Pokémon: Detective Pikachu features a sleuth Pikachu that can speak English, but who can only be understood by a single human. The voice of Detective Pikachu is being performed by Ryan Reynolds, but the fans had originally wanted a different actor to take on the role - Danny DeVito.
Many fans had originally wanted Danny DeVito to voice Detective Pikachu in the Nintendo 3DS game of the same name and they started a petition that received over fifty-thousand signatures, but that support moved over to the Detective Pikachu movie when that was announced.
It turns out that Danny DeVito was closer to landing the role of Detective Pikachu than anyone had ever realized, as his voice was used during the early testing stages of the movie when the producers were deciding who to cast for the film.
VFX Producer Greg Baxter spoke to Game Informer about the behind-the-scenes reaction to the Danny DeVito and how voice clips from some of his previous roles were used alongside those of other actors when testing out the early CGI model for Detective Pikachu and how those actors were in consideration for the role.
“It was really very funny, so I couldn’t speak to all the reasons why it wasn’t Danny DeVito cast,” Baxter says. “I love Danny and some point maybe after the movie comes about, we can share those early tests. It’s absolutely hilarious.”
Producer Cale Boyter also dropped a hint that there may be a Danny DeVito cameo in the movie after all, though he was vague on the specifics.
“I can’t give away too much, but in terms of where the story goes and how it evolves, we had to sort of look at everything, including what fans weren’t seeing yet to make the decision. But that spirit of Danny DeVito, I promise you, is still inside of Pikachu.”
Danny DeVito had previously declined to audition for the role of Detective Pikachu in the Nintendo 3DS game, but the movie adaptation is a much bigger affair. Ryan Reynolds might make for an excellent Pokémon, but we can only wonder what the movie would have sounded like with Danny DeVito voicing the most famous Pokémon of all time. It's possible that he will appear in the movie in some capacity and Cale Boyter's words have given us hope that we may hear Danny DeVito voicing Pikachu or another Pokémon, even if it's only for a moment.