He’s dabbled in the realm of superhuman mercenaries with middling reboot The Transporter Refueled, not to mention going toe-to-toe with the Merc With a Mouth himself in Deadpool; now, Ed Skrein is bound for the dystopian future initially dreamed up by manga artist Yukito Kishiro for Alita: Battle Angel.
News hails from The Hollywood Reporter, revealing that Skrein has closed a deal to join the long-gestating adaptation as, you guessed it, a villain – specifically Zapan, a nefarious cyborg who holds control of a powerful weapon called the Damascus blade. Details are thin beyond that; all we know for sure is that he’ll be rubbing shoulders with Maze Runner actress Rosa Salazar, who is attached to the title role of a female cyborg, Christoph Waltz and Preacher star Jackie Earl Haley.
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Behind the scenes, James Cameron – a director who has been fostering Battle Angel in some capacity for more than a decade – will produce, having passed on the mantle Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Machete Kills) to double down on fleshing out the world of Pandora with his many Avatar sequels.
Alita: Battle Angel, on the other hand, will be adapted by Laeta Kalogridis, introducing moviegoers to a story that involves a “female cyborg (Salazar) that is discovered in a scrapyard by a scientist. With no memory of her previous life except her deadly martial-arts training, the woman becomes a bounty hunter, tracking down criminals. The action-adventure story is meant to serve as a backdrop to themes of self-discovery and the search for love.”
At long last, Alita: Battle Angel will be ushered in front of the cameras come October, which likely places Rodriguez’s manga-inspired tentpole on course for release in late 2017/early 2018. Skrein, meanwhile, has also lined up a role opposite Natalie Dormer and Emily Ratajkowski for In Darkness.