James Cameron’s Battle Angel Alita Adaptation Still Planned For After Avatar Sequels

By David Wharton | Published

While I wasn’t a huge fan of Avatar, it was visually stunning and it was great to see James Cameron returning to the genre that made him a legendary director. The worldwide success of Avatar guaranteed sequels, and indeed, two of them are in the works as we speak. That’s great news for fans of his latest SF epic, but what about the people who were eagerly awaiting other projects Cameron had on his docket? For instance, Cameron has long had his name attached to a big-screen adaptation of the Japanese manga series Battle Angel Alita. While it likely won’t hit screens until after we see both Avatar sequels, a new interview with long-time Cameron producing partner Jon Landau reassures that Cameron’s Battle Angel is coming…eventually.

Speaking to Swedish movie site Moviezine, Landau suggests once again that Battle Angel is still the next project on Cameron’s to-do list. Here’s the quote (translated from Swedish, so you’ll have to forgive any odd phrasings):

I am sure you will get to see Battle Angel. It is one of my favorite stories, a great story about a young woman’s journey to self-discovery. It is a film that begs the question: ‘What does it mean to be human?’ Are you human if you have a heart, a brain or a soul? I look forward to giving the audience the film.

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, Battle Angel Alita is the story of a cyborg named, appropriately enough, Alita. A doctor specializing in cybernetics discovers Alita in a rubbish heap, and soon discovers that she has no memories of whom or what she is. Alita becomes a bounty hunter and also begins searching for clues as to her past. The series was originally published between 1990 and 1995, and has also been adapted into an anime film as well.

Given that any Cameron version of Battle Angel is probably at least five years away, it’s no real surprise that Landau doesn’t have any ideas who they would like for the lead role…or at least none he’s willing to talk about.

Who we want to put in the lead role today and who we want to put in the lead role when the time comes, it can be two totally different people who would be right for the role. Now we focus on Avatar for the next four or five years. It will hopefully right after that.

Unfortunately, that same “who knows what will happen in five years” reality could apply to the project as a whole. Even if Cameron does plan to get to Battle Angel first thing after the next two Avatar films, who knows what he’ll be doing once those years have passed. At one point, Cameron was supposed to be directing a Forbidden Planet prequel written by Babylon 5‘s J. Michael Straczynski, but that has since evaporated. Maybe we’ll get a Battle Angel movie and maybe we won’t; at this point the only thing that’s a given is that we’re getting more Avatar. Hopefully, with a better script.