Taika Waititi and Warner Bros.' live-action Akira movie has been put back on hold while Waititi turns his attention to directing Thor 4 next. WB has (somewhat infamously) spent well over a decade trying to get a live-action film adaptation of Akira - a project based on Katsuhiro Otomo's 1982 manga and 1988 anime feature of the same name - off the ground, but with little to show for it. Directors Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli) and Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows) were involved with earlier iterations of the project that have been long since abandoned, whereas Waititi has "only" been formally attached to direct Akira since September 2017.
The film suddenly showed new signs of life when WB received a tax incentive to shoot Akira on sound stages in California this past April. Waititi's adaptation received an official 2021 release date from WB less than two months after that, and the filmmaker appeared to be gearing up to start production on the cyberpunk adventure sometime later this year (or early 2020, at the latest). And while that was indeed the case, it seems the project has now run into yet another pre-production roadblock.
According to THR, Akira's potential shooting start date was recently pushed back in the wake of concerns about its script's development. Unfortunately, the new start date was apparently too close to that for Thor 4 - which Waititi is now officially set to direct - for comfort, and Waititi has since shifted his focus onto the God of Thunder's latest adventure next, instead. However, THR's sources are reporting that WB wants to keep Waititi involved with Akira and has placed the movie on infinite hold, in the hope that he will return to it once he's finished working on Thor 4.
The news that Waititi is coming back for Thor 4 isn't surprising, given that Tessa Thompson - who portrayed Valkyrie in Waititi's sequel Thor: Ragnarok - recently revealed the the film has already been pitched with Waititi directing. Whereas the live-action Akira has proven to be a notably challenging nut for WB to crack by this point, Marvel Studios and Waititi appear to have a fairly clear idea of where they want to take the Thor franchise next. In fact, by the sound of things, Thor 4 could be ready to begin shooting within the next year and potentially reach theaters as soon as late 2021 or early 2022. That also means that Waititi won't be available to get back to work on Akira until some two years from now (in the best-case scenario).
Will WB wait that long for him? It's certainly possible; Waititi's come as close as anybody else to finally making a live-action Akira a reality, and the studio has already spent so long working on the project that an additional two years doesn't necessarily seem like a huge deal. On the other hand, depending on how the tentpole landscape evolves between now and 2021, WB might decide to either (at long last) call it a day on Akira or look to another filmmaker to get the ball rolling again. As always, we will keep you up to speed as more details are made available.