Imagine waking up to find yourself in a completely different body, gazing with wondering eyes at limbs you have never moved or even seen before, remembering nothing. This is the dystopian sci-fi reality of Alita: Battle Angel.
Yukito Kishiro’s manga, about a cyborg girl whose head and chest are found in a trash heap by a cybernetics doctor who restores her to consciousness, was supposed to be brought to life onscreen when 20th Century Fox acquired the rights in 2000, though it was delayed multiple times when director James Cameron took off for outer space and the world of Avatar. Now, in an exclusive interview with SYFY WIRE, director Robert Rodriguez and producer Jon Landau discuss how they revived the script and finally brought the robot-humans of Alita to life.
Rodriguez and Landau actually have a close relationship with Kishiro, who was more than thrilled to see his world unfold in three dimensions. Rodriguez almost supernaturally narrowed down the massive script by 60 pages while still remaining true to both Kishiro and Cameron’s visions.
Landau admitted he had edited it in such a way that it was almost impossible to figure out what he had cut out. The film will focus on the first four volumes of the manga, including the futuristic sport of Motorball.
What inspired Rodriguez and Landau most was that pivotal moment when Alita opens her eyes, which look like those of an anime character morphed into 3D (Rosa Salazar plays the mechanized character through motion capture).
"We wanted to show the beginning of Alita's journey, where she wakes up not knowing what body she's in, not knowing who she is," said Landau. "But she goes on… she finds a strength to fight for what is right."
That means taking down cyborg criminals after she remembers a cyborg martial art that she thought had vanished from her memory. Clips of the movie give a glimpse at what she is up against in the brutal and unforgiving streets of the Scrapyard.
Are you impatient to see Alita wake up to this wondrous, terrifying world? Sound off in the comments!
This article was contributed to by Elizabeth Rayne.