHO distributing the film in Japan upon release. There are currently very few details as to the film's plot, however. Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno is currently attached to write the script, and the first draft was completed earlier this year. 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.
Shin Ultraman's cast currently includes Takumi Saitoh (as the main character transforming into Ultraman), Masami Nagasawa (as the main character's partner), Hidetoshi Nishijima, Koji Yamamoto, Tetsushi Tanaka, Daiki Arioka, Akari Hayami, Ryo Iwamatsu, Toshihiro Wada, Toru Matsuoka, Kyusaku Shimada, Keishi Nagatsuka, and Hajime Yamazaki in roles currently unconfirmed as of this writing.