Next month will mark the auspicious 40th anniversary of one of the most important and influential anime series of all time: Mobile Suit Gundam. The series, which tells the tale of humanity’s civil war after our expansion off Earth and into space, is most famous for its giant robot-on-giant-robot action sequences, which have been associated with Japanese anime ever since. And now, the Gundam live action adaptation from Legendary has a scribe to match: Bestselling comic book author Brian K. Vaughn.
Vaughn is an obvious choice for this sort of material, having created series such as Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina in addition to writing such tentpole series as Batman over the years. He’s also serving as an executive producer on the Gundam movie, which first debuted in anime form back in 1979. Here’s how Legendary describes the setting:
The original Gundam series is set in the Universal Century, an era in which humanity’s growing population has led people to emigrate to space colonies. Eventually, the people living in the colonies seek their autonomy, and launch a war of independence against the people living on Earth. Through the tragedies and discord arising from this human conflict, not only the maturation of the main character, but also the intentions of enemies and the surrounding people are sensitively depicted.
This depiction of giant robots in a serious, sober war epic was unique in Japan at the time, and helped fuel Gundam’s cult for years to come, along with a tidal wave of merchandising.
Vaughn, meanwhile, is riding on the back of a three-year overall deal with Legendary, which will see the studio adapting some of the writer’s other best-known works. He’s executive producing an FX television adaptation of his most famous comic, Y: The Last Man, an apocalyptic tale about the last male human left on Earth, and is also a consultant on Hulu’s Runaways. Let’s hope that leaves him ample time to do justice for Gundam, which has seen something of a resurgence in the U.S. since its memorable depiction in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One.