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Warner Bros Adapting Japanese Sci-Fi Epic Ma.K

Hot off the triumph of the record-settingly-successful It movie, one of the producers of the Stephen King adaptation is aiming at bringing a different sort of material to the screen, switching from horror to sci-fi to make a film version of the Japanese science-fiction franchise Ma.K.

Ma.K is short for "Maschinen Krieger ZbV 3000", and refers to a mega-successful line of model kits and the universe of stories surrounding it that was created by the artist and sculptor Kow Yokoyama in the 1980s. 

As a story, its narrative is told less through a series of books or manga and more through serialized magazine stories and sourcebooks that supplement the model kits. (Think of it like a Japanese version of the Transformers series.)

The story of Ma.K unfolds thousands of years into the far future of a war-ravaged Earth, which humanity has left and now returned to in an attempt to recolonize. With most of humanity dead, those that remain have their mission set on repopulating Earth—that is, so long as they don't kill each other first. It's a pretty easy proposition when everyone and their mother is walking around with a custom giant war robot on their side.

Giant robot and mecha stories have been popular in Japan for decades, but apart from imported anime series such as Neon Genesis Evangelion and Gundam, the genre hasn't had as much of an impact in the United States as it has had at home. The most recent high-profile example of the genre finding success with western audiences is Guillermo del Toro's 2013 giant robots vs. monsters movie Pacific Rim.

Producer Roy Lee will be working alongside former Universal executive Scott Bernstein on bringing the story of Ma.K to life for Warner Bros, and regardless of what shape it takes on its journey to the big screen, it'll be interesting to see how it turns out. Ma.K was heavily influenced by western culture in its creation—not just pop culture like Star Wars, but war culture, as can be seen in the designs of many of its mobile tank units. So this will be a Japanese property influenced by western culture being adapted by American filmmakers for an international audience. Everything influences everything else in this little world of ours, it seems.

We'll have more on the future of Ma.K as it comes together. Til then, get yourself in the mood for some speculative fiction with our feature on the most underrated sci-fi movies of the last 15 years.