James Cameron Promises ‘Battle Angel Alita’ Movie Will Happen

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:48 pm,

james cameron battle angel alita James Cameron Promises Battle Angel Alita Movie Will Happen

Before Avatar hit theaters – obliterating box office records left and right – James Cameron had tentative plans to press ahead sooner (rather than later) with an adaptation of the popular Battle Angel Alita franchise. That sci-fi series originated as a Japanese comic book/manga created by Yukito Kishiro back in 1990, eventually spawning anime and video game spinoffs, along with a prequel manga series titled Ashen Victor (among other related products).

When not diving into the Mariana Trench or overseeing the 3D post-conversion of Titanic, Cameron has devoted most of his time over the past couple years to developing a pair of Avatar sequels – which won’t be reaching theaters for at least another 2-3 years. Hence, there’s been a big question mark looming over the head of the filmmaker’s big screen treatment of Battle Angel Alita.

In a recent interview with MTV, Cameron explained why he gave Avatar 2 priority over a Battle Angel Alita movie:

“It was a coin toss at that point, but I see the good the ‘Avatar’ franchise could do in terms of keeping a world audience cognizant of our relationship with nature, but in an entertainment context. So, ultimately, I feel there is more good to be done there than with ‘Battle Angel’, [which is] just a great, kickass story.”

For context, here’s a semi-official description of the setup for Kishiro’s Battle Angel Alita manga:

When Doc Ido, a talented cyberphysician, finds Alita’s head in a junk heap, she has lost all memory of her past life. But when he reconstructs her, she discovers her body still instinctively remembers the Panzer Kunst, the most powerful cyborg fighting technique ever known. In the postapocalyptic world of the Scrapyard, as the secrets of Alita’s past unfold, each day is a struggle for survival.

Most of the sci-fi concepts and tropes featured in Battle Angel Alita are all the rage in the Western entertainment industry nowadays, as evidenced by the similarities between the property and series like The Hunger Games – or such impending “updates” on older science fiction movies like Total Recall and RoboCop, to name a few – never mind a good chunk of the sci-fi literature and cinema that’s been released over the past two decades.

That’s all to say: Battle Angel Alita fans surely have their own strong opinions about how the franchise is superior to many of its peers and imitators, but Cameron has a point when he (indirectly) hints that his film adaptation could get lost in the fray, given the shared qualities. In fact, the project could attract much criticism for being “unoriginal,” similar to those which’ve hounded Avatar (deserved or not).

Cameron did make it clear to MTV he’s far from giving up on the Battle Angel Alita movie, saying the project “would have to be pried out of my cold dead fingers, but, on the other hand, I’m not gonna – I don’t wanna take it to my grave, either.” So, the film could very well still be made by Cameron at some point in the next, say, five years – and, for all we know, the sci-fi landscape could be vastly different by the time that happens.

In the meantime, we will continue to keep you up-to-date on the status of Battle Angel Alita.


Source: MTV

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  1. Why can’t he just have his ex wife direct it and be on as executive producer.

    • As close as Cameron is still close to all of his former 4 or 5 wives, I’m sure Kathryn Bigelow has her own schedule of films she’s set to direct.

    • 1st off James should’ve won best director instead of his ex wife!

      Let me asked you this.. Who has the biggest production directing a movie?
      AVATAR or hurt locker?? Ms. Bigelow was blessed with great actors and there’s only a few she had to direct. its either 2-3 all the time.

      While James had to direct every moment, expression, settings, positioning and vast of cast and more!




        • Avatar is a poor story with good visuals. He deserved the cinematography awards that is all. Inglorious bastards deserved best picture

          • I absolutely agree. The visuals were great, but the storyline for me felt short. We get so caught up and lost in the cinematography. I 100% agree that Inglorious Bastards was fantastic and off the hinges, one great movie!

  2. I certainly hope that he gets to make this at some point. Battle Angel Alita is one fo the top manga / anime titles that cam from the early 90s. Whilst not being the perfect filmaker – Cameron will at least give it the full commitment and the effects and action would be top notch.

    To be honest – the classic anime titles (Streetfighter 2, Fist of the North Star, Cyber City Oedo 808, Detonator Orgun etc) are long overdue a Blu-Ray release.

    If anyone at Screen Rant – knows any info as to if / when we will see a blu ray format for these titles – please share the details

    • Effects and action will be great I am sure, he is very good at that sort of thing. What I’m afraid of is that he will botch the characters. The great thing about Battle Angel Alita is it had an equal portion to blood shed, mayhem, and kickassery as it did to deep character creation, development, and interactions. If he does one well and not the other it won’t do Alita justice.

  3. Christ, he’s been sitting on this property for flippin’ years! I wish he would just do it. I’d rather see this than another “Avatar” movie. “Battle Angel Alita” is one of my favourite manga series. I have all nine volumes of the original manga and will always keep them because it truly is great reading.

  4. Never read/watched the manga/anime, but I’d bet that Battle Angel directed by Cameron would be pretty awesome. Probably considerably more awesome than the Avatar sequels will be.

  5. This is gonna take a while……sigh.

  6. @Motoko

    100% agree with you – Rory MacFarlane’s soundtrack for Cyber City Oedo rules completely – just an awesome, infectious musical score from start to finish.

    The music and soundtrack from Streetfighter :the animated movie is also just as awesome.

    • I was so disappointed when I got “Cyber City” on DVD and it had the original Japanese opening soundtrack and not the Western version. It just didn’t have the same memories and energy of the one I knew from my youth.

  7. why can’t he be honest and just say he did it for the money

    • Agreed

  8. I’d prefer to see ” Battle Angel ” than another Avatar. And I like Avatar.

    People can criticize Cameron but they can’t deny his phenomenal success’. Not only in the film industry but the scientific ( National Geographic , his historic Mariana dives ) community as well. The man has a brain and a huge set of baIIs.

