While the titular crime-solving Pokemon ultimately ended up voiced by Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds, Palmer's behind-the-scenes look revealed the concept artist campaigned for a Detective Pikachu design modeled on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia star Danny DeVito, complete with older face, portlier appearance and a prominent double chin.
Additionally, Palmer unveiled early passes at capturing Detective Pikachu's range of emotions, ranging from angry to lethargic, admitting, "I was very into the idea of Pikachu having bald cheeks to conduct the lightning but admittedly I don't think it would have worked nearly as well as the final design."
This was a very early pass at showing different emotions Pikachu would have. I was very into the idea of Pikachu having bald cheeks to conduct the lightning but admittedly I don't think it would have worked nearly as well as the final design. pic.twitter.com/TnPpDBxUuX— RJ Palmer@Fanime 1407 (@arvalis) May 23, 2019
While the Detective Pikachu production team previously admitted to conducting early animation tests of Pikachu with sound clips of DeVito standing in for the character's voice, this is the first glimpse fans have seen of the portlier, surlier DeVito Pikachu. This revelation comes after a long-running internet campaign in which fans fought for DeVito to lend his gravelly pipes to the iconic Pokemon, joining a similar fan campaign conducted for the actor to replace Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.
Despite the lack of this cantankerous DeVitochu, Detective Pikachu opened to impressive numbers and positive reviews.
Directed by Rob Letterman from a script written by Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit, Detective Pikachu stars Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Ken Watanabe and the voice of Ryan Reynolds.