Though Hollywood may have hoped that the cosmos would shine bright in the first teaser for their live-action interpretation of Masami Kurumada’s Saint Seya manga, fans worldwide are concerned that the film may turn out to be this generation’s Dragonball Evolution
RELATED: Netflix Announces First Casting Details For Live-Action One Piece Series
Produced in collaboration between Toei Animation and Sony’s Stage 6 Films (Sniper: Reloaded, Resident Evil: Vendetta), the West’s upcoming take on one of the most popular shonen mangas of all time, as explained by the film’s action choreographer Andy Cheng, will be a U.S. centric retelling of Kurumada’s original story.
“My job is to turn animation into live-action,” Cheng told Anime News Network in July. “The content is over 35 years old, and somethings need to be updated. We had to find a bridge.”
“The original content is from Japan and it’s a very Asian theme,” he continued. “Right now, [the live-action film is] called Knights of Zodiac and it’s more on the U.S. side. They know I’m from the East side and can do the West side, so we’re blending the two.”
“My job is to make sure the action doesn’t look too Asian or too Western,” Cheng noted. “It won’t look like Crouching Tiger. There will be punching but won’t be an MMA style. Every character has their own signature move and symbol, but it’s based on real martial arts.”
In support to Cheng’s claim that the live-action debut of Seiya and his fellow Bronze Saints was being made with the West in mind, Toei Animation producer Ikezawa Yoshi told Variety that same month that the idea to develop the live-action film as the first part of a franchise was inspired by the successes of Marvel and DC’s shared cinematic endeavors.
“The original manga runs to 28 volumes of comic books,” detailed the producer. “The original anime series had 140 episodes, plus 30 or 40 sequels that belong to the original comic. So that’s nearly 200 episodes.”
“You can make many films with that,” Yoshi added. “And, after the success of Marvel, studios are looking for properties that can make sequels, like Harry Potter or Hunger Games. We are looking at six movies as a package.”
Released on December 1st to both the film’s official website and its YouTube channel, the premiere teaser trailer for the first of the franchise’s six possible outings focuses primarily on introducing actor Mackenyu Arata – himself no stranger to live-action manga roles, having played Yukishiro Enishi in 2021’s Ruorouni Kenshin: The Final and cast as Roronoa Zoro in Netflix’s upcoming One Piece series – as the series’ lead protagonist, the eponymous Pegasus Seiya.
RELATED: Netflix Taps Stranger Things Creators To Helm Live-Action Death Note Series
Alongside his reveal, fans were treated to their first shots of the golden Capricorn Shura and Sagittarius Aiolos clashing in the sky, the former utilizing Excalibur against his winged opponent:
A fully Pegasus cloth-equipped Seiya standing against a projection of the very cosmos he draws power from:
And, in apparent confirmation that the film will draw inspiration from the recent CGI reboot of the series (which began life under Netflix, but is now being handled by Crunchyroll), the villainous Phoenix Nero (Diego Tinoco – Cesar Diaz in On My Block):
Shown among these brief introductions is a glimpse at an armored-battle between Seiya and a group of Dark Knights outside of what appears to be a museum.
However, while these shots were supposedly meant to hype up fans, the dark tones of the Bronze Pegasus Cloth has instead left them hoping that the suit will have a date with the visual effects in post-production (either that or it is a Dark Saint, but since the live-action film is following Netflix’s Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac, it’s more likely the former option than the latter).
From there, the trailer transitions to the antagonistic Goddess of War herself Athena (Madison Iseman – Lennon/Alison in I Know What You Did Last Summer (TV Series)), who is seemingly using her powers to disintegrate a group of warriors – possibly even former Saints.
(Notably, based on the aforementioned influence of Netflix’s CGI reboot seen in the trailer, it’s seems this shit is indication that the film will be using that series’ version of the False Prophecy.)
Next up is Marin, seen dawning her signature mask during what appears to be the combat training she conducts with Seiya at the beginning of the original manga:
Followed by Guraad, who, thanks to undergoing the same gender-swap as the version in the Netflix series, is played by actress Famke Jensen (Jean Grey/Phoenix in Fox’s original X-Men trilogy).
RELATED: Netflix’s Saint Seiya Producer Eugene Son Explains Why He Gender-Swapped Popular Character Andromeda Shun!
As the trailer draws to a close, Seiya is seen in a particular set of armor which places the scene directly ahead of the final test of his training – the very moment he awakens his cosmos during a life-or-death-battle against Cassios.
Alongside the trailer, the film’s official website also released its first teaser visual.
Therein, a lone Seiya, clad in his signature red shirt and jeans, can be seen walking amongst through the ruins of Athena’s Sanctuary towards a statute of the goddess, its crumbling head bathed in light.
Helmed by The Witcher video game series cinematic director Tomasz Bagiński, The Knights of Athena will try their hardest to shine their cosmos bright when Knights of the Zodiac hits theaters worldwide in 2023.
NEXT: ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Voice Actor Yuki Matsuzaki Says Live-Action Manga Adaptations Need To Update Source Materials In Order To Align With “Modern Values”