In 2019, filmmaker Robert Rodriguez embarked on the staging of “Alita: Battle Angel”. Produced by James Cameron, the feature film is adapted from the famous manga “Gunnm”. Find out why James Cameron didn’t direct the film.
Gunnm: the manga that inspired Alita: Battle Angel
In the early 1990s, the mangaka Yukito Kishiro imagines an unpublished story that he titles Gunnm. First published in Business Jump magazine, the manga is set in a dystopian future, where humans and cyborgs collide in Iron City, a city where depravity and poverty are rampant.
Readers follow the adventures of young Gally (Alita in the film), who does not remember her past, collected and saved by Doctor Ido. She decides to become a Hunter, and starts hunting the most dangerous criminals in Iron City. Dirty and dangerous city, Iron City is a kind of luminous Gothamwhich is located in below a floating city, Zalem, reserved for the financial elite. A bit like Elysiumthe rich are at the top, and the poor collect the garbage from the latter.
In nine volumes, Yukito Kishiro offered an epic adventure, a violent and philosophical cyberpunk proposal, visually stunning, which has become a monument of Japanese manga. At the end of the 1990s, filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro advised james cameron to read Gunnm and watch the anime. The latter instantly falls in love with the manga. From the early 2000s, James Cameron tries to wear Gunnm on the screen.
A project that took several years to materialize
In the early 2000s, James Cameron announced that he wanted to propose an adaptation of Gunnm for the big screen. So busy on the show DarkAngel until 2002, he promises that he will tackle Gunnm after the show is over. However, after the end of the series, the filmmaker prefers to turn to documentaries. He successively produces and directs Expedition: Bismarck in 2002, The Ghosts of Titanic in 2003 and Aliens of the Deep in 2005. Nothing to leave room for Gunnm.
We are therefore in 2005. Finally, James Cameron looks at a project called battle-angel. He finally seems to be embarking on the adaptation of Gunnm. But at the same time, another project is on his mind: Avatar. James Cameron decides between his two desires for cinema, and then prefers to devote himself to the Blue Men of Pandora. Faced with the historic success of the feature film, the director then concentrates on the production of several sequels. A choice that forced him to abandon the realization of Alita: Battle Angel.
Robert Rodriguez enters the scene
In 2013, four years after the release ofAvatar, James Cameron talks about the project again Gunnm. He claims that the production ofAlita: Battle Angel could begin in 2017, between the shootings ofAvatar 3 and Avatar 4. In October 2015, things materialized. James Cameron turns to Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kid, Sin City, One Night in Hell) to stage Alita: Battle Angel.
But Robert Rodriguez does not know the universe of Gunnm. It was James Cameron and producer Jon Landau who showed him superb concept art and impressive storyboards to motivate him to accept the proposal.
Rodriguez, thrilled by what he saw, agrees to direct Alita: Battle Angelwhile James Cameron retains his cap as producer and screenwriter, even if Robert Rodriguez has changed a few elements (a production method that Cameron has also used on Terminator: Dark Fate a work that was also close to his heart, on which he is a producer and screenwriter, which he entrusted to Tim Miller).
Alita: Battle Angel released in French theaters on February 13, 2019and adapts the first four volumes of the manga. For a $170 million budget, Alita: Battle Angel earn more than 404 million at the box office. A rather disappointing score for Fox, however.
As of now, no sequel has been made official.