J.J. Abrams’ New Mystery Project, ‘Zanbato’ Being Rewritten

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:28 pm,

Everyone knows that J.J. Abrams loves being secretive about his projects; his strategy of revealing little about his films prior to their release paid off with Cloverfield and should benefit this summer’s Super 8 as well. So the news that he’s got another “mystery” film being actively developed – one tentatively titled Zanbato – comes as little surprise.

Fringe writing/co-executive producing duo Monica Breen and Alison Shapker are currently reworking the script for Zanbato – a word that literally translates as “horse-slaying sword” and is the name of an immense weapon that is theorized to have been used in feudal Japan (1185-1868 A.D.).

An insider for Deadline has described Zanbato as a screenplay that mixes Japanese history with robots – to quote, “swashbuckling robots with swords.” Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) was reportedly attached to helm the project at one point, but that is no longer the case. Whether Abrams has any intention of directing Zanbato or plans to pass it on to someone else (like he did with Cloverfield) is not clear.

The basic premise for Zanbato sounds (to be blunt) kind of kooky at first, but in the hands of Abrams and a pair of Fringe writers, it could be a pretty entertaining mashup of history and sci-fi genre elements. Besides, with titles like Cowboys and Aliens or Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter on the horizon, these genre hybrid pieces are almost becoming the norm in Hollywood. Per usual, take that as you will.

Cloverfield Monster J.J. Abrams New Mystery Project, Zanbato Being Rewritten

The monster from 'Cloverfield'.

Abrams has always been open about the influence of Japanese monster movie culture on Cloverfield, and he’s expressed similar interest in the general history of Japan as well. So while a project that has the potential to incorporate, say, samurai warriors with advanced robotic tech doesn’t immediately jump out as the “logical” next step for Abrams, it seems fitting enough from that perspective.

If Abrams plans on directing Zanbato then it could be a while before we learn more about the flick, seeing as he is a virtual lock to direct Star Trek 2 later this year (*knock on wood*). We’ll keep you posted on the status of Zanbato in the meantime.

Source: Deadline

TAGS: Zanbato
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  1. Sounds cool.

  2. So, it’s basically exactly what Gundam are accept he doesn’t have to pay them anything for the rights. If you have samurai robots in your film, then, really you’re just ripping off Gundam. Why don’t they just get the rights to do a Gundam movie? There is more than enough plotlines and reboots in that franchise alone. Oh yeah, they’d have to split profits that’s whay.

  3. Sorry, just ranting. But a Gundam movie franchise would be so cool. But if it was handled by western studios it would just lose too much of what makes it good. It’d still be better than Bayformers though.

    • It sure would, but lets let the Japanese do it just like the did Space battle ship Yamoto.

      • Agreed. I’ve seen the trailers for Space Battleship Yamato and it looks fantastic. It looks pretty much just like a live action anime. I’ve seen the Gantz movie and that was brilliantly done too. Leave it to the japanese I say. It seems like Zack Snyder has already tried taking all the cool visual elements out of anime to use on Sucker Punch, and from what i’ve heard it hasn’t paid off.


  5. OT – I remember the first time I heard the word Zanbato was when I was watching the Rourouni Kenshin Anim,e series. True enough to the description given in the article the sword was massive and intimidating unfortunately useless against the main protagonist of the series.

    Hopefully when more info about this movie surfaces it would perk my interest as this particular mash up sounds like another live action anime done by a western way of thinking.

    • Great series, Rurouni Kenshin, I have it on dvd one of my favorite anime series

  6. two of my most favorite subjects this sounds cool