Andy Muschietti Will Direct The Long-Awaited ‘Robotech’ Movie

Hollywood has been pumping out expensive, live-action versions of popular 1980s cartoons for years now, but for whatever reason, the 1980s cartoon with the most complicated characters, meaningful themes, interesting storylines and coolest action sequences hasn’t made it to the screen yet. But that could finally be about to change, because Sony Pictures has just landed an exciting new director to turn Robotech into a big budget movie franchise.

Andy Muschietti, the director of the promising upcoming adaptation of Stephen Kings It, has been tapped to bring Robotech to life (via Hollywood Reporter). The sci-fi saga will be a major change of pace for Muschietti, whose first two feature films – Mama and It – were both in the horror genre, but horror filmmakers have made a successful transition to other genres many, many times before.

Case in point: James Wan, the director of SawInsidious and The Conjuring, who also directed the blockbuster sequel Furious 7 and was originally tapped to direct Robotech before his responsibilities to Warner Bros.’ Aquaman movie got in the way. This left room for another filmmaker best know for their horror credentials to step into the seat of their veritech and take flight.

Robotech is a sprawling anime series in which an alien warship crashes on Earth, and the countries of the world unite to reverse-engineer the technology and build a defense against an inevitable threat: giant alien invaders. To that end they build humongous fighter jets which can also transform into robots, and combat the alien Zentradi hand-to-hand. Against this backdrop, Robotech told a coming of age story, a love triangle, a saga of political turmoil, and illustrated the way that cultural cross-pollinization can expand our horizons and eventually usher in an era of peace.

The original cartoon was comprised of three, unrelated but similarly designed sci-fi action series, which were retroactively adapted to play out as a three-act science fiction story that took place over many years, through the perspectives of different conflicts and different ensemble casts. Together, these three series – Super Dimension Fortress MacrossSuper Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA – were renamed Robotech for American audiences, who were very receptive to the show’s mature storytelling, and storylines which relied upon real consequences (including the death of major characters).

A live-action version of Robotech has been in the works for ten years now, with a variety of different studios and writers working on the project. Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire (who was producing the adaptation) have both been attached to the project, as have screenwriters like Lawrence Kasdan (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Spider-Man 2).

Andy Muschietti’s production of Robotech seems to be starting over from scratch, with no stars currently attached, and no one currently writing the screenplay. But if It is the monster success that everyone expects it to be, we can expect Sony Pictures to want to fast-track Muschietti’s follow-up, and build a potentially exciting, lucrative new tentpole franchise for their studio.

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William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.