The film adaptaion of Alita: Battle Angel finally began taking shape in late 2015 when Robert Rodriguez signed on to direct with James Cameron producing. The source material is a Japanese Manga that tells the story of doctor who reanimates a deactivated cyborg he found in a junk yard. Set well in the future (around 2533 AD), Battle Angel follows Alita as she regains memories of her former life, in which she was a highly skilled fighter.
After he was confirmed for the gig, Rodriguez mentioned how much he was looking forward to working with James Cameron in order to bring new life to these characters and their world. Cameron had been promising a live-action Alita film since 2012, but when subsequent Avatar sequels required more of his attention, he stepped into the role of producer instead. Rosa Salazar (Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials) was cast as Alita the cyborg in May of this year, and news of the film moving forward has been steady ever since.
She will share the screen with Mahershala Ali (Luke Cage, House of Cards), Jackie Earle Haley (Preacher, The Dark Tower), Christoph Waltz (Spectre, Django Unchained), Ed Skrein (Deadpool), Keean Johnson (The Fosters, Nashville), and now THR has confirmed that Spiderman: Homecoming‘s Jorge Lendeborg Jr will be joining the film as well. THR describes his character as the “cunning and sly friend of Johnson’s character.”
Johnson is tapped to play Hugo, orphaned kid and scrapyard hustler who also turns out to be a love interest for Alita. Hugo runs with two other kids named Tanji and Van in their illegal dealings, so it could be that Lendeborg Jr. will be one of those characters. However, at this time, his role in the film has not been released.
Waltz will play Dr. Ido, the man who finds and restores Alita; Skrein is antagonist Zapan, a hunter-warrior who has it out for Alita; Ali is putting on his villain hat once again to play Vector, a dangerous businessman who smuggles illegal body parts to the highest bidder. Jackie Earle Haley’s role is still unknown, but based on the description of “evil cyborg,” it is more likely than not he’ll be playing ghastly abomination Makaku.
There are still several integral characters that need to be cast. Desty Nova is an experienced nanotechnology doctor that toes the line between the good guys and the bad, and his son Kaos is unique in that he can channel the memories of inanimate objects; Jashugan is the defending Motorball champ, and he and Alita shared a heated rivalry for top spot in the Scrapyard sport; and Gonzu is a cyber vet and trusted friend to Dr. Ido. There is still a lot of work to be done on Alita, but with Rodriguez’s access to James Cameron’s technology, fans should be in a for a real treat.
Alita: Battle Angel is expected to hit theaters on July 20, 2018.