When Disney purchased 20th Century Fox in March of 2019, it acquired a vast number of entertainment properties. Not only did Disney’s haul include Fox’s huge library of movies, but from that haul, they got big titles such as Deadpool, Fantastic Four, and The Simpson’s as well as franchises such as Alien, Predator, and Percy Jackson. Among other big names would be Alita: Battle Angel, the James Cameron produced, Robert Rodriguez directed film. While not a huge box office hit (it’s cleared the $400 million mark thanks to a decent overseas number), it also had just a fair to middling critical response. But what it does have, which sometimes can sway a production company, is a solid fan base. Perhaps this is why there is a strong indication that the House of Mouse is putting together an Alita: Battle Angel prequel for their Disney+ streaming service.
They call themselves The #AlitaArmy and they are loud. A solid fan base who continues to pummel Twitter with the idea of a sequel (and now prequel) for their beloved Alita: Battle Angel. Like most properties Disney purchased in the Fox deal, Alita was one whose future was murky at best. What did Disney have in mind for the property? A sequel? Well, the word was nil from Disney, so fans took it upon themselves and Twitter to launch a sequel campaign.
One tweet read, “Movie studios take note. If Disney isn’t going ahead with an #AlitaSequel, snatch it up as soon as you can.” Another said, “One of the many reasons an #AlitaSequel is a must is that it would have some of the most creative minds working on it.” And then came a comparison to property not under Disney’s control, “Alita is unique as a protagonist and I don’t use that word lightly. She is indeed one of a kind. Her closest point of comparison is probably Wonder Woman, but even then, what makes them different stands out more than what makes them the same.”
Jon Landau, another of Alita: Battle Angel’s producers said in an interview with CinemaBlend, “What I think the Alita Army should do is keep peppering our family now at Disney and [let them know] how important it is to have another Alita movie and hopefully we’ll venture there one day.”
He also added during the interview, “I think when you can talk about any movie, and I won’t talk specifically about Alita, but your first step is writing a script. You’ve got to assume that’s going to take you 12 to 18 months to write a script. Assuming that script is great, you then have a six to 10-month pre-production. You then have a six-month shoot. You then have a year of post-production and that’s just any movie of this ilk.” Obviously, though, Landau was speaking specifically of a movie.
Whether Disney heard the saber-rattling or it had always been their plan, it worked. But instead of a movie, Disney is going the streaming route. Word on this came first from a source to Small Screen, “Disney is in the process of developing an Alita: Battle Angel prequel show. This will be for Disney Plus. At the moment, it’s unclear if Robert Rodriguez and/or James Cameron will be coming back.”
Apparently now, though, both Cameron and Rodriguez will be producing the Alita: Battle Angel prequel series, but it is still unclear if Rodriguez will direct any of the episodes. This news seems to confirm what Landau said in the CinemaBlend interview. “Well, I won’t speak specifically about Alita. I would just tell you that I think Jim [Cameron] and I love the opportunities that streaming and these other avenues of distribution are offering people today. And you know, we would love to get into those playgrounds and play in them, no matter what the title is.”
The strong possibility of this new Alita: Battle Angel prequel series follows a growing pattern that Disney is laying out. Earlier this year, Disney announced a series of the Rick Riordan Percy Jackson novels that will be coming to Disney+. It’s a move that makes the author happy as he was extremely displeased with the two movies Fox made based on his books, mainly from the horrible script writing, the vulgar language, and the fact they turned his beloved Percy into a 17-year old (he is 12-years old in the books). Riordan had commented in a November blog that when he “saw the final script and saw what they were doing on the set, I realized I had to step away for my own peace of mind.” Seems Riordan may have a little more say in his upcoming series.
As for the Alita: Battle Angel prequel, there isn’t much more known about it. Disney seems intent on creating content for their streaming service and taking properties already known by fans and that have a strong fan base is a wise move. As more word comes out about the prequel Alita series, GFR will be sure to pass it along.