Earlier today, ANN reported that he will begin work on a live-action adaptation of Battle Angel Alita in 2017. Previously, he stated that the film wouldn’t start shooting until after Avatar 3. Avatar 2 is scheduled to begin filming next year, with an estimated 2015 debut date. According to previous interview, the film will be an adaptation of the “spine story” of the first four volumes.
In just about every year over the past ten years, this story’s arisen in some form or another. In 2003, Cameron announced that he’d be adapting the property to film, and that it was in pre-production. In 2006, David Williams of ADV Films revealed that Cameron had purchased the rights to the franchise outright, and existing licenses for the anime property would not be renewed. This led to a bit of a feeding frenzy on existing stock. Prices inflated, and a title that would normally see middling success became the stuff of legends among numerous fan groups. At the time, rumors began to spread that Cameron’s holding was so restrictive, so strong that even series creator Yukito Kishiro would be unable to produce more chapters if he wanted to. This was, of course, false. Battle Angel Alita: Last Order had been in the works since 2000, but rumors are strange creatures. Anyway, I digress
With each passing year, Cameron would take to the stage, and hint at Alita. In 2009, Cameron told Variety that he was looking at the property “very seriously.” Later that year, he revealed that the script was finished, and a year of design work was done. In 2010, it was reported that Cameron would tackle Battle Angel after Avatar 2. Two months later, he revealed that the film would be pushed back further, after Avatar 3. In 2012, Cameron stated that a film adaptation of Battle Angel was coming, but “not for a few years.”
It’s gotten to the point that any news about the title is comical. Battle Angel, like Duke Nukem Forever in its pre-release day, has become a joke among many. It’s the sign of a cry for attention from a self-absorbed filmmaker. And, while we sit and we listen to Cameron stating how Battle Angel will come and how it’ll be “so awesome”, we all secretly grin, as the goalposts move yet again, and the chances for release continue to slip.
Honestly, I’d love to see a good adaptation of Battle Angel Alita. It’s a solid sci-fi story with a great premise and a strong cast. At one point, I’d have been thrilled to see James Cameron at the helm of it, to boot! However, many years have passed since then. The James Cameron who brought us Terminator and Aliens is gone, and the property may be better served by another director. If Cameron can find the spirit that brought us the sci-fi classics of yore, then the film could be a promising experience. Still, until we see footage, I’ll continue to smile and nod, and expect yet another delay.