    • Agreed, he does ehat he wants and not what studios tell him. Along with his environmental stance.

  9. Why cant he dump avatar 2 and 3 on somebody else. and do new stories, new movies. life is short.

    • What makes you think Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 aren’t new movies and new stories?? lol

      Star Wars Episodes 5 and 6 were new movies and new stories.

      • Sorry, what i meant was new topics :) perhaps even something lying dormant in his draw somewhere.

    • I agree! James Cameron “SUCKS” at sequels! Don’t believe me?? Go watch Terminator 2 and ALIENS!


      • ^win

        • Exactly.

          I was hanging out with my Aunt and Uncle the other night and we were watching the first Terminator 1984. I was making wisecracks here and there ’cause obviously it’s dated. But they were telling me how bad ass and cutting edge it was when it first came out. And I could see that. Cameron certainly had a vision and look at where it’s taken him.
          From the first Terminator to Avatar he has progressed as a film maker at an almost exponential rate.
          Of course, many of you don’t like Avatar but there’s no denying the guy has singlehandedly elevated the bar in terms of CGI and 3D.

  10. On one end I would prefer to see a Cameron directed Battle Angel, and on the other hand I would like for him to give it to another director and oversee the project as closely as he can without sayin action. All he has to do is give the chosen director his production notes as well as concept designs and go from there.

    Hell, Cabin in the Woods was directed by Drew Goddard, but it felt like a Joss Wheddon film. Super 8 was directed by JJ Abrams, but it felt like a Steven Speilberg film. Just get a filmmaker that will capture the tone and scale of a Cameron film and call it a day.

  11. The sci-fi landscape could be vastly different in five years you say??? Did you not hear about the movie Prometheus? A prequel to the 1979 movie Alien? That’s 33 years of unchanging landscapes right there. Star Trek 2 is also on the horizon…. And Total Recall-(1966: We can Remember it for you Wholesale) and Ender’s Game (1985)

    The effects might improve. Some of the science might no longer be FICTION anymore…This is true… But an entirely new sci-fi landscape??? I don’t think so.

    • Heh, didn’t say I expect it to change. Just that (for all I know) it might.

  12. damn i thought this wass jus a rumor, but waiting tht many years and the years to develope battle angel onyl points out to it nver being done JC is getting old not younger dude is super old in my opinion he’ll be to old to direct a movie dude takes years to jus make a movie tht titanic movie was jus a bad stop side tht he didnt have to make.
    and isnt it called “battle angel hunter warrior?”
    i have the movie right in fromt of me. and its not called “battle angel alita”

  13. You’d think The Matrix and Avatar would have changed things by now…. if things were gonna change.

    Yes bullet time is now a sickening joke and 3-D is back to stay… thanks guys!

    • Chip, meet shoulder.

  14. @Motoko

    Probably shouldn’t say this , but if you look hard enough on the net – you should be able to find an audio file of Rory MacFarlane soundtrack. With the right programs you can then merge the aufio track onto the Japanese video. It takes a while getting the aduio in sync , but it’s worth it in the end.


    I thought anime was great , but agree that at 50mins or so – it felt more like a short story rather than a feature length movie. I think a director with enough vision can fully bring this to life for an epic 2hr movie or so.


    No one would ever doubt Cameron’s achievements or status in the industry. It;s just that when you watch his movies again = you realise more the flaws that you did when his films first came out release. (something people will eventually see with Nolan’s movies) This is most definitely the case with Avatar and to a more lesser extent with T2.

    Personally I don’t think he’s been active enough as a filmmaker and like Lucas – 90% of his work is science fiction and led by technology. It would just be nice to see him step out of his comfort zone just to see what he’s truly made of as a director.

  15. @Lebsta

    Regarding your former point regarding JC:

    That goes for any movie, ESPECIALLY when it’s science fiction and employs cutting edge filmic technology. Look at Star Wars Ep 4.

    Regarding your latter point:

    I agree! It would be incredible to see JC write and direct a small, artsy film.
    Maybe he’ll try doing that once he’s finished directing ” Battle Angel Alita. ” By that time he’ll be in his mid 80′s. lol

  16. The sad thing is, the longer he takes with this is the longer I have to wait for a Blu-ray of the OVA. That’s all I’m really looking forward to, but Hollywood’s incessant need for synergy remains a bloated bummer.

  17. Western movie directers track record with anime/mangas movie adaptations has been pretty poor(DRANGON BALL or SPEEDRACER)anyone?That being said if any directer can pull Battle Angel off James Cameron should.

    • Yeah, if he finally gets around to making it it probably won’t really resemble the original. When they do that i kinda think why didn’t they just do an original story instead. Especially as the main intended audience have never heard of the franchise.

      And if he keeps putting it off and doesn’t make it, then that’s sorta selfish. It means the Japanese can never have a shot at it like they did with “Deathnote” and “Battleship Yamato”.

      • It would be cool if Cameron or a big American studio gave the Japanese creaters of the anime/manga a big budget and support and let them do it there way,that might work out fine and satify most of the fanbase.

  18. If he’s gonna make it, then he has to make it more than good!

    This is the only manga I like to read! I just love this story with the setting and all the disturbing topics and awesome characters!

    Mr. Cameron,

    Please don’t go too far from the original story and please don’t screw up the characters/Alitas foes.

  19. With what we know of the movie biz Id bet Cameron would make Alita like Micheal Bay is doing TMNT. This might be better off made outside of the studio system.

  20. i think this film would be release by 2020-22. ’cause avatar saga would be finished by 2019 and it will maybe take a year or two or maybe 3 (just in case he will film all movies at once).