Variety is reporting that Leonard Wu, best known for Netflix’s Marco Polo series, has come aboard Robert Rodriguez’s long-awaited adaptation of Alita: Battle Angel.
He’ll take point as Kinuba, a cyborg character ripped straight from Yukito Kishiro’s nine-volume manga who holds the title of a coliseum champion in Scrapyard. That’s the dystopian cityscape in which Alita takes place, and we already know that Maze Runner actress Rosa Salazar has landed the coveted role of the titular cyborg.
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Left to rot in the city’s underbelly, it’s only when Christoph Waltz’s amicable doctor Dyson rescues and rebuilds Salazar’s android that our battle-worn heroine sets about cleaning up the streets. Blighted by amnesia, Alita: Battle Angel is as much about the search for Alita’s fractured identity as it is about cyberpunk action in the 26th century, but we’re excited to see how Rodriguez handles the action sequences nonetheless.
Production is expected to kick off in Austin, Texas before the month is out, when Salazar and Waltz will be joined on set Jackie Earle Haley, Eiza Gonzalez, Ed Skrein, Eiza Gonzalez, Mahershala Ali (potentially), and X-Men: Apocalypse star Lana Condor.
Alita: Battle Angel, much like The Maze Runner: The Death Cure and Shane Black’s redo of The Predator, will be released in IMAX formats as well as standard theaters on July 20, 2018. A release date that is smack bang in the middle of summer blockbuster season indicates that 20th Century Fox has high hopes for its manga adaptation, and it’ll be fascinating to see how Alita pans out alongside Ghost in the Shell and Adam Wingard’s Death Note.