Major Motoko Kusanagi is not to be trifled with. For more than 20 years, Masamune Shirow’s kick-ass heroine has been a fixture of the Japanese anime scene, during which time the Ghost in the Shell manga ostensibly became a household name through a series of comics, books, video games and even animated feature films.
But in 2017, Paramount and director Rupert Sanders will be taking that lore and blowing it out onto a blockbuster scale with their planned live-action movie. In it, Scarlett Johansson takes point as the Major, a fiercely intelligent cybernetic human capable of leading the elite task force known as Section 9. She’s a force of nature, essentially, and a new international trailer released today gives us a fresh look at Johansson’s cyborg leaping into action in every sense of the word.
Going up against cyborg criminals and rampant extremists, the Major will be tasked with cleaning up the streets on behalf of Hanka Robotics, a noble effort that places Johansson and her allies on a warpath with some of the city’s most formidable gangsters. Alas, Rupert Sanders and co. have shied away from questions regarding Ghost in the Shell‘s primary antagonist – he/she will be combination of different villains, it seems – other than to say that the iconic Puppet Master won’t be pulling the strings behind Paramount’s lavish blockbuster, despite rumors to the contrary. And on the topic of alleged whitewashing, well, Sanders has been pretty staunch in his defence of casting Scarlett Johansson in the starring role.
Ghost in the Shell arrives on March 31, 2017 and co-stars Michael Pitt, Juliette Binoche and Pilou Asbæk. Meanwhile, Clint Mansell has been elected to score the live-action tentpole.