Edward Norton didn’t have a big role in Alita: Battle Angel. In fact, the part was so small that it originally went uncredited. He simply appeared in a post-credit scene as Desty Nova, a character who would likely go on to to be one of the titular character’s primary antagonists. That quick scene raised excitement among Alita fans and nodded to the idea that there would be sequels in this franchise. And while no firm plans are in place for Alita: Battle Angel 2, Norton is still primed and ready to go in the role if the sequel were to happen.
Nova, the character we saw Edward Norton play at the end of Alita: Battle Angel, is a scientist and enemy of Alita. Norton appeared as the character with white hair and a quasi-deranged look. But missing was Nova’s signature glasses. Whether he transforms into the character we see on the printed pages or begins as the same could be central to any sequel. One would have to assume he’d embody more of the original Nova were the sequel to move forward.
Robert Rodriguez directed Alita: Battle Angel, working from the script penned by writer and producer James Cameron. Cameron had originally wanted Edward Norton as part of Avatar, but the latter refused the role. Norton didn’t want to play a part that celebrated the industrial complex. Turning down a role in that movie led to Cameron suggesting he join the Alita movies instead.
It’s clear that both Cameron and Rodriguez want to move forward with a sequel considering Edward Norton’s Nova tease was designed specifically for such a thing. But, as of right now, there are no concrete plans for it to happen. For starters, Disney now owns the rights to the movie after their acquisition of Fox. And the studio hasn’t made any official indication they plan on tackling a new story.
“Official” is the operative word here though. There are still rumors out there about the possibility of something in the works. A few weeks ago Disney hinted that they might be exploring the possibility. And then there was a leaked photo that had some fans thinking the movie was actually being produced in secret. Edward Norton wasn’t included in those rumors specifically, but there does at least feel like some momentum is happening here.
The original Alita: Battle Angel did okay with critics, currently sitting at 62% on the Rotten Tomatometer. But it does have a core fanbase. The audience score is 92% and there’s even an #AlitaArmy online movement dedicated to bringing more movies in the franchise to the big screen. The original, on a $150 million budget, scored about $400 million at the box office. That feels like a number big enough to sport another go around, but Disney might not see that as the case.
With a core fanbase, big-name directors, a massive studio, and even stars like Edward Norton showing continued interest, it sure feels like we will one day get an Alita: Battle Angel sequel. Those are a lot of folks with juice wanting to get something on-screen. And if those secret rumors are true, it might even be sooner than later.