New Gatchaman Details & Sketches

Director Kevin Munroe and Imagi Studios had great success earlier this year with “TMNT,” a CG-animated restart of the classic early 90’s animated series “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.

Soon after, it was announced that the pair would team up again for a similar adaptation of the Japanese anime series “Gatchaman” (better known as “Battle of the Planets” outside Japan) for release in 2009.

Now, IESB has talked with Munroe who revealed that they’ve been working on the film since last year and are testing some more extreme facial structures in order to get the subtleties of facial expression and movement just right.

The filmmakers are aiming for something more realistic this time around than the Turtles’ human characters were – “It’s not cartoon-ey and it’s not photo-real. It’s really pushing the western style of animation, something very cool and different.”

Which story are they using? “It’s an origin story. We’re going through, we’re adding mythology. Fans of the tv show will remember that they never talked about how the Gatchaman started, how the war between the Gatchaman and Galactor started…What was the first invasion like…So this is, we’re actually the prequel to the TV show in a sense, and the idea that the mythology of the Gatchaman is not just restricted to technology, there is a mystical aspect as well.”

Munroe adds that ” We aren’t reinventing it, we are trying to deliver a very satisfying future storyline but at the same time, look at it and go, wow that would fit really well into the cupboard that is now the tv show.” He does confirm that at least one key character dies and some fans may get upset, but the moment is “one of the most moving moments and one of the greatest moments that helps all the characters grow.”

The action will unfold in the 22nd century on Utoland, a UN sponsored island where the landscape is packed full of buildings that are so tall that it’s permanently nighttime at ground level. The general feel is that the world has fallen into disarray but looks to this island and the Gatchaman as a beacon of hope – that’s when an alien invasion force arrives and destroys the city (that’s just the first act).