In an interview on the Comingsoon Website, Imagi International producer Tom Gray announced that director Kevin Munroe, who is currently putting the finishing touches on the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film, will turn his attention to a new animated feature based on the Gatchaman anime (known as Battle of the Planets in the U.S.).  The shift from talking animals to more substantive sci-fi fare comes at the behest of Imagi International president Francis Kao, who, according to Gray, wants to do films resembling the animation he grew up watching in Hong Kong.


Gray told Comingsoon that Imagi International has acquired the rights to Gatchaman and is evidently intending on producing a direct-to-DVD feature aimed at the older audience that remembers Gatchaman/Battle of the Planets from the 1980s.  According to Gray, 'This is one we're going PG-13 definitely, even maybe pushing R.'


A new Gatchaman series could be good news for retailers since there is already a fair amount of Gatchaman/Battle of the Planets merchandise available.  ADV has issued DVD editions of the Gatchaman anime series (with covers by Alex Ross), while Rhino has released several Battle of the Planets DVD box sets (BotP softened the violence of the Gatchaman anime and added a couple of cute Star Wars-esque robot characters, 7-Zark7, his 'dog' 1-Rover-1, and the sexy mainframe computer Susan). 


Top Cow published a new Battle of the Planets comic book series that has been collected into three trade paperbacks as well as an Alex Ross: Battle of the Planets Artbook, while Diamond Select issued a number of Battle of the Planets Action Figures.