Long-time fans of the Pokémon franchise were treated to some amazing renditions of their favorite Pokémon in Detective Pikachu. They were brought to realistic life by the creative teams at The Pokémon Company and Warner Bros Studios. Fan favorites like Charizard, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle (who work as tiny firefighters!), are all there, as well as many others from the first generation of Pocket Monsters. Other generations get their due as well, like Greninja (employed as ninja-star throwing henchmen) and Loudred (as beatboxing DJ’s) which feature prominently.
While there were dozens of Pokémon represented, there were hundreds more left out (the current count of Pokémon is over 800). While we’re certain the decisions about which Pokémon to include were difficult to make, some simply advanced the plot and some didn’t. Story has always been at the heart of the Pokémon franchise, and at the end of the day, Pokémon is about the story between a trainer and their Pokémon, bonding, and friendship. Here are the Pokémon we wish had made the cut, and those we wish had been left on the cutting room floor. Watch out for movie spoilers throughout!
10 WISH WERE: LAPRAS
Aiming to please fans of early Pokémon releases, there were quite a few first generation Pokémon in Detective Pikachu, as well as some nods to other subsequent generations. With all the love for Pokémon from the video games Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue, where was Lapras?
Besides being awesome giant sea creatures, they have telepathic abilities, making them some of the only other Pokémon to understand human speech (other than Detective Pikachu). Also, the film includes the protagonists atop a Torterra the size of Rhode Island, and somehow that makes more sense than including some Transport Pokémon?
9 WISH WEREN'T: TORTERRA
Torterra on their own aren't a bad Pokémon to include in a film that travels to different locations. Being part Earth and straight out of a Discworld book, they can be quite appealing, since they look so different from all the brightly-colored Pokémon we see in Ryme City. However, when they're the size of Ryme City and causing earthquakes just by yawning, they become a story flaw, not a fun cameo.
None of the characters could have survived plummeting down their backs as they lurched to life, falling hundreds of feet and sprinting through sideways forests. Plus, when Mewtwo has to set things right at the end of the film, we don't really see if they shrink again, leaving them floating in narrative imperative land.
8 WISH WERE: NINETALES
One of the main points of the film is that evolution is not only necessary but inevitable. Howard Clifford maintains that humans and Pokémon can evolve into one, and only by being melded with a single consciousness can both reach peak performance. This is a parallel to a Pokémon’s evolution through training, where with the help of a trainer, a Pokemon can attain more and more powers and abilities.
A great opportunity was missed not including Ninetales, the beautiful and dangerous evolution of Vulpix. Besides just being a fan favorite in the franchise, imagine what the creative team could have done rendering all nine of its fluffy tails!
7 WISH WEREN'T: JIGGLYPUFF
When the trailer for Detective Pikachu dropped, fans lost their collective minds over the inclusion of Jigglypuff. Not just because it's a first generation Pokémon, but because of how it looked. It was given fur like Pikachu, presumably to prevent it from looking like a fleshy pink bodily organ with eyes. As disturbing as that image would have been, was giving Jigglypuff fur the best idea?
Beyond its rendering, it was featured in a few seconds of film. Basically what fans saw in the trailer was all of Jigglypuff, so the uproar was for nothing (except some polarizing press). Meanwhile, we don't get one of the other 750 Pokémon we might have wanted that didn't need any questionable rendering choices.
6 WISH WERE: MEOWTH
For fans of the anime from the 1990s, it seems like some reference to Meowth should have been included. An instantly recognizable staple of the show for anyone that grew up watching it, Meowth was unquestionably annoying, but complemented Team Rocket's dastardly duo well with its neurotic humor and sarcastic commentary.
Why couldn't Howard Clifford's Pokémon have been a Meowth? Or, better yet, its evolved form, Persian? Imagine that feline predator stalking his impressive office, ready to eat Pikachu for lunch like the mouse Pokémon he is. Meowth are intelligent enough to learn human speech, so he could have been Clifford's spy trailing Tim and Pikachu, not Ditto.
5 WISH WEREN'T: LICKITUNG
While on a train heading to Ryme City after getting news that his father died in a tragic car accident, Tim comes in contact with a particularly friendly Lickitung. He’s minding his own business when it covers his face with its giant tongue and proceeds to cover him with drool.
The Pokémon Company apparently had big problems with this scene. Given the realism of the Pokémon the animators were trying to convey, TPC felt this was borderline disgusting, and Warner Bros had to sweet talk them into keeping the scene. The question is, what purpose did it serve, other than to show how realistically someone could render taste buds on a Poké-tongue?
4 WISH WERE: MEW
As the film already features Mewtwo, why would Mew need to be included? Well, aside from being one of the most popular Pokémon of all time, Mew holds a special place in fan's hearts because he helped Ash Ketchum in the anime when he was just starting out in is career as a Pokémon trainer.
Mew could have been included even with Mewtwo around, and still been a helpful character for the main protagonist’s progression. In fact, rather than Tim wanting to get a Cubone, it would have been much more poignant if he’d gone after a Mew.
3 WISH WERE: PONYTA
When we first encounter Tim, he's being dragged on a Pokémon-catching excursion with his friend. We see flocks of Spearow and other wild Pokémon, including his prize, a Cubone, but what do we not see? A herd of wild Ponyta, galloping through creeks, their flaming manes crackling in the wind.
There are other occasions when they could have appeared; Tim takes the train to Ryme City and passes fields and orchards, why not some barns full of Ponyta? Or perhaps a better question is why were there no mounted Ponyta police in Ryme City?
2 WISH WEREN'T: GRENINJA
Tim’s father goes missing while working a sensitive case for Howard Clifford, the visionary behind Ryme City. It’s believed he’s the victim of a horrible car crash near the last known location of a secret laboratory, and by reviewing Clifford’s hologram security footage, several Greninja can be seen using explosive throwing stars to launch his car off a bridge.
This is all well and good, except that when the Greninja appear again to hassle Tim, Lucy Stevens, and her Psyduck, the attack Psyduck performs should have no effect on them (considering their specific abilities). The scene would have been much more compelling with a Houndoom or ten chomping at their heels.
1 WISH WERE: HOUNDOOM
There’s a point roughly halfway through the film when Tim, Detective Pikachu, Lucy Stevens, and Psyduck are infiltrating a secret laboratory Tim feels was an important location in his father’s case. It has security cameras and some sort of alarm system, but how much cooler would it have been if there were packs of Houndoom patrolling the area?
Or what if they had to face a Houndoom that had Mega Evolved into a Mega Houndoom before they could even gain access to certain parts of the laboratory? There were so many strategic opportunities to add a great Dark Pokémon to the list of cameos, and yet they included evil henchmen like some Greninja.