‘Tis the time for live-action Hollywood manga movies. Ghost in the Shell, Paramount’s super-sleek cyberpunk actioner that placed Scarlett Johansson in the boots of The Major, hit theatres several months back and Death Note recently arrived on Netflix. Those two aside, there’s also Robert Rodriguez’s Alita: Battle Angel to look forward to in the not-so-distant future.
So far, so familiar. But if there’s one live-action adaptation that’s slipped into the bowels of development hell, it’s Akira. Katsuhiro Otomo’s decorated sci-fi flick of ’88, one based on his own eponymous manga, is among the most popular anime films in history, and is often celebrated as a landmark achievement in the world of Japanese animation.
It’s no wonder then that Hollywood has tried to bring over the Capsules on to these shores ever since. Warner Bros. took control of the project more than a decade ago, and since then, the story of WB’s live-action Akira movie has been one of false starts and disheartening delays, culminating in the moment when the studio shut down production in 2012 just as filming was about to get underway.
Fast forward to 2015 and Akira began to flicker into life once more, this time with George Miller and Star Trek Beyond‘s Justin Lin in the running to direct. Neither ended up closing a deal to helm the troubled manga movie, but today, Deadline reports that the studio has once more landed on someone to step behind the camera: Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi. Apparently, he’s in negotiations with Warner Bros. to finally get the project off the ground and from what we understand, Akira is now a top priority for them.
No casting has been announced, as it’s far too early for that, and Waititi hasn’t officially signed on just yet, but this is an exciting development nonetheless and would seem to indicate that the adaptation has picked up steam once again. Whether it’ll actually be able to get going this time is another story entirely, but the Thor: Ragnarok director would certainly be an interesting choice for Akira and we’re hopeful that this becomes the first step in finally getting this movie off the ground.