Legendary Pictures has found their lead for the upcoming Detective Pikachu, casting The Get Down star Justice Smith. No details about his character have been given, but this will certainly be the first of many casting additions for this project, which will be the first ever live-action Pokemon movie. Legendary hasn't set a release date at this time, but now that the first cast member has come aboard, we may hear about more casting soon.
We reported last month that Legendary is seeking an A-list action star to lend his voice to Detective Pikachu, with the contenders for the role including Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg. While that report was never confirmed from the studio, it seems that Justice Smith is not playing the title character, although there are still no details about who he's playing. The studio hasn't confirmed an actor to voice the title character yet, but it certainly seems that casting is coming together, so we may hear who the studio has landed for this role sooner rather than later.
We also reported in October that Detective Pikachu starts production in January 2018 in London, with the working title during the production said to be "Gumshoe." Pokemon was first introduced to the world, starting in Japan in 1996. In the years since, it has captivated fans of all ages around the world and has exploded in popularity. With more than 279 million video games sold worldwide, 21.5 billion trading cards shipped to 74 countries, and an animated series spanning 19 seasons, not to mention all of the animated movies, Pokemon is one of the most successful entertainment brands in the world.
The movie will be based on the Detective Pikachu video game of the same name. The game centers on a boy named Tim Goodman, who encounters an intelligent Pikachu which he can actually understand, who claims to be a great detective. The duo begin to chase two Aipon, who have been harassing citizens and stealing jewelry, and continue to tackle other cases as well. This movie came together after the massive popularity of the Pokemon Go game, although this project will have no direct ties to the Pokemon Go game.
Director Rob Letterman (Goosebumps) signed on to direct back in late November 2016, working from a script written by Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel) and Alex Hirsch (Gravity Falls). With production set to begin in January 2018, it's possible that the production could be ready for release in early 2019, or, perhaps, late 2018, depending on how long production runs for. Variety broke the news of Justice Smith's casting, with the actor coming off a role in the highly-anticipated Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.