Director James Cameron is a very busy man. Not only is he prepping to shoot Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 back-to-back in New Zealand, he also reportedly helped director Alfonso Cuarón and his cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki with the 3D camera technology and photography on the Mexican director’s upcoming space drama Gravity. While the Avatar sequels will take up a good part of this decade for the visionary director, he’s still looking ahead to the future beyond exploring the universe of Pandora and the Na’vi. After the Avatar sequels are completed, Cameron hopes to develop the American film adaptation of Battle Angel.
Based on Japanese writer Yukito Kishiro’s Manga series Battle Angel Alita, Cameron has been rumored to be adapting this piece of science fiction for years. According to The Film Stage, while speaking at Mexico City’s technology forum TagDF, Cameron said he hopes to start development on Battle Angel in 2017, supposedly after Avatar 3 is released. He was holding off on adapting Battle Angel because he was waiting for CGI technology and live-action 3D to be advanced enough for him to properly bring the Manga’s story to life on the big screen.
Created in 1990, writer Yukito Kishiro set Battle Angel Alita in a post-apocalyptic future. The story surrounds Alita, a cyborg who has lost all of her memories. But when Dr. Daisuke Ido, a cybernetics doctor, finds Alita in a garbage heap, he tries to rebuild and restore her past. Throughout Alita’s journey, she recalls that she is proficient in a legendary cyborg martial art called “Panzer Kunst.” Her newly rediscovered skills lead her to become a lethal Hunter Warrior.
There have been some adaptations of Battle Angel Alita in the past, namely a two-episode Anime produced in 1993, which can be watched on YouTube. There was also an RPG video game for the original PlayStation called Gunnm: Martian Memory from Japanese publishers Banpresto in 1998. The RPG was a continuation of the original Manga and the basis for the on-going sequel series, Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, in 2001.
During the technology forum, James Cameron also criticized the Hollywood movie studio system for misusing 3D technology, rather than enhancing it. His comments were aimed at movies like Man of Steel and Iron Man 3, which both underwent a 3D up-conversion instead of being shot natively in 3D. Cameron doesn’t want to see the 3D technology pushed on directors who are uncomfortable or don’t like using the new camera system.
The Avatar sequels will take up a large chunk of Cameron’s creative work load for the foreseeable future, so don’t expect much in terms of development on Battle Angel until 2017. Principal photography on the Avatar sequels will start at the beginning of 2014 at Peter Jackson’s WETA Studios in New Zealand. It’s unclear if James Cameron will develop Avatar 4 (which is rumored to be a prequel to the 2009 groundbreaking film) after Avatar 3, now that he plans to finally bring the live-action Battle Angel to the big screen.
There is no official release date yet, but Avatar 2 is expected to hit theaters everywhere sometime in 2015, most likely during the Christmas movie-going season, in 3D and IMAX.