With recent nostalgia due to syndicated reruns of the original 1966 series on US television, Tsuburaya Productions started to find backing for a big budgeted screen version of their trademark superhero, Ultraman. The film was to be primarily for the US and book writer Don Glut penned a screenplay for the project titled "ULTRAMAN: HERO FROM THE STARS".
In the story, we discover that the dinosaurs never died out -- they have been evolving into intelligent creatures, waiting deep within the Earth for the right time to strike against humanity and reclaim the planet that was once theirs. When they strike the major cities of the world, a new Ultraman comes to Earth and inhabits the body of an Earth Defense soldier and together they fight against the advance dinosaurs. Eventually, things get so tough, that the other Ultra Beings appear to lend a hand. But it is during the film's climax that Ultra Seven, the title character of the acclaimed 1967 series, dies in the battle. Eventually, peace is restored to the world.
Although one could assume that the nostalgia wasn't as big in the sates' as Tsuburaya Productions originally imagined and no American investors were secured, the real reason behind the film's failure to lift off the ground may lay with the screenplay itself. According to August Ragone of Henshin Online, who read the script back in fall of 1998; "I read Don Glut's screenplay, and with all due respect to Mr. Glut, it was terrible. Mind you, there were some good ideas, but the character of Ultraman was completely wrong and the human host was awful -- the screenplay had him doing some completely inane things, and there were plenty of SUPERMAN: THE MOTION PICTURE rip-offs, too (including a Lois Lane-type)". At one point of the story, the new Ultraman even tries to impress his girlfriend with his gigantic super-powers. (editor's note: I've only read a little of the screenplay, but I actually enjoyed it. Was it in line with the Ultraman mythos? No, not really, but as a film that intended to westernize the character, I thought it did fairly well. - Madison Carter
On a related side note, Intelligent, wrathful dinosaurs wanting the Earth back from bellow can also be seen in the 1977 Tsuburaya series "AIZENBORG", which is better known here in the US as "ATTACK OF THE SUPER MONSTERS"
Entry Written by Rafael C. Gonzalez
Special Thanks to Keith Akein and Augusr Ragone of Henshin Online