In case you’ve never read any of the Akira manga or seen the landmark 1988 anime movie based on it, here’s a basic rundown of the plot. A powerful organization comes up with what it thinks it a great idea, but before its plan come to fruition, the whole thing blows up in their faces. Years later, though, it tries again, unleashing the danger of potentially even more disastrous results.

In the anime, the “powerful organization” is the military, and the “great idea” is cultivating weaponized psionic children. Some would say this parallels the real-world situation of another powerful organization, Hollywood movie studio Warner Brothers, and its own ambitions to turn Akira into a live-action film, which have faced nothing but roadblocks and angry backlashes from fans of the source material for more than 10 years now.

But just like Akira’s military, Warner Brothers seems convinced that it can still get all the variables just right, and new rumors suggest that the studio might be planning to make not one, but three Akira films, and that it’s courting one of Hollywood’s hottest filmmakers to help.

U.K.-based website Den of Geek is reporting that, according to “a source close to Warner Bros.”, the studio is not only still determined to make the live-action Akira a reality, but that it wants to turn creator Katsuhiro Otomo’s cyberpunk tale into a trilogy. Such a move would be keeping with modern Hollywood film trends, in which studios have expanded their scope of action and science fiction films beyond standalone features and are instead constantly looking for the next multi-picture franchise.

In this case, though, a three-part series would be more than just a case of Warner Bros. salivating over the prospect of going back to the same potentially lucrative well three separate times. Otomo started the Akira manga in 1982, meaning there was six years’ worth of material for the anime adaptation to work with. Even at roughly two hours long, the 1988 Akira movie only covers a fraction of Otomo’s story. Add in the fact that the manga didn’t conclude until two years after the animated movie was released, and fans of the anime have been hoping for a sequel for literally decades.

Of course, many of those hardcore fans have been hoping for an anime sequel, not a live-action one, let alone one that doesn’t even hail from Japan. Some naysayers may be quieted, though, if the other rumor Den of Geek is reporting turns out to be true and filmmaker Christopher Nolan is involved.

Again, there’s at least some plausibility to such a scenario. Nolan and Warner Bros. have had several successful collaborations, as the studio was the distributor for Nolan’s Batman trilogy and Inception, as well as the overseas distributor for The Prestige and Interstellar. Adding another connection is the fact that Appian Way Productions, owned by Inception star Leonardo DiCaprio, is also involved in the live-action Akira project.

However, none of these rumors have, as of this writing, been corroborated by Warner Bros. itself. So, for the time being, these remain the slickest live-action versions of Akira around.

Source: Den of Geek (1, 2, 3) via Niconico News via Jin