Detective Pikachu co-writer Benji Samit teases there are a lot of potential spinoffs in the burgeoning franchise. Decades after becoming a global phenomenon in the 1990s, the Pokémon property made its long-awaited live-action film debut this week in the form of Detective Pikachu. Starring Ryan Reynolds as the quick-talking titular sleuth, the movie proved to be an entertaining and heartfelt spin on classic noir tropes, taking advantage of the rich universe it's set in. While some critics felt the film's story was a tad simple, the Pokémon antics and performances more than made up for that.
Though it works perfectly as a self-contained feature, Warner Bros. definitely has visions of an ongoing film series springing from Detective Pikachu. Already, there's work on a direct sequel, and there's also the possibility of a full-blown shared cinematic universe. That would mean Detective Pikachu would be getting a few spinoffs, and there are unsurprisingly a few ideas already on the table.
In an interview with Screen Rant, Samit was asked about the franchise's future, and hinted that a number of concepts are currently on the table:
There are a lot of ideas. As we said, the universe is massive in size in terms of Pokémon and locations. Even within Ryme City itself, we’ve only scratched the surface of that. There’s a lot of magic in this universe, so there’s plenty of places for it to go.
Obviously, Samit couldn't reveal much else besides that. Just because something is in development or being discussed doesn't mean it'll actually be green lit, so he has to be a little coy right now. In all likelihood, the studio is currently weighing their options and seeing which ones have the strongest prospects as a film. WB was smart in that they didn't officially date any more Pokémon films prior to Detective Pikachu's debut. Now that they know there's an audience for this franchise, they can confidently move forward with new installments. And given the scope of the Pokémon world, the sky's the limit with what the filmmakers can do. The world-building was one of the most acclaimed aspects of Detective Pikachu, and it barely scratched the surface. While there aren't many obvious dangling threads, there was enough there to serve as a launching pad for more films.
As tempting as it is to really expand the Pokémon film universe, it'd be wise if WB proceeded with caution and took baby steps. The worst thing would be to announce too many movies at once and oversaturate the market, quickly killing interest. It wasn't that long ago The LEGO Movie (also a WB release) was an acclaimed creative hit that kicked off its own shared universe, only for the studio to rush out spinoffs and essentially kill the brand. Even something as massive as Star Wars isn't fully immune to franchise fatigue, so if Detective Pikachu is to be a reliable cash cow for WB, slow and steady might win the race.
- Detective Pikachu (2019) release date: May 10, 2019