Hollywood has been attempting to launch a big-screen version of Voltron for several years, but complexities surrounding who exactly owned the rights to the property have prevented it from moving forward. After numerous false starts, it appears that all of the legal red tape has been cut and plans for the film may finally come to fruition.
Back in September, we learned that Atlas Entertainment was still determined to deliver a live-action Voltron movie. Producers Charles Roven & Richard Suckle had recently hired screenwriters Thomas Dean Donnelly & Joshua Oppenheimer (Conan, Doctor Strange) to take a crack at the material and some leaked concept art showcased the potential of their approach.
At the time, Atlas was still trying to secure financing for the project, but the aforementioned legal entanglements were making that process difficult. According to Vulture, that obstacle has been cleared and several interested parties are now in a bidding war for the film rights to Voltron.
The major hurdle the project had to overcome actually dates back to the creation of the original Voltron cartoon. Peter Keefe created the series by combining material he had licensed from two Japanese anime series – Beast King GoLion and Armored Fleet Dairugger XV. He dubbed in new dialogue & music and the show became an unexpected international success.
Although World Events Productions owned Voltron, the company behind the original Japanese shows (Toei Animation Co.) felt they deserved a share of the profits. World Events managed to obtain the full rights to Voltron in 2000, but once Hollywood came calling about a potential film franchise, Toei showed up once again insisting that their previous agreement did not include movie rights.
Evidently, a new deal has been made and World Events is now the sole owner of the property – which means that in addition to their upcoming cartoon Voltron Force, they hope to have a Voltron feature film in theaters as early as 2013 or 2014.
Relativity Media is one of the companies negotiating for the rights at the moment, but there’s also speculation that Paramount Pictures (who own the Nicktoons channel that Voltron Force will air on) could wind up being involved as well.
There’s no word yet on whether or not the version that Atlas was developing is still in the mix or if they’ll be starting from scratch. Whichever direction the Voltron movie ultimately travels in, the concept seems like a fairly safe bet as far as Hollywood is concerned.
Given the success of a franchise like Transformers, it’s not hard to imagine Voltron attempting a similar trajectory. For fans of the series who have been waiting patiently for a big screen adaptation – it looks like it’s actually happening this time.