This past weekend comic book fans worldwide camped out in their living rooms and begun the new tradition of binging Marvel superhero stories on Netflix. The third Marvel/Netflix show, Luke Cage, made its debut on the streaming service and demand was so high that it apparently shut down Netflix's servers.
Actor Mahershala Ali has been showing up in high-profile projects for years, ranging from House of Cards to The Hunger Games; however he has take his career to the next level with his performance as Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes in Luke Cage. His role as the notorious Harlem kingpin has raised his profile and things are looking bright for the actor. So much so, that Ali has reportedly lined up his next role in the hugely anticipated adaptation of the popular anime, Alita: Battle Angel.
The science-fiction thriller is being directed by Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) and produced by James Cameron (Avatar), so the expectations for the movie's potential are sky high. The film's story takes place in the post-apocalyptic future, where an abandoned android, Alita, is found by a cybernetics expert in a trash heap. He restores the machine and finds the only "memories" that she retained is her assassination programming. The cyborg then becomes a bounty hunter, as she searches for the truth behind her existence.
The report links Ali to the role of Vector, "who runs and fixes matches in a gladiator-style combat game called Motorball." It sounds as if he will be a duplicitious presence in the film that may make life harder for Alita. In addition to Ali's casting, THR also revealed that Keean Johnson (Nashville) has also secured a significant role in the film as well. He will play Hugo, the person who actually teaches Alita how to play Motorball. They both join a cast that already has Rosa Salazar as Alita, Christoph Waltz , Jackie Earle Haley, and Ed Skrein in key roles, so it seems that Rodriguez is assembling a diverse and talented cast to bring Battle Angel to life.
With Ghost in the Shell already deep into production, we could be on the precipice of a whole new sub-genre of movies. We are currently firmly in the midst of the superhero movie era, while many have hypothesized that video game adaptations will be the next big trend. They might have to wait in line behind anime adaptations like Alita: Battle Angel, because if these recent castings are any indications, they are coming on strong.
Alita: Battle Angel is set for release on July 20, 2018.