Directed by Robert Rodriguez and based on the manga Battle Angel Alita, Alita: Battle Angel is finally set to release on February 14, 2019, after being delayed twice. The film was first set to release as far back as July 20, 2018, before being delayed to December 21, 2018. With the first trailer released on December 8, 2017, many people have been waiting a long time for this film to release. See trailer below:
Rodriguez is best known for writing and directing the Mexico Trilogy, which consists of the films El Mariachi, Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. He also is known for writing and directing all four Spy Kids’ movies. Alita is not Rodriguez’s first adaptation either, as he, alongside Frank Miller, co- directed both Sin City films which are based on graphic novels.
Alita: Battle Angel was shot in Rodriguez’s home state of Texas and stars Rosa Salazar, who is of Cuban descent. Other Latino actors and actresses present in the film include Michelle Rodriguez, Eiza González, and Marko Zaror. Rosa Salazar will play the titular Alita who appears to be a cyborg of unknown origin. As can be seen in the trailer, Salazar will be using motion capture to play Alita to help give the character a more unique look, as well as to help better sell that she is part machine. While at times her character appears to dip into the uncanny valley, this could be intentional as it helps to distinguish that Alita is different than your average girl.
While Alita: Battle Angel will be the first full-length live-action film adaptation of the manga Battle Angel Alita, it is not the first adaptation period. The manga first spawned a direct to video animation in Japan called Battle Angel in 1993. Battle Angel consisted of two thirty minutes episodes. The first was named Rusty Angel and the second was named Tears Sign. The animation was directed by Hiroshi Fukutomi and was mostly well received. In 1998 the manga also received a video game adaptation called Gunnm: Martian Memory. The game was released on the original PlayStation and only saw release in Japan.
Alita is being produced by James Cameron, who also helped work on the screenplay for the movie, while 20th Century Fox will release the film. According to Variety, “Cameron originally wrote a 186-page screenplay accompanied by 600 pages of notes and eventually shared both with Rodriguez, who tried his hand at cleaning up the draft to transform it into a shooting script. Satisfied with the result, Cameron also asked Rodriguez to direct the movie.”
Despite the long wait for the movie, Rodriquez has remained prolific in advertising for the film on his Instagram. On it, you can see him show off new posters for the movie, as well as promote the various books attached to the film such as a prequel novel Alita: Battle Angel: Iron City and the official novelization of the film. Both books are published by Titan Books.