Detective Pikachu star Justice Smith has revealed in a new interview that he is starting to doubt the prospect of a sequel ever happening to the 2019 hit. Starring Smith and Ryan Reynolds as the titular Pokémon, the story sees former trainer Tim Goodman and Detective Pikachu team to search for the former’s missing father, with Tim being the only one able to understand the electric-powered investigator. The film hit theaters in May 2019 to generally positive reviews from critics and audiences and was a box office hit, grossing over $433 million against its $150 million production budget.
First announced in 2016, Legendary Pictures, co-writer/director Rob Letterman and The Pokémon Company took to developing the story as an adaptation of that year’s spin-off title to move away from Ash Ketchum, frequently at the center of various animated series. After putting together an ensemble cast with Smith, Reynolds, Kathryn Newton, Ken Watanabe, Bill Nighy, and Chris Geere, filming got underway in 2018 and was slated for a May 2019 release. That January, four months ahead of its theatrical debut, Legendary announced a sequel was in development with 22 Jump Street co-writer and Mortal Kombat co-story author Oren Uziel set to write.
In a new interview with Inverse to discuss his work on the HBO Max coming-of-age dramedy series Generation, Smith confirmed that he is doubtful about the sequel’s possibility of getting off the ground. While expressing hope and his adoration for the property, the extended period of development undoubtedly weighs on the 25-year-old’s outlook for the franchise’s future.
“I would love to participate in Detective Pikachu 2. I don’t know if it’s going to happen. I think we have to just kind of bury our hopes. I don’t think it’s going to happen. I really hope so though. Honestly, I’m such a huge fan, who knows, who knows? I hope so.”
While the initial vote of confidence from Legendary to begin development on a sequel was very exciting for fans to hear, Smith’s words are certainly disheartening. Blockbuster sequels certainly take time to get going, and though the first film was a hit, there were still some criticisms from fans and reviewers regarding its screenplay, so two years’ worth of time ensuring its script and story are just right is understandable. But with Uziel attaching himself to several new projects in addition to acting as the sole writer for the sequel, it’s certainly fair for concerns to start arising for the state of the Detective Pikachu IP, especially since Smith even stated a year ago he still hadn’t heard anything about progress on the sequel.
Smith certainly isn’t the only one still holding out hope for a sequel, though, as co-star Newton recently revealed to ComingSoon.net, she also hadn’t heard anything but is eager for more adventures with Lucy and Psyduck. Detective Pikachu continually shows up on lists of the best video game movie adaptations. With Sonic the Hedgehog proving to be a similar smash hit and a sequel in the works for it, fans are clearly hungry for more quality video game adaptations. For now, fans will have to try and keep their hopes high that Reynolds and co. can find time in their busy schedules to return to Ryme City for more breathtaking mysteries with Detective Pikachu 2.