Earlier in the week we told you about Itochu and Comic Book Movies possibly teaming to make a CYBORG 009 movie. But that is not all that’s been going on in Anime-land this week, oh no. A new version of Neon Genesis Evangelion is also in the works, after WETA’s Richard Taylor wanted to make his own version. The trippy anime classic will be remade into four films

We’re told the plan is for the first two movies to do some general re-telling and summarizing of the original 26 episodes, using an assortment of images from the series (with all-new backgrounds and soundtracks), while the final two (with their simultaneous release) will be all new material. The new material is apparently meant as something of a mea culpa and a make-up gift to fans who were dissatisfied with the (admittedly rather weak) “ending” the movies created back in 1997. Not surprisingly, all four plan to use far more 3D animation than their mid-nineties predecessors, but with much of the same creative team attached. So, yeah — fans shouldn’t worry too much about the franchise moving too far away from the original “feel.”

But that’s not all! Producer Gerald R. Molen (Schindler’s List) is reported to be working on a live-action American version of LUPIN THE 3RD, which has had cult sucess in the US as a manga and anime series airing on Adult Swim.

200609151010Finally, ASTRO BOY IS COMING BACK!:

Imagi Animation Studios has announced that it has optioned rights from Tezuka Productions Company Limited (“Tezuka”) of Japan to produce a new CG animated feature length motion picture intended for theatrical release in 2009, based on the renowned anime franchise “Astro Boy” originally created by Osamu Tezuka.

[snip]Imagi’s technical and creative leadership in bringing comic-based action heroes to life in feature animation will once again be showcased in a major theatrical production. Similar to Imagi’s other feature film productions, including TMNT and Gatchaman, the new Astro Boy CG animated feature will be based on a completely new story created in Imagi’s US studio. CG production will take place in Imagi’s state of the art Hong Kong animation studio.

Tezuka and Imagi are eagerly anticipating the creation a vivid new version of one of the world’s most beloved action heroes. Imagi’s CEO and Vice Chairman Francis Kao says, “I grew up with Astro Boy, as did so many of us at Imagi. We now have an opportunity to bring our Astro Boy dreams to life by combining the power of high end CG imagery and Imagi’s creative collaboration with Tezuka.”

Tezuka’s General Manager Yoshihiro Shimizu further expressed Tezuka’s enthusiasm in this new project, “Imagi is a world class producer of CG feature animation, and has a unique talent for bringing 2D comic characters to life in stunning 3D worlds. We are delighted to be working with them on Astro Boy.”

Astro Boy has lnaguished in American development hell for quite some time, with Genndy Tartakovsky at one point being attached to direct before moving on the THE POWER OF THE DARK CRYSTAL.

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  1. As one of the writers on the Astroboy feature (when it was in development hell), let me be the first to say that I’m ecstatic that it will finally see the light of day, in whatever form. I love the material and it deserves a place in our culture.