Mobile Suit Gundam has been kicking around the cosmos of entertainment for decades, starting life as an anime series, spinning off into light novels, comic books, and video games over the years. The final frontier for the franchise has always been cinema, and at long last it’s about to hit the big time in a full live-action movie experience for Netflix.
This effort is being handled by Kong: Skull Island and Metal Gear Solid director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, who’ll direct the film based off of a script by Y: The Last Man writer Brian K. Vaughn. Godzilla studio Legendary will produce the film, so at least there’s a pedigree there for gigantic action. As for the story? Vaughn hasn’t mentioned which Gundam saga he’s pulling from, of which there’s no shortage of material.
If Vaughn goes straight to the original source, he’ll be pulling from the original 1979 anime series that was produced by Sunrise. Set in a future where humanity had begun setting up gigantic colonies in space, Gundam’s first era began with a separatist movement amongst the colonies that sought independence from Earth and eventually led to a war in which advanced military mobile suit frames were piloted by both sides.
It’s a story that’s primarily focused on two characters: Amuro Rey, a resident of the Side 7 colony who stumbles his way into the bleeding edge Gundam, while his rival Char Aznable becomes known as the legendary Red Comet within the Neo Zeon faction that opposes Earth. What makes Gundam different from other giant robot anime of its era, was that despite the fantastical setting it was very much grounded in reality.
The mecha suits weren’t magical planet-destroying plot devices, ammo and fuel reserves were actually taken into account during the heat of battle, and most importantly, the series realised that hey maybe war can take a devastating mental and physical toll on the soldiers who fight. Since the original series landed, there have been a ton of other Gundam shows broadcast.
The first series continued with Zeta and ZZ Gundam, spun off into wild directions with the likes of Gundam X and Turn a Gundam, and in the more modern era of television its legacy has continued with new series such as Gundam Unicorn and Iron-Blooded Orphans. There’s also a ton of merchandise out there, which I have thrown literal money at.
The Gundam plastic model kits aka gunpla have been a huge success story for Sunrise because nothing is cooler than sitting down for an afternoon and building a scale model of one of those fantastic mobile suits.
Last Updated: April 13, 2021