Adapting existing IPs from other forms of media to the big screen has always been a focus of Hollywood. Young adult novels had their day, comic books are currently in the spotlight, with video games hoping to make a name for themselves in the near future, but manga adaptations are starting to pop up now as well. Ghost in the Shell is next up, but Alita: Battle Angel is not too far behind. The popular Japanese manga graphic novel is going to get the live-action treatment thanks to director Robert Rodriguez, with support from producer James Cameron.
The project has slowly been building steam ahead of the 2018 release date, with Rosa Salazar being cast in the lead role. As Alita, her journey through the 26th century as a bounty hunter will bring up unwanted threats. While it was previously unknown who the villain would be, a new report points to a familiar bad guy joining the project.
THR is reporting that Ed Skrein has joined the adaptation as the main villain. Skrein is fresh off his portrayal of Ajax in Deadpool, so another villainous turn is not too far away in his future. As for who he will be playing, the report points to him portraying Zapan, who is described as “a villainous cyborg who is in possession of a weapon called the Damascus blade.”
In the manga series, Zapan is one of Alita’s biggest and most recurring foes. Outside of the Damascus blade, which is traditionally Alita’s weapon of choice in the novels, Zapan also has the ability to change his look thanks to his final cyborg form known as the Berserker Body. Although they have a long running feud in the initial stories, he does eventually save Alita’s life at the cost of his own.
All of these details point to a very unique and interesting story that potentially could be on hand for Rodriguez. Skrein was a fairly good villain in Deadpool, and is the latest intriguing choice to join the film. Christoph Waltz will serve as Alita’s mentor Doctor Dyson Ido, while Jackie Earle Haley will play an evil cyborg, presumably alongside Skrein. The styles of Rodriguez and the technical genius of James Cameron should provide for an incredibly unique film in terms of both story and visuals. With production slated to start soon, more updates for the film could be on the horizon.
Alita: Battle Angel is set for release on July 20th, 2018.