With Ghost in the Shell creeping closer every day and the manga fandom getting more and more vocal in their excitement for it, a gap in the market is being wedged open in the western movie sphere for Japanese stories on the big screen. James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez are already on top of the trend and are well under way with preparations for their adaptation of Yukito Kishiro‘s 1990 manga series Alita: Battle Angel. The nine volume comic books have already been recreated for screen once before, in an anime adaptation released in 1993, though this will be the first live action version.
The narrative tells the story of Alita, a cyborg found abandoned in a dump by a cybermedic expert called Daisuke Ido. With no discernible memory of her previous life, all that remain of Alita’s past are her awesome martial arts skills. She puts her Panzer Kunst abilities to good use as a mercenary Hunter-Warrior, tracking down criminal cyborgs and bringing them to justice.
Cameron and Rodriguez have already cast their leading cyborg, with Rosa Salazar – star of The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials – taking the helm. Christoph Waltz and Jackie Earl Haley have also secured parts in the movie, due for release in 2018.
It has now been announced that the role of one of Alita’s primary enemies has also been filled.
Zapan, a villainous cyborg made more dangerous than most foes by weilding a weapon called the Damascus Blade, will be portrayed by Ed Skrein, most recently known for his role as Ajax/Francis is Deadpool. Having had plenty of time to hone his skills not only against the reckless Wade Wilson, but also in headlining the reboot of The Transporter and as Daario Naharis in Game of Thrones, he promises to make a worthy foe for the bounty hunter bot.