SPOILERS for Pokémon Detective Pikachu ahead.
Legendary's Pokémon Detective Pikachu is now out in theaters, and here's what we know about the Pokémon franchise's future. Pokémon is one of the biggest brands around the world thanks to the line of card games, video games, anime, movies, and more. However, despite 20+ years of popularity, Detective Pikachu is the first live-action Pokémon movie ever made.
The film is loosely adapted from the 2016 video game of the same name, seeing an amnesia-stricken Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) work with Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) to find the boy's missing father. This adventure mostly takes place in the utopian Ryme City, where Pokémon and humans live together in harmony and no training or battles are allowed. Pikachu and Tim learn of a new gas designed to make Pokémon overly aggressive and that media tycoon and Pokémon enthusiast Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy) is behind it all. His plan is to use the drug to evolve humanity to the next level, by merging their consciousness with Pokémon, which is possible through the state they are in when drugged and the powers of Mewtwo.
Surprisingly, this story actually wraps up rather neatly. Detective Pikachu doesn't overtly plant the seeds for the story of a sequel or additional installments in the franchise, even though those appear to be on the way. The film may just now be hitting theaters, but it is already showing box office promise around the world and will likely be the start of a bigger future on the big screen for Pokémon. With that in mind, here's everything we know about what could come next.
Detective Pikachu 2 Is In The Works (Somehow)
An early promising sign for Detective Pikachu's quality and Legendary's belief in the property was when news came earlier this year that a sequel was already in development. It was revealed that 22 Jump Street scribe Oren Uziel would be writing the script for Detective Pikachu 2. He was not involved at all with this first film, which had a story by Nicole Perlman, Benji Samit, and Dan Hernandez, while the screenplay is credited to Samit, Hernandez, Derek Connolly, and director Rob Letterman. His addition should be welcomed, as the story is one of aspects to this first film that has been criticized. At this point, it is not known if Letterman will direct the sequel, but both Justice Smith and Ryan Reynolds would likely return to star.
When these Detective Pikachu 2 reports first came out, there were no story details revealed at the time since the first film was not even in theaters yet. No official details have been revealed still, but the ending of Detective Pikachu does indicate that a major change is in store. The finale reveals that Tim's father wasn't killed or kidnapped, but rather that Mewtwo put Harry Goodman's conscious inside of Pikachu's body. This appears to be why Tim and Pikachu have the unique ability to understand each other. Mewtwo undoes this in the end, reuniting Tim with his father - also played by Ryan Reynolds - and reverting Pikachu back to a state of no talking. Barring some major backpedaling, this is the dynamic that would likely exist in the sequel.
There is no release date set for the Detective Pikachu sequel at this point though, so it is unclear when audiences will get to see what comes next for these characters.
Other Pokémon Movies Are Being Developed
In addition to a sequel to Detective Pikachu, there are other unknown Pokémon movies in development that could be used to launch a Pokémon cinematic universe. While none have been made official, there's plenty of possibilities that exist based on the events and characters in Detective Pikachu. Mewtwo receives a lot of screen time in this movie and could be primed for a spinoff solo film of his own. Depending on the reception to the film, a spinoff film for Kathryn Newton's Lucy Stevens and Psyduck could make for a fun pairing to explore more and lean into their investigative journalist tendencies. The movie even mentions how Pokémon have been part of the world since its beginning, so a movie exploring the mythology of the world in great detail could come too.
Of course, there are also plenty of films that could be made by taking inspiration from other Pokémon game titles, just like what happened with Detective Pikachu. In the games, the world of Pokémon has been expanded to include completely different regions and cities as they explore the various types of Pokémon that exist. Detective Pikachu only really shows Ryme City and focuses on a few of the creatures, so future Pokémon films could be used to literally show more of this world and how Pokémon/human relations are different around the globe.
Detective Pikachu Sets Up Kanto - Meaning Team Rocket & Red Exist
One of those aforementioned regions could be Kanto, which is mentioned in Detective Pikachu. This comes during the explanation of Mewtwo's origin, with it stated he managed to escape Kanto nearly 20 years ago Kanto is the very first region that was ever introduced to Pokémon from the Red and Blue games, so its namedrop has some serious - and nostalgic - implications for the movie universe.
For starters, the confirmation that the Kanto region is part of this world likely means that Team Rocket is too. A villainous group in the games that largely operates out of Kanto, Team Rocket want to capture Pokémon as part of their plan to eventually rule the world. When they do get their hands on Pokémon, they have been known to conduct experiments on them (not unlike the ones Clifford was funding), sell the Pokémon for profit, and even kill them when necessary. If they are out there, then they could factor into the franchise's larger future.
Additionally, the Kanto region is also the home to Red, a young, aspiring trainer from Pallet Town who is, of course, the first playable character in the franchise. He's been a recurring presence ever since, with his most recent appearance in the games coming in 2016's Sun and Moon. There may not be a specific name drop of him in the movie, although that isn't too surprising as the film avoids referencing other main characters like Ash Ketchum. Regardless, the existence of Kanto likely means that Red is around and could be introduced down the road, as long as Pokémon Detective Pikachu does launch the franchise many are expecting and hoping for.