Alita: Battle Angel is a film adaptation of a Japanese Manga similarly titled Battle Angel Alita. The story takes place in the future in pockets of what was once the USA. Areas of interest include the Scrapyard (near Kansas), Tiphares (which floats above the Scrapyard), and the Necropolis (near Colorado Springs, Colorado). The dystopian tale follows a cybernetics Dr. (Christoph Waltz) who finds a cyborg (Rosa Salazar) in disrepair and decides to reanimate her.
Alita, he names her after his (now dead) beloved dog, turns out to be exceptionally trained in Panzer Kunst, a form of martial arts. Once she gets her bearings, she becomes a Hunter-Warrior (mercenary) where she kills cyborg criminals throughout the Scrapyard before eventually becoming one of the best players the violent sport of Motorball has ever seen. For context on Motorball, imagine ninjas in a roller derby match, or at the very least a better version of the 2002 remake, Rollerball. Other characters found in this harsh world include Ed Skrein as Zapan, Keean Johnson as Hugo, Mahershala Ali as Vector, and others like Jorge Lendeborg Jr. and Eiza Gonzalez in as yet unknown roles.
In more Alita casting news, Deadline has confirmed that X-Men: Apocalypse actress, Lana Condor, will be joining the quickly expanding cast of the Manga adaptation. Condor’s filmography is steadily growing with 2016 as her breakout year. She followed-up her role as Jubilee with a small role in upcoming Patriot’s Day. The Vietnam born, American actress is also a skilled dancer, having attended The Alvin Alley American Dance Theater and the Joffrey School of Classical Ballet.
In Alita, Condor will be playing orphaned photojournalist Koyomi. The character was a prominent member of the Barjack — the rebels fighting against agents from the floating city of Tiphares. Very little is known about Koyomi’s backstory other than she was adopted by the leader of the Barjack, Murdock, and she forms a friendship with Kaos, telekentic son of Desty Nova.
One storyline from the manga has Koyomi being kidnapped by Makaku, the deformed human/cyborg (likely played by Jackie Earle Haley), as a ploy to get at Alita. Koyomi presents an opportunity to expand on a character that has very little backstory in source material.
With several characters left before the film has a full roster, Rodriguez and company seem to moving full steam ahead into pre-production. James Cameron is still involved as an executive producer and co-writer.
Alita: Battle Angel will be in theaters on July 20, 2018.