Beloved Japanese superhero franchise Ultraman is headed for a reboot that will take the character's brand beyond its home country. The character's home company Tsuburaya Productions announced Tuesday that it has teamed up with the U.S.-based Starlight Runner Entertainment to reframe and expand the Ultraman brand outside of Japan, including a potential live-action streaming series. Starlight Runner's Jeff Gomez will serve as "Transmedia Producer" for the project, leading a team that will develop a "Story World Mythology" for the Ultraman franchise.
Starlight Runner — whose past projects include digital tie-in media for franchises like Men In Black, Halo, Avatar, and more — will also be teaming up with Los Angeles-based The Licensing Group to build Ultraman's profile in the U.S. and around the world, with potential projects spawning everywhere from cable to streaming to video on demand platforms, as well as a merchandising push.
"Ultraman is one of my greatest childhood heroes. We’re honored to be embarking on this mission to bring this family of characters back to the world stage," Gomez said in a statement.
Ultraman first appeared as the title character — known for growing to a gigantic size and saving the Earth from aliens and monsters — in a 1966 live-action television series, and has gone on to be one of the most successful and influential pieces of tokusatsu media ever created.
The Ultra series has spawned dozens of seasons of television and feature films in Japan, and continues to be a successful brand in its own home country, pulling in more than $50 million in revenue every year in merchandise alone. In 2019, a new 3D anime series based on the Ultraman manga is set to hit Netflix, boosting the character's international profile ahead of this new push by Starlight Runner. Ultraman has never lost his popularity in Japan, but the franchise seems poised to have a big moment worldwide.
No definitive projects or release dates have been announced for this new reboot initiative. We'll update you as soon as we learn more.