Robert Rodriguez will direct Alita: Battle Angel for James Cameron
Based on the graphic novel.
After he made the biggest movie ever and before he made the biggest movie ever, James Cameron spent some time working on Alita: Battle Angel, an adaptation of a popular manga series starring a far-future lady-cyborg with amnesia and mad martial arts skills.
Cameron ultimately set Battle Angel aside for Avatar — and then backburnered the adaptation indefinitely after deciding to spend this entire decade making Avatar sequels. But now Cameron has found a likeminded filmmaker to bring the manga to the big screen.
EW has confirmed that Robert Rodriguez will direct Alita for Fox, working from Cameron’s screenplay and with Cameron onboard as a producer. They’re two peas in a pod: Digital lobbyists and 3-D true believers, they both have essentially created their own studios as laboratories for the advancement of cinematic technology. (That photo of them up top comes from a 2005 panel discussion alongside George Lucas and Robert Zemeckis, where they evangelized the digital era to theater owners.) Rodriguez’s 2005 Sin City was the first successful “digital backlot” movie, a film with a world built entirely on greenscreen — a monochrome progenitor of the wild alien colorscapes of Avatar‘s Pandora.
No official word on an Alita release date, and it’s hard to estimate: Cameron takes a decade to make movies, and Rodriguez made two movies before you finished reading that last paragraph. This will be Rodriguez’ first real big-budget studio feature, although presumably the presence of Cameron will give Rodriguez enough autonomy to explore his bold independent vision and also find a role for Danny Trejo.