Battle Angel: Alita, known as GUNM in Japan, is one of anime and manga’s highlights of the ’90s. The original manga, created by Yukito Kishiro, ran for about five years from 1990 to 1995 with a newer series running from 2000 to 2014, in addition to two OVAs produced in the ’90s. The post-apocalyptic setting and cyborg main character have ensured the property’s popularity for decades, both domestically and abroad.

It’s been long known that James Cameron is a fan of the series and has been trying to produce a Hollywood film version for around 15 years — but things are finally starting to take shape. Today, news broke that a new director is in negotiations to take on the project.

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Various Hollywood news sources, such as Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, today released reports that Robert Rodriguez is in negotiations to direct the Battle Angel: Alita feature film. After so many years, it may be tempting to dismiss this news until the movie is actually in theaters, but a script by Shutter Island writer Laeta Kalogridis has apparently been prepared, though it’s not likely to be a final draft.

For those unfamiliar with Kishiro’s series, the story takes place in the 26th century and follows the cyborg Alita after being found in the garbage and rebuilt by a cybernetics expert. She has no memory of her past life beyond her fighting abilities, which are put to good use when she becomes a bounty hunter.

Cameron has expressed a great love for the franchise and planned to take on the project for quite some time, but other projects (like Avatar) have gotten in the way. Instead of directing the film himself, it seems the Hollywood legend will step aside to let Rodriguez, who has directed everything from Spy Kids to Machete and Sin City, take the reins. This will hypothetically help the film become a reality sooner than if Cameron chose to direct it himself. Instead, Cameron, along with his partner from Lightstorm Entertainment, Jon Landau, is expected to produce the feature.

The film will likely be known as Alita: Battle Angel, flipping the original title. Either way, it probably won’t be called GUNM.

This year also saw the release of the fan-made short film Alita, which used entirely practical effects. The video, which is just under two minutes, was produced as a non-profit “proof of concept,” that was “made solely to display [their] vision for a live-action Battle Angel Alita.”

We’re sure fans will be divided over the news of potentially seeing Battle Angel: Alita turned into a Hollywood film. Hopefully Rodriguez and Cameron will be able to stay true to the original vision of the property while adapting it for the big screen.

Sources: Variety, Hollywood Reporter
Top image: Amazon Japan