Ghost in the Shell is now beginning to make the final preparations ahead of its March 31st release, but there’s another high-profile manga movie incubating in Hollywood, and that’s Alita: Battle Angel.
Truth be told, it’s been a long, meandering road for the live-action feature film. Initially hatched as a James Cameron vehicle, Yukito Kishiro’s nine-volume manga soon fell onto the back-burner at 20th Century Fox as the director devoted most, if not all of his time and resources to fanning the flames of his Avatar franchise. The overriding message coming out of Fox was that Alita: Battle Angel was dormant, not dead, and after drafting in Robert Rodriguez at the helm, it didn’t take long before the project was whipped into shape.
Eager to see the adaptation through to the end, Cameron remains attached to produce Battle Angel, which has since recruited a host of A-list talent including Rosa Salazar, Jennifer Connelly, Jackie Earle Haley, Lana Condor, Christoph Waltz, Leonard Wu, Ed Skrein, Luke Cage and Moonlight actor Mahershala Ali and Keean Johnson. On paper, it makes for quite the ensemble cast – but wait, there’s more! EW has confirmed today that Alita: Battle Angel has been keeping Michelle Rodriguez’s role a secret all along. The actress, best known for Avatar and Universal’s lucrative Fast and Furious series, signed on to play Gelda, a kick-ass cyborg warrior, opposite that star-studded roster.
News of Rodriguez’s involvement comes just as filming on Alita: Battle Angel wraps. It’ll now make the journey into post-production ahead of its theatrical release on July 20th, 2018, at which point Fox will employ a similar tactic to The Predator and release the movie across select IMAX theaters.