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Taika Waititi officially directing live action Akira adaptation for 2021

By Jacob Oller

The rumors were true: Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi is taking on a live-action adaptation of Akira. And now the new take on one of the most famous mangas in history has a release date.

According to Deadline, this news comes after Waititi (known for his portrayal of Korg in the MCU as well as for his directorial feats with projects like What We Do in the Shadows) stepped down from a planned film about Michael Jackson’s pet chimpanzee, Bubbles. With that final obstacle hurdled, Warner Bros. was confident enough to announce that the Leonardo DiCaprio-produced film is heading toward a May 21, 2021, release date.

With a big budget to turn California into a bustling, futuristic version of Tokyo, Waititi will likely inject some of his signature levity into the cyberpunk sci-fi. The last time Waititi weighed in on the project, he also mentioned he would like to make less of a remake of the animated film and more a new adaptation of all six volumes of Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga.

While casting for Akira has yet to be announced (and possibly yet to begin), Waititi has already addressed potential issues of whitewashing, explaining that if he were in charge, he’d be casting with an eye toward “untapped talent” in the acting pool of “Asian teenagers.”

This film has been gestating for a long, long time, so landing a rising star like Waititi who already has a very clear vision for the adaptation means Akira fans might finally get to see a version head back to the big screen.

If everything goes to plan, expect to see Akira hit theaters on May 21, 2021.