Diving into the world of Pokémon without one of its best-known and most beloved human characters was a daunting task which writers Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit are open about. Instead of adapting a story which had previously been told in animated and video game form, Warner Bros. and Lionsgate elected to head in a different, more original direction with Detective Pikachu. The movie which opened to nearly $60 million at the domestic box office decided to leave Ash Ketchum sidelined in favor of introducing a sprawling new cinematic world.
"I wouldn't say we were nervous about it, we were as I'd say excited to do something new and different, like people have seen the Ash catch them story, you know, people know it well," Hernandez told ComicBook.com at the Detective Pikachu world premiere. "And so if we're gonna do something live action and new, really give them something new and different, but still throw in references and things to what people love."
While a Detective Pikachu sequel is expected before the Pokémon world expands into braver new worlds, Hernandez is quick to point out that such an Ash Ketchum story is not an impossibility going forward. "Which is not to say that you never know what's gonna come down the line, you know?" Hernandez adds. "And that's what's so great about the world, it's that there's different things going on at different places so, it's really such a fertile world and we hope that this is just the beginning."
Of course, Detective Pikachu did not come without its intentional references to a larger Pokémon world which fans might be more familiar with. "I think what was important for us with this is because this is a new world for Pokémon, the live action, we wanted to do something different," Hernandez said. "And I think that's one of the main reasons why we're doing Detective Pikachu, which is, you know, this different world that we haven't really seen before. It's were, it's an area were humans and Pokémon live together in harmony. And you know it was really a side of Pokémon that we thought would be cool in live action."
As Marvel has now released its literal Endgame, the franchise torch is up in the air for another franchise to potentially snag (though, Marvel does plan to continue cranking out films, so they might just try to keep running). Pokémon seems like a franchise with potential to carry such a torch, prompting Hernandez to joke, "It's time for the Avengers of Pokémon!"
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is now playing in theaters.