To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Mobile Suit Gundam series, Sunrise announced that it will be adapting series creator Yoshiyuki Tomino’s 1989 – 1990 novel series, Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway’s Flash, into a trilogy of animated, theatrical films. The first film is scheduled to release “next winter” according to Sunrise, indicating a late 2019/early 2020 Japanese release.

As cited by Anime News Network, Tomino took the time to make some official comments about the project.

“30 years after I wrote those novels, they are finally being adapted into film. As the author, I am so happy.”

Tomino also noted he recently reread his work and that themes are still relevant in today’s world:

“What decisions are necessary for modern society? The real world hasn’t progressed, and may even have regressed. Because of all the Gundam fans who gave this story the chance to reemerge, its themes can pierce through society today.”

However, he mentioned the new audiences who will see his work adapted into an anime could reform the world.

“The production staff are getting younger, and the viewers who take in their work are even younger than that. I believe that this young generation will one day pave the way for a reformation of humanity – for Newtypes.”

The Films Follow the Son of a Classic Gundam Character

The original novel series focused on Hathaway Noa, son of the legendary Earth Federation commander Bright Noa. Hathaway made his original debut in the 1988 anime film Mobile Suit Gundam: Char’s Counterattack. In Hathaway’s Flash, set in UC0105, Hathaway has grown disgusted with the corruption and abuse of power the Earth Federation has displayed. Joining the terrorist organization Mufti, he adopts their outfit’s name for himself and becomes their leader. After acquiring the prototype RX-105 Ξ “Xi” Gundam, Hathaway becomes its pilot and uses the advanced mobile suit to deliver vengeance to senior Federation officials on behalf of the citizens of space.

Sunrise premiered a brief teaser trailer, with English subtitles, that you can view below.

Production Features both Gundam and Industry Veterans

The trilogy will be directed by Shukou Murase, known for his work on [easyazon_link identifier=”B01KWK577S” locale=”US” tag=”boundingintocomics-20″]Ergo Proxy[/easyazon_link], [easyazon_link identifier=”B074WTYP3V” locale=”US” tag=”boundingintocomics-20″]Genocidal Organ[/easyazon_link], [easyazon_link identifier=”B07FQ321FY” locale=”US” tag=”boundingintocomics-20″]Witch Hunter Robin[/easyazon_link] and other anime works. The script is penned by Yasuyuki Mutou, who also wrote the anime adaptions for [easyazon_link identifier=”B00XX8WMSO” locale=”US” tag=”boundingintocomics-20″]Basilisk[/easyazon_link] and [easyazon_link identifier=”B00JKT4E5E” locale=”US” tag=”boundingintocomics-20″]Deadman Wonderland[/easyazon_link], as well as the TV remix of [easyazon_link identifier=”B0788WSV6M” locale=”US” tag=”boundingintocomics-20″]Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn[/easyazon_link], a 2010 Gundam series that premiered in America on Netflix last year. Hiroyuki Sawano, who also worked on Gundam UC, as well as Attack on Titan, is composing the score.

Celebrating 40 Years of a Classic

Hathaway’s Flash is just one of five projects releasing in the near future to celebrate four decades of Mobile Suit Gundam. The first, a compilation film of the Mobile Suit Gundam: Reconquista in G TV series, is due out this year. The other projects are a TV showing of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, and new projects in the Mobile Suit Gundam SD and Mobile Suit Gundam Build series. The Hathaway’s Flash film trilogy is also the second installment in a series of projects under the “UC NexT 0100 Project” banner. The project aims to explore later periods of the Universal Century timeline. The first project, Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative, took place in UC0097, and serves as a sequel to Unicorn, which took place in UC0096.

A Cultural Icon in Japan and Around the World

The original Mobile Suit Gundam premiered on Japanese TV on April 7, 1979. Though the series was originally cancelled for low ratings in early 1980, the introduction of Gundam toy model kits, called “Gunpla,” as well as a theatrical film version, gave Gundam a new lease on life. It was the first in what would come to be known as the “real robot” sub-genre of mecha anime. Set in the 79th year of the Universal Century, the series told the story of the One-Year War between the Earth Federation and the Duchy of Zeon.

The series distinguished itself by portraying robots as tools for war that required regular maintenance, ran out of ammunition, and could break down at critical moments. This was in complete contrast to the popular “super robot” genre, where mecha had unlimited energy, never broke down, and didn’t require so much as a new quart of oil. It also showed the cast of characters, including the original Gundam pilot Amuro Ray and his superior officer, Bright Noa, commander of the battleship White Base, as ordinary people who struggled with the horrors of war, suffered emotional breakdowns, and felt a deep sense of guilt when they were forced to kill their enemies.

Since then, Gundam has had dozens of sequels and spin-offs in the form of TV series, OVAs, novels, manga, video games, and more. The series is sometimes described as the Star Wars of Japan, both for its popularity and its impact on other works. Certain characters, particularly original series antagonist Char Aznable, are as familiar to the Japanese as Darth Vader is to Americans. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, a spin-off series set in an alternate timeline, premiered on Cartoon Network’s Toonami back in 2000. Along with Dragon Ball ZPokemon, and Sailor MoonGundam Wing helped to popularize anime in the Western conscious, and was the first Gundam series that many Americans discovered.

Excited for the Hathaway’s Flash trilogy? What are your favorite series from the Gundam franchise?