Naruto Movie In The Works With Marvel Director, Think They’ll Get This One Right?

By Christopher Isaac | Published

As live-action adaptations of popular anime become more common, it is probably of little surprise that the time has come for one of the most popular anime/manga of all time to finally get adapted. A Naruto live-action movie is now in the works, courtesy of director Destin Daniel Cretton, who worked on Marvel Studio’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Lionsgate will be the studio producing the project.

Will Hollywood Finally Get Live-Action Anime Right?


For fans of the franchise, a Naruto movie is both exciting and a reason for trepidation. Hollywood has tried many times to adapt some of the other biggest names in anime to live action for a Western audience, oftentimes to disastrous results.

2009’s Dragon Ball: Evolution is regarded as one of the most infamously terrible movies in the eyes of many Dragon Ball fans. Death Note got an adaption for Netflix that many felt completely missed the mark. Recently, Netflix did a live-action TV series adaptation of Cowboy Bebop that left fans so dissatisfied that it was canceled after its first season.

Netflix Finds The Right Formula

In recent years, there have been a few success stories for anime adaptations to give fans hope. Recently fans felt Netflix got it largely right with their version of One Piece. And though not technically anime, Avatar: The Last Airbender is an animated property with a major following, and Netflix’s recent take on the show certainly got better reception than the 2010 movie by M. Night Shyamalan did. So perhaps that proves a Naruto movie could fare well in the right hands.

Plenty Of Content To Pull From

A Naruto movie would certainly have no lack of content to draw upon. Between the two anime series that the story has been divided into, it has over 700 episodes worth of stories. The story focuses on the eponymous Naruto, a ninja looking to make his name in the world and become the leader of his people. It has proven one of the longest-running and most popular anime in existence, so if done well, there should be a strong built-in fanbase for a Western movie.

Casting Isn’t Enough And Can Be Problematic

Scarlett Johansson

Still, even major star power attached to a project has proven that it does not guarantee success, as evidenced by 2017’s Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansson. Johansson’s casting highlighted a major problem that often occurs in Western adaptations, which is America whitewashing characters who were Japanese in the original story. This is a recurring problem that has appeared in many of the worst live-action spins on an anime.

Naruto Creator Gives Stamp Of Approval


One thing the Naruto movie already has going for it is the approval of the creator of the franchise, Masashi Kishimoto. After talking with Cretton personally, Kishimoto gave him the stamp of approval by declaring that he felt “convinced that there is no other director for Naruto.”

An early warning sign is often an adaptation that ignores the original creators. The team behind Dragon Ball Evolution allegedly disregarded any advice from series creator Akira Toriyama, and it shows in the finished product that bears little resemblance to anything from actual Dragon Ball.

Considering even Avatar: The Last Airbender had the Netflix team clashing with the original creators, it definitely is a relief to fans when they hear the creator is on board with the direction things are moving. Of course, we are still extremely early in that process for the Naruto movie, with the script not even being written yet. However, for an introductory announcement of what is to come, Naruto fans seem like they have positive news so far.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter