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‘Detective Pikachu’ Could Be the Beginning of a New Pokémon Franchise

What the movie's ending tells us about the next chapter.

Detective Pikachu comes to theaters this week, hoping to get an entirely new generation of fans to hop onboard the Pokémon bandwagon. And while you probably don’t know the difference between a pokéball and a poke bowl, your kid is still going to make you take this movie. But beyond wondering if the Pokémon will ever band together to rise up against their violent oppressors, you may find yourself asking a key question: Are more Detective Pikachu movies coming?

It’s a fair question. After all, Pokémon is a cultural phenomenon that has been around for over two decades and has already released dozens of movies over the years. Does Detective Pikachu follow this trend or buck the trend by telling a story that serves as a standalone experience? We have the answer.

WARNING: This post contains massive spoilers about the ending of Detective Pikachu so if you haven’t seen it, stop reading.

At the end of the movie, Detective Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) and Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) are able to solve the mysterious disappearance of Tim’s dad Harry (who was also Pikachu’s trainer) by discovering that Harry’s consciousness was transferred into his Pikachu by Mewtwo, who also wiped his memory. Mewtwo then returns Harry (who is, of course, played by Reynolds) to earth, where he and Tim have a heartwarming reconciliation and Tim even decides to live with his dad despite their previous estrangement and even hints at joining the family business and becoming a detective.

In terms of B-plot, the two also manage to uncover a massive conspiracy concocted by Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy) to use Mewtwo’s powers to transfer the consciousness of humans into their Pokémon. They undo this bizarre process just in time to allow all the humans and Pokémon to co-exist in harmony, except Howard, who gets sent straight to jail. It sounds absurd out of context and is a little absurd in context but in a fun way that mostly works (we’ll get to the part that doesn’t work in a bit).

So while this doesn’t specifically set-up Tim and the titular detective for a new mystery to solve, it also doesn’t make any effort to give the characters a definitive conclusion. Like most blockbusters, Detective Pikachu has its cake and eats it too, leaving the door open for more adventures in the live-action Pokémon cinematic universe. It will probably be entirely dependent on how the movie performs at the box office, as it is hoping to dethrone Avengers: Endgame at the box office this weekend.

Semi-related rant: This ending is nice while watching but when you think about it, truly makes no goddam sense. Seriously, how the hell did Tim not realize that the Pikachu that belonged to his dad that only he understands sounds exactly like his missing dad? It’s not like Ryan Reynolds doesn’t have a very distinct voice. At the very least, it really makes you question Tim’s detective skills. Okay, sorry, felt good to get that off my chest. Rant over.

Detective Pikachu is out in wide release now. Or you could watch the “leaked” version here.