Universal Inherits DreamWorks’ Live-Action Voltron Project With David Hayter Writing
The entertainment news website Deadline reported on Friday that NBCUniversal’s recent acquisition of Dreamworks Animation also includes a planned live-action film project of the 1980s animated Voltron franchise. David Hayter, the co-writer of the live-action X-Men and Watchmen films and the English voice of Solid Snake in the Metal Gear Solid games, is writing a script for the project.
According to Deadline, the project is still in development, and Universal will make decisions on the project when it gets a script draft.
World Events Productions, Ltd. (WEP) and the late Peter O’Keefe adapted the first 1984-1985 Voltron television series from two Toei Animation robot anime: King of Beasts Golion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV. Both Golion and the first Voltron story centered on young pilots who fight against an empire of alien conquerors — with the help of five mechanized lions that combine to form a robot.
Since the first combined series three decades ago, the franchise spawned three series produced outside Japan: the 3D CG Voltron: The Third Dimension in 1998, the 2D Voltron Force in 2011, and Dreamworks Animation’s Voltron: Legendary Defender, which debuted on Netflix this past June and will launch its second season on January 20.
The titular robot also appeared in several commercials, including one for MetLife during Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, and in a crossover comic project with Robotech.
New Regency, a 20th Century Fox-based production company, once negotiated with WEP and the Mark Gordon Company for the live-action Voltron rights in 2007. However, New Regency never actually signed a deal, and other companies were allowed to negotiate for the rights. WEP said in a 2008 lawsuit that New Regency discovered that former Toei character designer Kazuo Nakamura “may possess rights” related to Golion and thus the first Voltron series.
At the time that New Regency dropped the project in 2008, the Variety entertainment news source reported that Relativity Media was negotiating to pick up the project. WEP announced in 2011 that Relativity Media optioned the rights to make a live-action film adaptation with Atlus Productions.
Media Blasters released the first Voltron series with its English dub on DVD from 2006 to 2009, and released the original Japanese Beast King GoLion anime on DVD in 2008.