Shannon Tindle and John Aoshima to helm new film based on Eiji Tsuburaya’s iconic Japanese superhero that first found audiences 55 years ago.
Netflix has just announced they’ve gone into development on a CG-animated Ultraman feature film being produced with Tsuburaya Productions and ILM. Shannon Tindle will direct, and John Aoshima will co-direct, from a script written by Tindle and Marc Haimes. Tom Knott is set to produce, with Lisa Poole as co-producer. The feature expands the streamer’s relationship with Tsuburaya Productions that began with the release of the Ultraman anime series, now in its second season.
According to Netflix, in the film, baseball superstar Ken Sato returns to his home country of Japan to pick up the mantle of Earth-defending superhero Ultraman, but quickly finds more than he bargained for when he’s forced to raise the offspring of his greatest foe, a newborn Kaiju. Struggling to balance the roles of teammate and new father, Ken must confront his own ego, his estranged father, and the conniving Kaiju Defense Force to rise up and discover what it truly means to be Ultraman.
According to Tindle, “Making this film is a dream come true. What began as an original story inspired by my love for Eiji Tsuburaya’s Ultraman somehow became an actual Ultraman film thanks to the incredible trust of the team at Tsuburaya Productions, and the support of the folks at Netflix Animation. We’ve assembled an all-star team and I can’t wait to share our unique take on Ultraman with the rest of the world.”
Takayuki Tsukagoshi, CEO/Chairman Tsuburaya Productions, said, “Ultraman was born in Japan 55 years ago. This partnership with Netflix will be the first full-scale endeavor to reach the global market for Tsuburaya Productions. Ultraman, since it was created, has charmed many people around the world. And Shannon Tindle is one of those people. He was greatly influenced by Ultraman as a child, and he grew up to become a creator himself. I am delighted that families around the world will be able to watch Shannon and his team’s vision for Ultraman on Netflix and foster feelings of courage, hope and kindness.”
“Having the opportunity to partner with our friends at Tsuburaya Productions to bring this beloved character to our members around the world is an honor,” said Aram Yacoubian, Director of Original Animated Film, Netflix “We’re thrilled to be working with Shannon, John and an incredibly talented team of artists and lovers of Ultraman from around the world. We can’t wait to share our film with fans of this iconic Japanese hero and introduce a new generation to what’s sure to become their new favorite superhero.”
Ultraman joins Netflix’s fast growing original slate of animated features which includes Academy Award nominated Sergio Pablos’ Academy Award-nominated Klaus, Kris Pearn’s The Willoughbys, and Glen Keane’s Over the Moon. Features recently announced and in production include the upcoming comedy Back to the Outback, directed by Clare Knight and Harry Cripps; Richard Linklater’s Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Adventure; Chris Williams’ The Sea Beast; Henry Selick’s Wendell & Wild; Nora Twomey’s My Father’s Dragon; Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion Pinocchio; Wendy Rogers’ The Magician’s Elephant; Minky Lee’s Witch Boy animated musical; Lupita Nyong’o’s Sulwe; and an Aardman Chicken Run sequel.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.