Alita: Battle Angel is the latest in a series of Western adaptions of Japanese Manga and anime in the works, including the controversial Ghost in the Shell. As the James Cameron production gets going, initial reports suggested Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming) was circling the lead role. Recently, though, it was announced that Maze Runner's Rosa Salazar had landed the main role as a female cyborg Alita.
With Salazar on board, the Robert Rodriguez-helmed sci-fi flick is starting to come together. The futuristic tale may have filled its main mentor role, that of Doctor Dyson Ido, in Christopher Waltz (The Legend of Tarzan).
According to THR, the 20th Century Fox picture, now in preproduction, may award the cybersurgeon role to Waltz. The Oscar-winning German-Austrian actor is best known on this side of the pond for his turn as the nefarious Nazi Colonel Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. He continued his villainous ways in last year’s James Bond outing Spectre, as well as this year’s Tarzan.
Recently, though, the acclaimed actor has sought out less-adversarial roles, such as his turn in the period piece Tulip Fever and Alexander Payne’s forthcoming sci-fi comedy Downsizing. Waltz would get a chance to stretch his chops in Alita: Battle Angel, where his role falls on the opposite end of the spectrum from the menacing Blofeld in last year's Bond flick. As a high-caliber talent with a great deal of range, he would be an excellent choice to play the kindly Doctor Ido.
In Yukito Kishiro's original Manga Battle Angel Alita, Ido finds the battered remnants of Alita in a trash pile beneath Tiphares, a floating city suspended over a makeshift settlement known as The Scrapyard. A cybernetic doctor and warrior himself, Ido repairs Alita and rehabilitates her. He becomes a mentor and father figure to the young woman, who is initially left with nothing more than her martial arts training and finds something much greater.
Said to pull materials from the first four books in the Manga series, Alita: Battle Angel has been a pet project of Cameron's for nearly two decades now. He shelved the project to work on Avatar, but perhaps with a spate of anime-based films, such as Full Metal Alchemist and Death Note on the dockets, was encouraged to return to the 26th century sci-fi actioner, even if it's just as producer. Going forward, it will be interesting to see who else joins the cast of the ambitious film about the nature of humanity in a dark, distant future.
Battle Angel has a tentative release date set for July, 20 2018.