5 Nostalgic Franchises Due for a Live-Action Movie

8/13/2015 Unknown 0 Comments

Sometimes it seems like we're living in reboot mania, with many new movies dripping in all forms of nostalgia. Outside of the Marvel and DC comic book movies, many properties from the 80s and 90s, such as Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Ninja Turtles have all already been brought to the big screen.  With Power Rangers, Jem and the Holograms, and Star Wars just around the corner, the trend isn't about to stop, but there are still several franchise opportunities ripe for live-action remakes.

Here are 5 more nostalgic properties that would be great to see remade in live-action.


Although there was a failed attempt to bring the franchise to theaters in 2009 with Dragonball: Evolution, comic-book and superhero movies have come a long way since then. Man of Steel, despite its polarizing nature, is actually one of the best arguments for a Dragonball movie. Not everyone loved the film as a whole, it's hard to argue that the scene with Zod's henchman, Faora, battling the US military didn't make anyone wonder "why can't they do this with Dragonball?"  The style of action was fast paced, hard hitting, and very reminiscent of the flashy hand to hand combat often seen from Dragonball, showing that the style can be very well translated to live-action.

Great on-screen action opportunities aside, Dragonball also provides a huge franchise opportunity with several decades’ worth of in-universe stories, and is a perfect genre change of pace with its blended martial arts/sci-fi/fantasy material and big budget scope.  Combine that with an already large fan base, and it doesn’t even seem like a very risky property to bet on.

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing

If watching Pacific Rim didn't remind you of Gundams, then you probably have never seen Mobile Suit Gundam, or any of the other Gundam properties. A Gundam movie would check all the boxes with plenty of large scale action, diverse characters, romance, and anything else a sprawling galactic giant mech suit war drama can cram in.  

The various Gundam series show a futuristic humanity than has moved beyond earth and is engaged in a galactic civil war.  The appearance of Gundams, massive mobile combat suits, has the opportunity to change the tide of the war.  It has a little Power Rangers, a little Pacific Rim, a little Transformers, and has been called the “Star Wars of Japan,” so what’s not to love?

The proposition of something like a live-action Gundam may have seemed daunting in the past, but Transformers and Pacific Rim have shown that giant robots can look good on screen, if only the scripts were better.  Just take those visual effects and tie them to a Gundam story, and you have a shot at nailing the best of both worlds.  The series also has a massive following in Japan (not to mention a sizable fan-base in the rest of the world), so box office revenues are almost a sure bet!


Despite several attempts, a live-action Thundercats movie has never gotten off the ground, but a quick look at the show's aesthetic and subject matter will show just how tricky of a proposition a live-action Thundercats could be. With a hardcore mythical sci-fi fantasy bent, Thundercats chronicles the adventures of a group of cat-like aliens in search of a new home as they are pursued by evil mutants.  The characters are mostly comprised of some form of humanoid animal hybrids, making makeup and costumes almost impossible to pull off effectively.

An abandoned project planned to do an entirely CGI Thundercats movie, but even that couldn’t pass muster.  However, with recent advancements in motion capture technology, it isn't hard to wonder just how great a Thundercats movie could be.  Look at the quality motion capture done by Andy Serkis for something like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and adapting the technology for an epic cat alien fantasy seems more than logical.

The Tick

Originally a comic book spoof of comic book characters, The Tick has since seen a short run in both animated and live-action TV. Although talks of bringing the character back in live-action have been rumored by Patrick Warburton, who played The Tick in the 2001 live-action show, it hasn't gone beyond that. Considering a return to the role would mean a paycheck for Warburton, it's not surprising that he would want to start such rumors.

In a day and age where terms like "superhero fatigue" are being thrown around (true or not), audiences seemed to be primed for a new take on The Tick. The landscape has changed significantly since the show was on the air, and we’ve had many big successes and huge failures for The Tick to attack, whether it’s Christian Bale’s Batman voice, Green Lantern’s CGI suit, or any of the many meta tropes behind comic book and superhero movie production, The Tick definitely has ample material to work with.

Samurai Jack

When you want something that has a little everything, Samurai Jack can be just that. A heavily stylized retro futuristic dystopian time bending mythical samurai adventure story that seems a perfect visually dynamic live-action realization.  Despite the fact that Samurai Jack taps into so many popular genres, it still presents a style that would be very fresh for the big screen.

Although green screen usage is often bashed for modern movie effects, Genndy Tartakovsky’s animation style is begging for a visually stunning production in the same vein as Sin City or 300.
Obviously, everyone had their favorite franchises; this just presents five of them.  Which of these would you like to see in live-action?  What nostalgic franchises do you want to see adapted to live-action? Sound off in the comments!

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