Not content with adding his unique vision to the likes of tentpole franchises such as Marvel and Star Wars, director Taika Waititi still has his sights set on bringing a live action adaptation of the 1988 cult smash-hit Akira to the big screen. Having languished in development hell for what seems like an eternity, Waititi was recently asked whether there was any possibility of seeing Akira, well, ever. Thankfully, the filmmaker remains positively determined…
“I’m still trying [to make it]. I don’t wanna give up on that.”
You could hardly blame Taika Waititi if he had given up, with plans for a live action Akira having dating back as far as 2002. The new take on Akira has been passed around to several filmmakers, before eventually landing in the lap of Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi. However, due to Waititi returning to the MCU with Thor: Love and Thunder over at Marvel, that necessitated that Akira once again be delayed.
Akira remains one of the most celebrated feats of animation of all time, and is one of the best-known examples of contemporary Japanese animation. Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, produced by Ry&ōhei Suzuki and Shunz&ō Kat&ō, and written by Otomo and Izo Hashimoto, Akira is based on Otomo’s 1982 manga of the same name. This cyberpunk adventure takes place in the post-apocalyptic city of Neo-Tokyo. Biker Kaneda is confronted by many anti-social elements while trying to help his friend Tetsuo, a teen-age boy who is exposed to a mysterious energy source and develops telekinetic powers that place him at the center of a conflict that may destroy the world.
The movie has been a major influence on a lot of modern science fiction coming out of Hollywood, including the likes of The Matrix, Dark City, Chronicle, Looper, and Inception, and frankly its crazy that a live action take on the material has not yet materialized.
It is now coming up to two decades since Warner Bros put the Akira remake into production, and despite there being many setbacks both the studio and Taika Waititi seem committed to making it happen, no matter how long it takes. Though, despite his recent declaration that he does not want to give up on his plans for Akira, in the past Waititi has suggested that, while he plans to remain involved, it may not be him at the helm.
“I think eventually it will happen. I’m just not sure if I’ll be doing it,” the director said last year. “The whole thing went on hold. We had to keep pushing the dates, and it encroached on the Thor dates, which were immovable. So Akira ended up shifting two years down the track.” Warner Bros. was so confident in the project finally getting off the ground that they had scheduled Akira for release on May 21, 2021, with filming planned to start in California in July 2019. However, Warner Bros. has since put the movie on indefinite hold.
Speaking of Thor, Waititi will continue the story of the superhero Asgardian in Thor: Love and Thunder, which is scheduled to be released in the United States on May 6, 2022, as part of Phase Four of the MCU. This comes to us from Wired.