Though casting went quiet for a while, we’re learning today from The Hollywood Reporter that Alita: Battle Angel has added Jennifer Connelly. Which exact role the actress holds in Robert Rodriguez’s upcoming sci-fi film is unknown, but she’s said to be playing one of the villains. Cue the excitement.
Joining an already very impressive cast which boasts Rosa Salazar, Jackie Earle Haley, Christoph Waltz, Mahershala Ali and Ed Skrein, the flick is based on Yukito Kishiro’s nine-volume manga Battle Angel Alita and sees Salazar leading the charge as the titular Alita, an “amnesiac female cyborg plucked from the dumps of Scrapyard and rebuilt by Waltz’s seasoned doctor. With only her deadly knowledge of martial arts to her name” Alita sets out to rid the city of its criminal underbelly.”
As you probably already know, Battle Angel has been in development for what seems like forever, with James Cameron (who wrote the script) initially hoping to direct at one point. However, given his commitments to the Avatar franchise, he eventually handed over the reigns to Rodriguez, who’s put together quite the cast here.
That being said, this would appear to be yet another case of Hollywood whitewashing an anime adaptation, which you can bet not too many fans will be happy about. It happens time and time again and most recently, we saw it occur when Scarlett Johansson was cast in the lead role of Ghost in the Shell. Whether this will hurt that film or Rodriguez’s upcoming effort in the long run remains to be seen, but it’s still a bit troubling nonetheless.
20th Century Fox’s ambitious adaptation is currently shooting in Texas with a release date pegged in for July 20th, 2018, at which point the film will arrive in both regular theaters and IMAX. With a prime summer window to premiere in, it’s clear that the studio has big plans for Alita: Battle Angel and if all goes well, we can expect the blockbuster to spawn a whole new franchise for them.