Detective Pikachu director Rob Letterman says he's counted 54 Pokémon in the live-action film. When the original Pokémon video games (the Red Version and Blue Version) launched for the Game Boy in 1996, they introduced what are now known as the first generation of "pocket monsters". With a total of 151 Pokémon, including Mew and Mewtwo, Generation I features a majority of the most famous Pokémon to this day, including creatures like Pikachu, Charizard, Psyduck, Jigglypuff, and so on. Jump to the present and there are now more than half a dozen Generations that encompass over eight hundred Pokémon (and counting).
With those kind of numbers, the creatives behind the first live-action Pokémon movie had a lot to choose from, as far as which ones to include in the film adaptation. Mind you, Detective Pikachu was always intended to be the first of numerous live-action Pokémon adventures, so there was never a point where Letterman and his team were trying to fit all of Generation I (and beyond) into the story. All the same, they managed to include a pretty significant amount, at the end of the day.
Screen Rant got the chance to ask Letterman how Pokémon made the cut in Detective Pikachu during our interview with him, to which he responded "I don’t want to get this wrong. I want to say 54, but I may not be right about that because I lost count at one point. Do you mind doublechecking? People are going to be out there counting them, and I don’t want to be wrong". So, yes, although the "official" count is 54 for now, there's a real possibility that number will change as more people see the film and count all the pocket monsters for themselves.
There's a reasonable chance Letterman's right on the money with his estimate. Back in April, Warner Bros. released a Detective Pikachu video that included "Screen Tests" for around thirty Pokémon that appear in the film, including the aforementioned ones and classics like Eevee, Venusaur, Squirtle, Mr. Mime, and the most powerful one of all (ahem), Magikarp. Many of these Pokémon had already shown up in the movie's marketing before then, so it's safe to say there are a good deal more than haven't appeared in any of the TV spots or trailers to date. Still, it's a testament to Detective Pikachu's visual effects artists and their hard efforts on the film that even Letterman isn't certain about how many pocket monsters they managed to include.
Obviously, some of these Pokémon make little more than cameos in Detective Pikachu and/or are restricted to the background when they actually show up. Nevertheless, it seems Letterman and his crew found a clever way of taking a core aspect of the original video games (namely, tracking down and capturing Pokémon) and translating that into the film medium as an easter egg hunt for audiences. It's little wonder, then, that Detective Pikachu reviews are praising the movie for its world-building and otherwise being the first truly successful big screen interpretation of a video game property. As for all the Pokémon that didn't make the cut in Detective Pikachu: that's what the already-developing sequel and potential Pokémon cinematic universe are for.
- Detective Pikachu (2019) release date: May 10, 2019