WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Detective Pikachu, in theaters now.
In bringing Nintendo's iconic Pokemon video game franchise to life in Detective Pikachu, screenwriters Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit packed the live-action adaptation with plenty of fan-favorite moments without distracting from the narrative. With the film in theaters, the two reflected on their own favorite scenes, as well as those that didn't make the final cut.
Warner Bros. and The Pokemon Company gave Samit and Hernandez creative freedom and extensive resources in drawing from long-running franchise. To that end, Samit told CBR he was surprised how supportive the studio was with the Mr. Mime interrogation sequence. The investigation into the disappearance of police detective Harry Goodman leads his son Tim and partner Pikachu to Mr. Mime. Tim realizes the only way to properly interrogate the uncooperative Pokemon is to mime himself, so he pantomimes a threat to set Mr. Mime on fire.
"That scene actually existed on from [director Rob Letterman's] early drafts," Samit said. "I think it's the funniest scene in the whole film, and I'm honestly surprised how far The Pokemon Company let us go with it."
Hernandez is particularly proud of the scenes revolving around Psyduck and Magikarp. He felt both Pokemon had been largely depicted as jokes within the franchise, and deserved their due. Magikarp, long dismissed a flopping harmlessly out of water, is introduced in an aquarium before it break out and evolves into a powerful Gyarados and defeats Charizard in an underground Pokemon tournament. As evolution is a central theme of the franchise, Hernandez wanted to literally showcase that, with Magikarp metamorphosing into something greater.
Psyduck had been frequently depicted as chronically confused, often sporting a nasty headache that prevents it from engaging in meaningful action. That proves true for much of Detective Pikachu, in which the characters usually try to prevent a telekinetic episode, until Pikachu realizes they need Psyduck's powerful psychic abilities to save them from a trio of vicious Greninjas. Psyduck incapacitates all three with a single powerful shockwave.
"We felt those Pokemon hadn't really been getting the respect they deserve for years," Hernandez said. "We wanted to show, what if the most unlikely character had just the right ability or power at just the right time? It could save your life. So we wanted to do them justice."
Of course, not every planned sequence made it into the final film. Samit reiterated the amount of creative freedom they were granted by The Pokemon Company, which didn't outright veto any of their suggestions. Instead, all of the cut scenes related more to pacing and storytelling. Hernandez noted there were intended sequences with Klefki and Durants. Samit was particularly fond of a cut scene depicting a Golbat, and another that showed Gardevoir using its psychic power to clean city streets
"In a city that big, someone is going to have to pick up the trash," Samit said. "All these Pokemon have a role, and we thought it would be funny to see Gardevoir moving through, cleaning the streets."
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. The film opens Friday in theaters nationwide.