J.J. Abrams has hired Fringe co-executive producers Monica Breen and Alison Schapker to handle rewrites for an upcoming film about Japanese robots with swords, because that’s what the magnetic “genre tropes” kit on Paramount’s refrigerator came up with this time. Of course, we’re being extra judgmental simply because the fact that it involves Japan and “swashbuckling robots with swords” is all we know about it: The project, tentatively titled Zanbato, is classified as “top-secret,” most likely to prevent a dozen other “samurai robot” pitches being fast-tracked into production. And while this is yet another mash-up of trends that—as with Zombies Vs. Robots, and the various other big-ass battlin’ robot projects headed our way—we’re hoping like hell doesn’t presage a tidal wave of movies starring robot ninjas, robot pirates, robot cowboys, robot vampires, etc., we suppose the involvement of Abrams and two of TV’s sharpest genre writers is reason enough to give it the benefit of the doubt. Our cold, calculating robo-doubt.

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